Disney’s sure been busy lately, eh? First Cinderella, then Beauty And The Beast starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens that is scheduled for theatrical release in 2017. And now Mulan, apparently. How exciting is that?!
I am kind of desperate for original projects at the moment, but I don’t want to spend yet another article explaining why that’s annoying and why the industry should stop being afraid of new stories, so let’s try to focus on this particular project. First of all, wouldn’t it be just nice to see asian peeps on the big screen? I’m thinking Zhang Ziyi for Mulan, if she’s still around. Or Lucy Liu? Is Lucy Liu the right age? I don’t know. All I know is that aside from those two, I can only think of Michelle Yeoh and Ming-Na Wen. Why can I only think of four people total when I try to come up with a good actress for a badass asian lady role? That’s messed up. Aside from that, all I can hope for is an actual reboot of the story, not just an adaptation of the 1998 Disney Classic. Not only would that be more interesting, but it would probably save us from having to witness what a CGI Mushu looks like. I can always do with less CGI sideckicks in my life.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. On one hand, as an Asian myself, I get deliriously excited whenever I see Asian actors/actresses making their way through the throngs of Hollywood. Maybe it’s a sense of nationalistic pride, or maybe it’s just that I’m tired of the monotony of the Caucasian-helmed films of today. Nevertheless, I’m very excited about Mulan. Not only will this provide a great platform for Asian performers to express their talent to the world, but it’ll also relaunch one of the best Disney Classics that ever existed. Mulan was an exemplar of the strong female character. With recent Disney films like Frozen, Big Hero 6, and arguably, the new Cinderella, there’s been a significant movement towards female empowerment. Princesses have personalities now. Romance isn’t everything. You don’t need a prince to swoop in and save the day. I’m very much looking forward to how they’ll exemplify this progression in the new Mulan that can relate to modern audiences.
As for the cons, there could be a million things that could go wrong with it. Hollywood could do what it often does and pick a non-Chinese actress to play Mulan (after all, it’s looks over heritage – I mean, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily? Wtf?). It’s not likely they’ll take the chances of choosing some relatively unknown actress to take up the lead of a major Hollywood production, let alone one of Asian descent. Maybe there’ll be some horrid, unnecessary twist on the story like what Snow White and the Huntsman and Alice In Wonderland did to themselves. And I agree with Anais – if I see some CGI Mushu, I’m going to crush some skulls.
Just a thought… what’s Ang Lee up to these days? Maybe he could jump on board as director. That’d be pretty awesome.
Well, considering the fact that Mulan is quite possibly my second favourite Disney film ever – after Tangled, of course – yes, I’m stoked! I’m beyond stoked even. Naturally, Hollywood can screw it up in about a million ways and make it cringe-worthy, but if Cinderella is any indication, there’s actually a chance that they might turn Mulan into something spectacular. I’d say my biggest concern about this project is all the things that work in animation but that can look cheesy and awful in the live action films – like dragons. If the new Mulan film skips Mushu just for the sake of not going into the VFX, it’ll suck. Same goes for the ghosts, obviously.
Nevertheless, one of the most remarkable things about Disney is that they’ve always been good with creating strong badass female characters that change the world in all kinds of ways. I mean, think about it – the majority of Disney films have female protagonists while their male companions sometimes don’t even have names. And this is what I’m looking forward to the most – another wonderful story focused on girl power and bravery in the world that keeps rejecting it.
Fingers crossed the Hollywood will make it right after all though. I can’t wait to see who they’ll pick up for the roles of Mulan and Captain Li Shang.