Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Outrage Over The New Mulan Movie

Sometimes, it seems as if Disney fans give a whole new meaning to that old saying, "you can't please everybody."

More than a few Disney die-hards are up in arms on Twitter over the trailer for the upcoming live-action remake of Mulan, which will not be a musical and will exclude a couple of key characters.

The beloved 1998 animated original centered on Fa Mulan (Ming-Na Wen), a peasant girl who disguises herself as a man so that she can enlist in the Chinese army (taking the place of her ailing father) to help defend her country against the marauding Huns. At her side on her journey is Mushu, a tiny, wisecracking dragon (voiced by Eddie Murphy) who hopes to restore his tarnished honor by helping Mulan succeed — a task made more difficult by General Li Shang (voiced by B.D. Wong), who serves as an antagonist for the bulk of the film before being won over by Mulan's bravery and cleverness.

Shang and Mushu are the characters at the center of the Twitter uproar, as it's been revealed that neither will appear in the live-action film — a revelation that didn't sit well with legions of fans for whom the original struck an emotional chord.

This isn't to say, however, that very many of these fans are going to refrain from buying a ticket. That these disgruntled fans are still planning on seeing the movie was a common theme among the outpouring of rage tweets, as illustrated by a missive from user @_dearwallflower, who acknowledged that the version of Fa Mulan featured in the trailer — portrayed by Chinese actress Yifei Liu — looks remarkably badass. "This is the Mulan we obviously wanted," she wrote, "but Mushu? Li-Shang? Music? I mean, imma go see it regardless, but imma also be sad."

The sentiment was echoed by user @GoodyButts, who ran down her complete list of reactions to the trailer in her tweet: "Cries watching the #Mulan trailer... listens to "I'll Make A Man Out of You"... remembers there won't be musical numbers or Mushu... cries some more... REMAINS EXCITED FOR THIS MOVIE."

One user even flat-out stated that they were predisposed to rage at the idea of a non-musical version of Mulan, but that the trailer pretty much won them over. "I wanna HATE the Mulan remake but the way she twiddles her sword with her hair flowing in the wind? It looks god tier," they wrote.

User @yujubeminebuddy skated right up to the edge of a very interesting point in their assessment of the trailer. "I expected a sh–ty trailer and this was... something else," they wrote. "Although I'm sad about no Mushu and no songs, I'd rather watch a completely new version of the story (what it seems) than a poor imitation of the animated one, so I'll give this a chance."

Meanwhile, user @MikeMcdonaldii skated up to the edge of the very same point, and then unhesitatingly plunged headlong right over that edge. "So y'all mad that Disney live-action remakes are just shot 4 shot w/ the animated movies but y'all mad that this #Mulan has it own vision from its animated counterpart," he wrote. 

In our humble opinion, he has a heck of a point. This May's live-action redo of Aladdin — although it raked in nearly a billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts — has been called out by fans and critics alike for being an unnecessary exercise, a by-the-numbers recreation of the original that doesn't bother to carve out its own unique vision. The same complaints have been leveled (preemptively, as the film hasn't been released yet) at The Lion King, which uses photorealistic CGI to render its characters in "live action." (Of course, The Lion King has been blowing away preview audiences, so it may prove to be the film that pokes king-sized holes in such criticisms.)

It's worth mentioning that this year's redo of Dumbo — directed by Tim Burton, a filmmaker who famously follows his own idiosyncratic muses — also drew fire for deviating too much from the original's story, and that that film was among the least successful of the Mouse House's live-action reimaginings of its classic library. It's almost as if the Disney faithful simply have no idea what exactly they want from these remakes, although that doesn't seem to stop them from purchasing tickets by the boatload.

If you ask us, with only the one teaser trailer to go on, Mulan's creative team appears to be firmly on the right track. Liu looks simply awesome in the title role, and the original movie — based on an ancient Chinese legend — tells a complex story with themes relevant to our times, one that will lend itself well to a more serious treatment devoid of singing, dancing, and talking dragons. 

Mulan co-stars Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Commander Tung, a replacement for the character of Li Shang; Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) as Bori Khan, the leader of the Huns; Rosalind Chou (Plus One) as Mulan's mother, Hua Li; and the legendary Jet Li (the Expendables series) as the Chinese Emperor. The flick hits theaters on March 27, 2020.