Apparently Disney's doing a live-action Mulan. I don't know how I feel.
okay!!! one) im really glad you came to me with this dilemma it reaffirms my status as a prophet of mulan, which i feel has not been popularly recognized lately. and two) let’s list out the pros/cons, shall we?
pros: well considering the last couple live actions have been whiter than mayonnaise on wonderbread, this is a HUGE improvement because ASIAN REPRESENTATION!!! this film will open up so many roles for asian actors struggling in the business, giving them opportunity to showcase their talents AND giving them recognition they deserve. + just in general, wow!!! like disney cares about their poc films??? i know mulan is one of disney’s renaissance babies and therefore has preference over, say, live action atlantis (which by the way would be cool af), but still….. first big hero 6, now mulan… is it my birthday??? WILL I FINALLY GET THE MULAN MERCH I DESERVE? but bottom line, even if disney messes up everything else the corporation has enough $$$$$$$ to make this super creatively lazy production super pretty with hopefully stunning cinematography, costuming, MAKE UP (LIKE HELLO !!!! CHINA ??!??! scaling the great wall, magnolia trees fucking everywhere, festivals and LANTERNS LIKE TANGLED COULD FUCKING NEVER PAPER LANTERNS ORIGINATE HERE, the emperor’s palace… chinese architecture could SLAY me, PRETTY AF DRESSES, FIREWORKS!!!!!, etc.etc.). so if all else goes to shit, in the wise words of sokka, “the effects were decent.”
cons: (i’m sidelining the whole disney is lazy by just remaking films for $$$ argument because it’s non-specific to this particular movie — i can only hope mulan isn’t a scene-by-scene retelling of the animated film and actually has some nuances e.g. maleficent.) as much as i love mulan with all my heart hope to die, the story is really whitewashed (at least in comparison to the original legend). and mulan embodies more of an american girl!!! than a chinese one… which isn’t BAD (because disney’s market audience is … america, and it’s good for asian american girls) but it’s definitely a bastardization in some sense of the tale which i’ve heard is actually pretty integral in chinese culture. and if disney includes more westernized elements or just elements that are inherently NOT CHINESE it will be doubly more obvious in a live action than it was in the animation. we can only cross our fingers that if they change anything, they remain respectful and don’t cross over towards cultural appropriation. ALSO, if you don’t think i’ll be looking out for colorism/shadism in the casting of good/bad guys you’re wrong BECAUSE [roz voice] I’M ALWAYS WATCHING DISNEY, ALWAYS WATCHING.
stay tuned, there will be more to say about live action mulan in the future… it’s almost like my predetermined duty.