Having now passed $920 million at the box office, it is safe to say that the live action remake of Aladdin is a success for Disney. The marketing may have been weak for the film, but word of mouth and trust for the brand was strong enough to make this film the amount of money that they did. Now, Disney is taking on several more live-action remakes, with one of them being Mulan. They seem to be going down the style of The Jungle Book with this adaptation, with a darker tone and a lack of musical numbers to accompany. Check out the first trailer released for this film down below, and then read my thoughts on the trailer afterwards.
The live-action adaptation of Mulan is set to release in 2020. This film is directed by Niki Caro, who is only the second woman director hired by Disney to direct a film with a budget larger than $100 million. The film stars Liu Yifei, a popular Chinese-American actress, alongside Jet Li and Donnie Yen in an all-Asian cast list. This film looks to tell the same story as the original version did back in 1998, but told in a very different manner.
It is important to highlight that the idea of musical numbers still being in the film is in the reigns of possibility. Throughout the trailer, you can hear the instrumental of Reflection in the background. It is also a good sign that back in 2006, Yifei was signed to a music record and released some music of her own. However, the musical numbers will not make or break this film. By the looks of the trailer, the quality of the film already looks promising.
What this trailer did right in comparison to the ones released in Aladdin was focus on the quality rather than the quantity. This small 90 second teaser only gave us a glimpse at a few scenes, but they told us a lot about the film. The acting is top notch, the sets look gorgeous, they are staying truthful to the original story (as well as the importance of the Asian heritage for this story) and the tone seems to be balanced. For a story like this, I like the idea of it going darker. It will suit the subject matter of the narrative, and it looks to be committing to that single, darker tone.
Am I upset that it looks as though Mushu will not be in the film? Of course, Mushu is my favourite sidekick of any Disney character. However, I am not sure how they could potentially write in a talking Chinese dragon that is incredibly humourous and have it continue to have a consistent tone, another issue which may concern the musical numbers. I trust the director and screenwriters to capture the magic and spirit of the music and the characters and fit them in any way that they can in here, because I am not sure if Mulan without that charm is going to be a crowd pleaser.
This is just a small look at Mulan, and there is a lot of promise so far. There are still some big questions to answer, such as the potential exclusion of Li Shang. There is ages to go until the movie is released, so let’s just accept and appreciate what we have right now and keep an eye on any developments that come from the production of this film.