Mulan controversies

The new interpretation of Mulan and the controversies involved

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Nya Tefferi, Author

 On September 4, Disney brought another character and their stories to life in the production of Mulan. This classic animated movie has been turned into a live action film for fans to enjoy. Upon release fans began to have mixed feelings over the remake. The movie has received an immense amount of backlash for the lack of authenticity towards the original film. In addition, people are boycotting this film due to recent controversies involving the movie’s involvement with Chinese police who have received criticism for their actions against protestors. There has also been a great deal of positive feedback as some fans are continuing to enjoy the new interpretation of this animated film. 

As stated in a CNN article, many activists in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan are calling people to boycott this film. This is due to the fact that the lead actress, Liu Yifei, supported police brutality of the Hong Kong police. Activists were calling for change and reform in the Chinese government and their actions. Translated Liu Yifei states, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.” After seeing this comment, people are beginning to boycott the film.

Some of the disappointment in the film stems from the fact that fan favorite characters like Mushu, the infamous dragon, as well as Li Shang who originally contributed to Mulan’s original success, were missing. Disney responded by saying that the original movie was not culturally correct. They wanted to make the live action remake more culturally accurate and appropriate to that time period, so they cut inaccurate characters and storylines. Camille Branch, a sophomore at Battlefield high school, states, “Some would say that it’s culturally incorrect. Other Disney live action films like the Lion King or Cinderella are not wrapped around culture per se, but Mulan is. To the time frame, the clothing, and even the names that are given.”  Ultimately fans argued that while it is more accurate, the classic tells a better story.

  Despite the film’s negative press, some of the film’s modifications were appreciated. Grace Ly, a sophomore at Battlefield High School, says, “I really love the original movie because it is the Mulan I grew up with. However, I loved the new version even more because it spread awareness about some of my culture, being that I am part Chinese. The new one also shows how strong an independent woman can be and that inspires me as a half Asian woman.” An article from Cinemablend points out how the remake casts more light on Mulan and her father’s relationship, showing it in more depth. Without the character, Mushu, Mulan is depicted as a more powerful and independent role model.

The movie made its debut to the public on Disney + premium for the price of $29.99. Many were disappointed in the fact that this was an additional price along with their subscription, but some agreed with Disney’s decisions. Natale Gray, a sophomore at Battlefield high school, states, “Disney + having people pay for Mulan is a smart decision because they couldn’t release it in the theater and they need to get their profit from the movie by having people pay extra with their streaming service.” It is unclear how long Disney is going to continue to have people pay to watch it, but it will eventually be able to be seen by everyone who has the subscription. 

Disney is receiving constant feedback on their execution of this film in all aspects. There has been constant backlash for it’s multiple controversies, yet some fans are continuing to enjoy the new interpretation of Mulan regardless on Disney +.