Gwyneth Katker

Disney Plus has released that a live action movie of “Mulan” will be showcased in December of 2020. The movie focuses on the original tale of Mulan rather than the animated movie itself, but still incorporates lots of details from that as well.

Sejal Mohan, Reporter

On Sep. 4, the ‘Mulan’ live-action film arrived on Disney Plus. The original Mulan movie was released in 1998 and has been a favorite since then due to its representation of Asian culture and the strong female lead different from previous Disney movies.

However, with all adaptations of media, there will always be changes. In the original movie, Mulan’s love interest, Shang Li, was theorized to be bisexual by some fans, due to his subtle interest in Mulan in her cross-dressed form as a male warrior. In the 2020 movie, the director cut out Shang from the storyline entirely. Initially, people were outraged and saw this as an erasure of LGBTQ+ representation, but the true intentions were to make a movie closer to the original legend. The story of “Mulan” is not just a movie, but a Chinese tale of a woman who dressed as a man to take her father’s place in the way, as depicted in the movie. Shang Li was added by Disney as Mulan’s love interest and General, but the original tale did not feature any prominent love interest. There will also be no musical numbers, and the lovable dragon, Mushu, will not appear in the movie, as well.

Although many are excited about the live-action remake, not everyone will be able to watch it. The movie is being released only on Disney Plus, and viewers still have to pay an extra $30 in addition to the platform fee. Of course, with public activities being restricted due to COVID-19, the company would take the route that offers more profit. The $30 price would cover the usual ticket price sales of the movie if it was shown on the big screen. The movie is not up for rent or to be bought on Disney Plus, since a cancellation or break from the subscription would make the account holder lose access to the movie; they would have to pay the $30 again to watch the movie. As long as the account is not canceled, the viewers can watch the movie as many times as they wish.

Within Disney’s media, there is a significant lack of Asian representation. Liu Yifei is the actress playing Mulan, and is Asian, along with the rest of the cast. Disney did what they should have done, hiring an all-Asian cast for a movie only featuring Asian characters. The representation behind the scenes, though, are a different story. The director, screenwriters, and costume designers are not Asian, which may be an issue with the accuracy of the movie’s representation. Having representation done by people who are not related to what is being represented can lead to incorrect interpretations, and with a movie as famous as “Mulan,” an incorrect portrayal of Chinese culture can influence how people see the culture and treat the people. In addition, the opportunity to work on a movie about Chinese culture should be given to those who are Chinese.

Anya Wright is a senior looking forward to the live-action movie and hopes for a “culturally accurate representation of the tale.” She is willing to pay the $30 fee to watch the movie since it is similar to “pay[ing] a movie ticket.” She also thinks that “regardless of the behind the scenes action, it will be really impactful for Asian youth to see themselves represented” on the actual screen. 

Chandana Karumanchi, however, thinks the $30 fee for the movie is “too much for just early access,” but is still excited to see the movie. Even though she feels a little sad Mushu is being removed from the movie, she doesn’t mind Shang Li being taken out, as his character “takes away from Mulan’s journey of being a strong, independent woman.” She still “understand[s] the intentions and…support[s] the decision,” and is still interested in watching the movie.

With the live-action coming out in a few days, we can only hope for the best and look forward to what Disney has in store for us.

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