Mulan is the latest live-action remake of the Disney classics, and Niki Caro’s sweeping epic is a sight to behold. As in the original, Mulan takes the place of her ailing father (Tzi Ma) when the Emperor of China (Jet Li) issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army. Mulan, who feels suffocated by the fact that those around her only want her to marry well, feels a sense of freedom when she leaves her home and joins the army.
Mulan discovers her untapped strength through her training. Her determination to bring honor to her family is apparent in everything she does. The weight of keeping her true identity a secret adds an extra amount of pressure to Mulan. All she wants to do is make her family proud.
Yifei Liu is the obvious standout as the titular character in Mulan. She takes on the iconic role with ease. Mulan’s strength is showcased in what she does, not in what she says. She is the moral compass and iron heart of this film. Yifei radiates confidence as she trains and fights in the most epic battle scenes.
Mulan and her comrades train to fight against the villainous Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee) and witch Xian Lang (Gong Li). However, it’s not so cut and dry. A fascinating dynamic forms between Mulan and Xian Lang because they’re not all that different. Xian Lang sees her reflection in Mulan as they both fight against the societal constraints of women.
The visuals in Mulan are absolutely stunning. Every single shot is breathtaking. Niki Caro put time and care into every wide and close shot. It’s a real bummer that U.S. audiences are unable to enjoy the epic spectacle on the big screen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The live-action Mulan is not an exact remake of the 1998 Disney classic. The film doesn’t forget its predecessor whatsoever, but the 2020 version feels more timely than it did 22 years ago. Mulan is needed now more than ever to show young women and girls they can and should embrace their power. You can be a warrior and a good daughter. You don’t have to choose one. Just look at Mulan.
Mulan also stars Yoson An as Chen, Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Rosalind Chao as Hua Li, Xana Tang as Hua Xiu, Jun Yu as Cricket, and more. Mulan will premiere on Disney+ on Sept. 4. You can exclusively stream the movie with Premier Access for $29.99 and a Disney+ subscription.