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Mulan remake

Liu Yifei, who will play Mulan in the upcoming live action remake, will be featured on March 27th, 2020.

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In recent years, it has become popular to turn the animated Disney movies that we love into live action remakes. Some classic remakes have been Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Maleficent. The upcoming live action movies are The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and the most expected of all, Mulan. However, some fans are wondering if the movie will either be whitewashed or will stray away from the original Disney classic.

To prevent fans from believing the commonly known whitewashing of Hollywood, the director of Mulan, Niki Caro, commented, “In all my work that is centered in cultures not my own, I hope that comes through, because that is incredibly important to me. When I made Whale Rider, I saw that to be specific and authentic is to be universal, and I’ve continued to work in an identical way ever since. As the projects get bigger, the more certain I am that cultural authenticity and specificity is the only way to approach my work.”

The original release date for Mulan was on November 2nd, 2018, and has been moved to March 27th, 2020. The reason for pushing back the release was the difficulty of finding the perfect Mulan. According to the W Magazine, 1,000 candidates tried out for the spot, which delayed the movie release. The actress that was chosen was Liu Yifei, who had the requirements of “credible martial art skills” and who spoke English. The other actor that has been cast to play the Chinese emperor was Jet Li, and unexpectedly, Chinese-Vietnamese star Xana Tang is playing Mulan’s sister, another new addition to the story, but because of the movie release being pushed back, the other roles for actors to play are unknown.

One actress who has brought some heat to the live action release is Gong Li, who will play as a “powerful witch” instead of having the Huns as the villain. Many fans are questioning the reason for the switch up. They are arguing that the moral of the story is being taken away by substituting the witch for the Huns. One fan explained that by having Mulan challenge a man, and beating him, shows girl power, and the same meaning will not be conveyed by having a female antagonist. Mahalia Ghang, a writer for Cosmopolitan, explained how, “this takes out a lot of the historical story line and adds in some supernatural elements that definitely weren’t in the legend of the Disney movie.”

One surprising turn of events is the rumor that has been confirmed is that Li Shang won’t be present in the live action remake. According to the Mirror, a screenshot of the movie script had a character named Chen Honghui instead of Li Shang, and the character will be the “chief rival” of Mulan, who acts arrogant towards her while she’s in disguise. Later on in the movie when she exposes herself to be a woman, those hateful feelings turn into love. Fans have been outraged by the decision of having a key character replaced, with some displaying their feelings on Twitter. One Twitter user, @nerdyasians, says, “Saddened to report it’s basically been confirmed that Li Shang will not be in the live action Mulan. The Mulan casting call has been confirmed to be accurate. Donnie Yen was cast as “commander tung,” who was in the description for “Chen Honghui.”

With all of these changes going on within the live action remake, it’s not surprising that some fans are outraged or confused by it. Along with the fans, I’m outraged at it too. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of turning the classics into live action remakes, it’s perfect, go for it, but making major changes is beyond what I imagined.

First of all, adding a sister with Mulan. What will the sister be doing? Will she get kidnapped by the evil witch and Mulan will have to go and rescue her? No. The point is that Mulan is protecting her parents, especially proving to her father that she honors her family. Mulan is the protector of the family, she was born as the great dragon to protect them, and adding a sibling to it, in my opinion, takes away the meaning of Mulan being the sole protector of the family.

Second, as I mentioned earlier, the “powerful witch.” Why? It takes away the beautiful message of having a female defeat the most feared man in China and his army, proving that females can easily overcome men by using their strength and wit. By having the “powerful witch,” it just rides along with the common plot of having a female against female fight, without any meaningful message.

The most brutal of all, why no Li Shang? Why? Li Shang is an important character in the film because, first of all, he teaches Mulan, who is disguised as Ping, to awaken her strength and teaching her those fighting moves. As Li Shang gets to know “Ping,” he slowly starts to pay interest in her, making fans theorize that Li Shang is a bisexual, because he fell in love with Ping and then Mulan. However, the main point is that Li Shang is a beautiful man who doesn’t deserve the replacement of a snotty, arrogant, and horrible general that from the start, treats Mulan with disrespect, compared to Shang who saw her as an equal.

Either way, despite all of these major changes, which I find ridiculous, many, including myself, are eagerly awaiting for the arrival of the live action Mulan, and are excited to see the finished product.

By Cassandra Reyes

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