Mulan 2020: Worth the watch?

Warning: Contain spoilers of the most recent Mulan movie

Trinity Mackenzie

To start this review, I’m going to be honest I already had low expectations of this movie knowing that a lot of the classic parts of the original were getting cut out. I tried to have an open mind when I watched it though. For example, they never sang the songs from the original movie, but they did play the instrumental versions at points in the movie. Disney also decided to cut out the comedic character of the first movie, Mushu, who was played by Eddie Murphy. Disney Plus also charges thirty dollars for premier access to the movie. I used a friend’s account to watch the movie, but she had to pay thirty dollars for an adequate movie.

The movie opened and explained the concept of chi, a force that is in all living things. The film specified that Mulan had an innate power to use her chi to her advantage. A big theme of this movie was that women who can control their chi should hide it because they’d be considered witches; men on the other hand, were considered to be warriors if they could control their chi. Soon after meeting Mulan she disgraces her family by showing her chi abilities to the matchmaker. The plot of the beginning of the movie is similar in comparison to the original; we meet our villains and see them attack, Mulan disgraces her family, and she turns into a man to protect her father. A new element in this movie was the concept of a phoenix being Mulan’s protector instead of Mushu. The phoenix didn’t say anything it just flew around and led her to where she needed to go. Frankly, Mushu is what this movie needed, he provided humor without him it was sad and dark the whole time with probably two jokes in the whole movie. Mulan had a love interest in this movie, but I don’t even remember his name because he was so forgettable in comparison to Li Shang.

Time to talk about new characters that are in the movie, the villains are different than the original. Instead of Shan Yu there is Bori Khan and his falcon is now a witch; similar to Mulan, she can harness her chi. The witch, Xianniang, has powers that are really confusing to me. She can shapeshift, inhabit other people’s bodies, and manipulate her clothing all because of her chi? That was probably the biggest downfall of this movie they relied on the power of chi to explain the impossible. Something I liked the most about the movie was the references to the original, in one scene the general said one lyric of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, which made me happy.

Finally, the plot of the movie, the plot itself is very similar to the original, except Mulan’s father narrates and she reveals herself to be a woman before the avalanche scene. Which by the way, that scene in particular is probably one of the only scenes that I consider better than the original. The plot drives forward and is compelling, but because of the narration the movie ‘tells’ and not ‘shows’, when it should be the opposite.

Overall, this movie is worthy of one watch, but it pales in comparison to the Disney classic. Without the comedy, the movie stays mostly sad and dark except for the action scenes.  It is also not worth the thirty dollars needed to pay for it, so I would just wait until it becomes free on Disney plus December 4 ,2020.