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Did “Mulan” Miss the Mark?

By Nasheed Choudhury

The girl worth fighting for has joined the live action remake train! Lovers of Disney and the classic were ecstatic to hear that the live action "Mulan" was to hit theaters on March 27th. However, due to the pandemic, Disney postponed the release of this long-awaited film three times and finally, surpassing the theater release, was released on Disney+ in September at an additional cost to the monthly $7 subscription.

The concept of the original movie remains: Mulan disguises herself as a man to save her sick father from having to enlist when the Imperial Army comes to her village, mandating one man from each household join the army. The remake is greatly inspirational, as viewers watch Mulan transform into a strong woman while she begins to lean into her true identity.

Unlike the original film, some key characters are missing. Mushu, the talking dragon, Li Shang, the Imperial Army General, and Grandmother Fa are not seen in this rendition. Two new characters have been added: Xiu, Mulan’s little sister, and Xianniang, a shapeshifting witch, who assists the Rourans in their fighting strategies.

“In terms of a remake, I believe that the cartoon wasn’t done justice due to the lack of integral characters and songs. However, one can appreciate the movie as a separate entity from the cartoon. Women’s empowerment is also much more evident in the remake, which is something that I deeply admire,” said senior Yasmin Abdelhamid.

I believe supporting "Mulan" is a disservice to the Muslims who are struggling everyday in Uyghur camps...

Getting caught up in the nostalgia is quite easy to do. However, there are many outstanding factors that have stirred up quite the controversy. Many people took to social media not to share their merriment with the movie but to put forth complaints. Although the movie's premise is heartwarming, the harsh realities of the movie are far from that.

It begins with the lead actress Liu Yifei showing support for the Hong Kong police.

“I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now,” reposted Liu Yifei on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.

The Hong Kong police are known for combatting many peaceful protests with brutal beatings, arrests, and killings. This viewpoint Yifei shared has prompted many to suggest boycotting the movie altogether. Many argued that watching the movie meant turning a blind eye to racial injustice and police brutality.

Secondly, many of the scenes were filmed in Xinjiang, in the same location as the Uyghur Muslim concentration camps. This was especially alarming because many viewers noticed that Disney gave a “special thanks” in the credits to eight government officials operating in these so-called “re-education” camps. To many, this posed a problem because a big corporation like Disney seemingly showed no empathy towards the cultural genocide and decided to film amid one.

Source by Shadia Zayer

The live action "Mulan" movie has sparked controversy among many viewers.

“I believe supporting "Mulan" is a disservice to the Muslims who are struggling every day in Uyghur camps. Disney definitely knew about what was happening there and still proceeded to film scenes in Xinjiang, where the Muslim concentration camps are, which is ridiculous and shows Disney does not truly care about its Muslim viewers,” said senior Sarah Razzaq.

Lastly, "Mulan" is not the East Asian representation that is needed or wanted. Aside from the cast, no one else is Asian. From costume designers, producers, and directors, the crew consisted of nearly all non-people of color. Being accused of being “too white behind the camera” led many people to feel as if the Asian people on screen were mere puppets. This perpetuated the feeling that many people of color share: even if there is representation in mass media, there still isn’t enough authoritative control.

All these factors beg the question on whether or not the live action "Mulan" is worth the watch and if running on nostalgia is enough to convince others to watch. With being such an anticipated release, did "Mulan" fall so very short?


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