The Cost of Live-Action “Mulan”

The live-action version of “Mulan” was released on Disney+ on September 4, 2020. However, many fans were outraged by the price tag of the movie, a grand $30. To put that into perspective, an average movie ticket for children and teenagers costs $10. After the initial purchase of the movie, the viewer owns the movie to watch as many times as she or he wants as long as they have a Disney+ subscription. 

Aside from the price, the live-action version is far from the glory of the animated film that everyone loved as a child. There is no talking dragon, there are no ghostly ancestors, and the moral of the story is alienating. Lucy Nguyen, ’21, states, “They got rid of characters and moments that bring emotion to the story, so when bad things happen, we should feel for the characters, but the live-action loses those moments.” 

In addition, the live-action adaptation contradicts some information from the animation. For instance, Mulan went through a grueling training regime in the animated film to become powerful. In the live-action movie, she already has this power and trains with the soldiers to blend in. Although the training is the same, the purpose is not.

However, there are some good aspects of the film. For example, the cast did a wonderful job portraying their characters. Previous live-action adaptations, such as “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” failed to represent the animated characters correctly, but “Mulan” was able to convey a sense of familiarity. Donnie Yen did a fabulous job in the role of Commander Tung. He was able to bring the role to life through his martial arts background and previous choreography experience. Although Liu Yifei, the actress who portrays Hua Mulan, also does a fantastic job, there are several controversies surrounding her, including the enforcement of police brutality for Hong Kong protesters.

The animated “Mulan” is a Disney film that holds a place in countless childhoods. For that very reason, the live-action version of “Mulan” should not be the first exposure some people have. It is better to stick to the classic.