Ugh…just arrrggg!!! This is very frustrating for me to process. Mulan is my favorite of all of the Disney films. Today it was announced that not only would there be no songs incorporated in the film, but they are taking out Mulan’s love interest Li Shang. According to the director Niki Caro, Mulan will have a rival instead and will be a girly martial arts film. This film does not bode well for me and I will tell you why.
1) I’m a girl who does martial arts and is currently training in unarmed stage combat. I’m really offended that because the film centers around a female character, that it is categorized as a “girly martial arts film” by the director herself! It also shows that she has no concept of what goes on when you train in the martial arts:
You train your body to be a weapon. The skill is designed to injure or kill another human being, plain and simple. When you have that ability, it transcends gender because it’s dangerous. Treat it with respeck!
2) The premise of this film was that China was at war with the Mongolian army. As a result they staged a draft where all of the first born sons or only men in the family had to fight. Mulan’s father, who was well beyond his prime and health, had to fight. Much to the dismay of his wife, mother-in-law and his darling daughter Mulan. My concern now since the director categorized it as a “girly martial arts film” is this; is she now going to change the storyline to show Mulan proving her worth as a woman instead of protecting her dad? Because the impression that I got from the original film was that her dad already thought her worthy as a woman. I mean hell, I figured that is why she was so brave to risk death in the first place: to protect the one person who loved her unconditionally.
3) Taking Li Shang out of the film to make a new rival for Mulan is incredibly stupid. Especially since her rivals were already established in the original animated film as Yao, Ling and Chien-Po. Yes, they were there for comic relief, but they also clashed with Mulan or “Ping” in the very beginning. As the famous “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” montage carries on, they are no longer rivals, but equals and earn each other’s respect. Li Shang wanted strong soldiers, so there is no need for him to be a rival. The army was in dire straits and he needed all hands on deck.
I will say just on a side note: remakes tend to irk me a bit so I may be a little biased. Mulan was such a lovely and complete film that I don’t really know why it needs to be remade to begin with. I’m happy that the cast will be entirely Chinese, as it should be, but they should stay consistent with the story structure and the songs that are already there.