Mulan – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Mulan (2020) –  Loyal, Brave and True: A Heroine Reborn

Stories are a place of wonder and escape.  Being whisk away to the far reaches of our imaginations, they bring about adventures that thread emotions within revelations.  Meaningful stature can come in the form of romance or horror but making it worth watching is another level of talent.  In this review, I look at the live-action retelling of a Disney classic.  With endearing moments and action driven by the strength of one, this is film that is beyond its original tale.  Even with familiarity throughout, Mulan is a riveting adventure that defines what it means to be, true. 

When war reaches home, a young maiden disguises herself to join in on the fight.  At a crossroads, Mulan (Yifei Liu) must stand strong to discover the hero within.  The outline of this Disney remake starts with the basic structure of the original, but builds past its roots to rethread the meaning of the message.  The filmmakers preclude certain aspect of the original to position a leaner narrative that is built through stronger characterization.  From the beginning, you see Mulan straddling the ideals of two different worlds.  The overarching theme is the common’s ‘hero’s tale’, but levels her struggles within relative themes of life and family.  The directive pushes forward a growth of humanistic detail, bringing color, passion and levity to the familiar.  This leaves the audience to experience a deeper adventure that combines fairy-tale tropes within a coming-of-age journey. The conflict stirs the ideals of honor and conviction through genuine conversations with ancillary characters.  All comes to head when war reaches home.  Going against societal demands, she leaves in the night and disguises herself as a male warrior.  This leads to the familiar through adaptive scenes of action, comradery scenarios and montage training mantras.  This coincides with the inclusion of other story elements, bringing a complexity to the general ‘good vs. bad’ motif.  As both sides come into initial conflict, it pushes Mulan to challenge the messages of honor and truth.

As the story moves into the second half, all character motives come together into one final showdown.  As the army tries to reach the Imperial City before it falls, everyone is left with a choice of what is worth in the message.  The importance of the mission ripples throughout, bringing a light to the flaws of each of the characters, including Mulan.  When everything comes to head, she must decide what is worth more in this fight.  Self-reflection and individual sacrifices come into play, bringing emotions to the familiarity.  Facing destiny, she enters the fray with her undying strength.  This leads into a climax that blends the ‘ever after’ motif into something more.   Mulan is a live-action remake with familiar detail, but shows worth when a retelling is done right.  If you’re a fan of Disney, live-action remakes or coming-of-age tales, this is one for you.  This is a fun adventure that is available on Disney Plus, but it would be worth the full price of admission at the theaters.    

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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