Preview: “Mulan” 2020

This summer, Disney is hopeful that “Mulan” will hit theaters, a highly anticipated moment for many Disney fans. After the original March release date was postponed due to cinema closures in midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the studio has now rescheduled the release for July 24. Starring Yifie Lu as protagonist Mulan, the film will be an adaptation of the beloved 1998 movie. 

2020’s “Mulan” will have some significant changes to the 1998 version in order to stay closer to the original Chinese story. 

“Mulan” is based on a fifth century Chinese folk song called “The Ballad of Mulan.” When Disney’s rendition first appeared in theaters, it faced criticism in China for being too Americanized and straying too far from its origins. The new Mulan attempts to bridge the gap between the two stories, significantly reducing the musical feel of the plot.

The soundtrack is one of the defining aspects of 1998’s “Mulan,” with songs like “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and “Reflection” remaining popular to this day. This year, the majority of the music will be instrumental, emphasizing the realism of the new version. However, some lyrical music will still be included, with Christina Aguilera singing “Loyal, Brave, True,” and rerecording “Reflection,” which she sang in the 1998 version. 

The new film focuses heavily on reality, eliminating most fantastical elements from its predecessor. There is an increase in violence, earning the movie a PG-13 rating. 

The dragon Mushu, 1998-Mulan’s animal sidekick, did not make the cast list for the new movie. Similarly, Mulan’s love interest will be Chen Honghui, a fellow warrior, instead of Shang, a general leading her troop. 

Fantasy is not completely absent, with a new magical villain. Xian Lang, played by Gong Li, is a witch who replaces Shang Lu, the original antagonist. 

Throughout all of the renditions, feminist spirit remains at the heart of the story. Mulan proves herself to be a fierce and capable warrior, challenging traditional stereotypes of women’s roles in war. 

Whether or not “Mulan” lives up to fans’ expectations, Disney’s effort to become more culturally sensitive will hopefully continue with other films to come.