Except The Jungle Book, Disney’s live-action remakes have failed to capture the magic of their animated predecessors. Mulan, however, had the potential to break this trend with a cast full of martial arts experts and breathtaking sets. Unfortunately, the film fails to deliver on its promise, despite having many promising parts.
One of the biggest deviations from the 1998 source material is the absence of musical numbers and the romantic subplot. In addition, the wisecracking dragon, Mushu, has been replaced with a less effective soaring phoenix. While the film is visually stunning, with impeccably designed costumes and sets, the CGI and green screen work are sometimes dodgy, which detracts from the overall experience.
Liu Yifei’s performance as Mulan is great, but she fails to convince as a man. Her feminine appearance throughout the film makes it difficult to suspend disbelief. The action set pieces, which should be spectacular given the cast of renowned martial arts experts, are either bad or mediocre, which is a real shame.
In the end, Mulan 2020 is just Mulan 1998 with the fun taken out. Despite having all the necessary ingredients for success, the film fails to bring them together in a satisfying way. My advice would be to wait until it’s free to stream on Disney+ rather than spend money on a disappointing cinematic experience.