The most recent Disney live-action remake is the classic tale of Mulan. Mulan had a troubled release as it was scheduled to be released just a week or so after the pandemic caused the closing of theaters everywhere. In fact, there were some critic shows prior to the delays.
Then, Disney announced the September 4th release of the film as a premium release on Disney + instead of in theaters.
Mulan (Yifei Liu) is a young girl who, to save her father Zhou (Tzi Ma), joins the Chinese army to protect against an attacking horde, pretending to be a male.
The start of this version of Mulan was just terrible. The first 10-15 minutes of the film really made me worried that this was going to be a total waste of time. There was already a question about the necessity of the remake in the first place, but the beginning of this looked terrible. The choreography was silly. The scenes were childish and ignorant. The scenes with the child Mulan could only be liked by 5 year-olds. It started dead in its tracks.
Fortunately, once Mulan aged and took her father’s place, heading off to the be trained with the other warriors, the film picked up considerably. It stopped being a film whose demographic was toddlers and became a violent story of warriors.
Now, the shape shifting witch Xian Lang (Gong Li) was not very impressive during fight scenes. They all looks too clunky and unreal. I liked how the character developed during the film, but the fights were just not good.
As I said, once Mulan made her way to the camp for the training, the film improved dramatically. The fights were better. The story improved. I was ready to rip the crap out of this after the first 15 minutes of the film, but the remainder of the film was so much better that I’m going to end up recommending it.
And one of my personal favorite moment was the cameo from Melinda May herself, Ming-Na Wen, at the end of the film. Ming-Na Wen voiced Mulan in the original animated film so it was awesome to see Agent May (of Agents of SHIELD) make her short appearance.
The second and third acts made dramatic improvements to the film that save it from being a huge flop. The live-action Mulan is worth the watch.