I don’t know if this is a popular sentiment, but I haven’t been the biggest fan of the live-action remake crusade that Disney has been going on. Whenever I look at these new movies, all I can see are dollar signs in Disney’s eyes, milking their animated classics for all their worth with inferior remakes that put the focus on stunt casting and weaker plotlines that attempt to “fix” the mistakes of the original film when those fixes are completely unnecessary. Ask yourself this; was there any need to solidify the timeframe of how long Belle was with the Beast in his castle? Of course not because that wasn’t the point, but Disney made sure that you knew it was addressed in the remake.
But maybe I’m in the minority on this. Maybe a lot of people really do like these remakes. The box office certainly seems to show that people like them, so more power to you if you think they’re great. I’ve just been disappointed by them since I first saw Maleficent in 2014, so I guess I just hate that new Disney magic. But for the first time in years, I can say I’m looking forward to one of their live-action remakes. Disney just released the first teaser trailer for Mulan during the World Cup Finals and it actually looks good. Actually, it looks really good because it’s actively trying not to be a straight up remake of the original.
The plot will still follow Hua Mulan, played by Liu Yifei, who volunteers to go into the army when her ailing father is unable to go, but the trailer shows a lot of solid kung-fu action. There’s martial arts, sword battles, acrobatics that remind me of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and a tone that seems much more serious than I would have expected. Plus if the casting is anything to go by, Shang, Mulan’s love interest in the original, will not be present, and Mushu may just be a cameo appearance. It’s taking the basic framework of the Disney movie and turning it into a martial arts war drama.
That’s how Disney should be approaching these remakes. Whenever a remake is announced, the question that immediately pops into my mind is “why should I watch this version instead of the original?” Most of these new Disney remakes are opting to just remake the original film without any major alterations, nullifying the point of remaking the original in the first place. Mulan, at least by the looks of this trailer, aims to be a more grounded and serious take on the story, which may detract fans of the original, but at least the original will always remain. So let’s get some new minds involved and see what they can come up with for this remake, cause I’m already very interested in seeing where this goes.
Mulan will release March 27, 2020.