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Review Roundup: Disney's Live-Action MULAN - What Did the Critics Think?

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The new live-action remake will be placed under a $30 early action fee starting Friday, September 4th.

Review Roundup: Disney's Live-Action MULAN - What Did the Critics Think?

Mulan is now available on Disney+!

The new live-action remake will be placed under a $30 early action fee starting Friday, September 4th. The film will be available for Premium Access through November 2nd, and it will reappear December 4th.

Acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro brings the epic tale of China's legendary warrior to life in Disney's "Mulan," in which a fearless young woman risks everything out of love for her family and her country to become one of the greatest warriors China has ever known.

"Mulan" features a celebrated international cast that includes: Yifei Liu as Mulan; Donnie Yen as Commander Tung; Tzi Ma as Zhou, Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan; Yoson An as Honghui; Ron Yuan as Sergeant Qiang; with Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor. The film is directed by Niki Caro from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin.

Let's see what the critics are saying...

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times: Mulan's metamorphosis is complicated, to the movie's credit. Whether she navigates gender satisfyingly is yet another question, one that will be best answered by the girls and women who yearn for more characters that look like them, speak to them. Some will find it here; others will take this story and run with it: they will wear its costumes, play with its dolls, and they will rewatch, rethink, remake this tale until it becomes a perfect reflection of their desires.

Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter: Co-starring Joy Luck Club alum Rosalind Chao as Mulan's mother and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story star Jason Scott Lee as the leader of the invaders, Mulan has plenty of Easter eggs to keep hunters busy. But most viewers are likely to more appreciate the lush bamboo forests and moss-covered hills, as well as the stirring if not exactly original wuxia action, in which soldiers run on walls, horse archers ride backwards and flowing curtains are transformed into battle weapons. All around Mulan, reality stops and starts, bending to the will of the graspers and the searchers. And then there's our heroine, the void at the center of the storm.

Peter Debruge, Variety: With multiple authors but no clear voice, the clumsy "Mulan" script often puts plot above character, depriving Mulan of a robust personality. Defined by her determination, she mostly keeps to herself, which deprives her of meaningful human relationships during the mid-section of the film. Underwritten as she is, Mulan is handily upstaged by Xianniang (Gong Li), a powerful sorceress invented for the film who gives Mulan a strong female adversary.

Kirsten Acuna, Insider: If you're worried about this just being another shot-for-shot remake of a Disney classic, that's not what you're getting here. While the film pays homage to the original, it stands on its own and feels more like a superhero movie about a young woman embracing her power than a film about a Disney princess.

Matt Goldberg, Collider: I'm fully willing to admit that Mulan benefits from following a string of disappointing live-action Disney adaptations, but on its own merits, Caro has still crafted an exciting re-telling that retains the story's emotional core while giving the movie its own personality and tone. Despite the similar plot beats, no one will feel like Caro has made an expensive re-hash of the 1998 movie. 2020's Mulan stands on its own and sets the template for what other live-action Disney adaptations should aim to achieve by being a thoughtful adaptation rather than a pale imitation.

Angie Han, Mashable: And some of what it's doing works quite well. For starters, the film is extremely pleasant to look at. The colors pop, the landscapes stun, the detailing on the costumes and props are so exquisite I'd probably buy an entire collection of Mulan-inspired housewares from Urban Outfitters. The wuxia-inspired action sequences are unlike anything we've seen in other Disney blockbusters, and add a touch of unpredictability to an otherwise staid picture. And lead actor Yifei Liu radiates strength as she charges into those scenes, a shiny blade in her hand and a look of grim determination on her face.

Justin Chang, NPR: Mulan feels like a watered-down version of a potentially captivating story. It's not surprising to hear Chinese characters speaking stilted, accented English, which is standard practice for a Hollywood blockbuster set in an Asian country. I was more disappointed by how the script treats fairly intuitive cultural ideas - about a person's chi and the importance of family honor - as if they were difficult foreign concepts that needed to be repeatedly explained to the viewer.

Charlotte O'Sullivan, Evening Standard: As you might expect from something that cost more than $200 million, the set-pieces are spectacular. More surprising is that many of them are wonderfully odd. Mulan and Lang's first encounter, for example, takes place in a pus-yellow paradise. The final showdown is set on a building site. It must kill Caro and her director of photography, Mandy Walker, that the majority of viewers will only see this on the small screen (Mulan was made for IMAX). Nothing, however, can cut their moving, and mobile, heroine down to size. I'm as athletic as a bed sock but, for so many reasons, this movie made me want to do backflips.

Brian Lowry, CNN: It's quite a cast, and showcases acrobatic martial-arts stunt work to which many in the US were likely first exposed by "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Gorgeously shot, the film overflows with vibrant colors and sweeping action -- some perhaps a bit intense for younger kids, as reflected by the PG-13 rating.

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