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Mulan, Why A Key Character Didn’t Make The Cut – Review

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Disney Plus

Following in the footsteps of The Lion King, Cinderella, The Jungle Boon and many others. Mulan is the latest Disney offering to make the leap from animation to live-action. Originally scheduled for release in March. The film was pushed back to September 2020. And then rather than a theatrical release, it made its debut on Disney Plus as a premium purchase. But as our Mulan review will show, this version is missing something important from the 1998 version.

WARNING: Spoilers from here on out, so proceed with caution.

Mushu made Disney’s 1998 animated version of Mulan, but that’s a different review. The plucky, overzealous mini-dragon created much of the entertainment for the movie.

So why didn’t he make the cut for the latest live-action adaptation? There are many answers, and not all of them have fans support. But a few alter the credibility of the original animation.

Westernisation

One of the main reasons for Mushu’s demise as a missing character comes down to authenticity. The 1998 film was deemed “too western” by audiences across China. This latest production set out to rectify this for all those of Chinese descent who felt duped by the lack of authenticity.

The origin of the tale is thought to have been iterated from a Chinese ballad of the female warrior Hua Mulan. Disney’s original adaptation told a very similar story. A young woman who takes her father’s place to fight against nomadic hordes.

Mulan’s origin is highly treasured by China. So the Chinese population can be forgiven for their grievance. A grievance against a Chinese-based animation where little Chinese is spoken. Where most characters hold an American accent.

Another explanation comes down to the sheer size of weaving such a beloved animated character into a live setting. The logistics of transforming such a lively animation into live-screen would have been some feat. Especially as there is already so much cinematography in the film.

The Directors thoughts

During a footage reveal for the release director Niki Caro stated that ‘we can all appreciate Mushu is irreplaceable. You know, the animated classic stands on its own in that regard’. Caro also confirmed that Mulan’s new guardian would more closely relate to the original Chinese ballad.

So who is this new guardian who is held in so much regard? A phoenix. That’s right, a large, heavily-feathered, soaring red phoenix.

‘Do you know why the phoenix sits on the right hand of the emperor?’ Mulan’s father asks, ‘because she is his guardian. And she is both beautiful and strong.’

Mushu possesses none of the qualities of the new mystical guardian, he is neither beautiful nor strong. But the phoenix is silent which seems to have audiences in a frenzy.

Understandably, both are completely different but fit their roles within the two movies. This review finds that Mulan (1998) is light-hearted in comparison to its successor. The latest adaptation is far more serious in both setting and cinematography. So, the soaring phoenix whose back-story is already engrained in Chinese civilisation only adds to the severity of the tale.

The phoenix also represents spiritualism, as Caro explained: “On the left and right hand of the emperor, there is a dragon. The dragon is representative of the masculine. And the phoenix is representative of the feminine.’

The director further expressed her desire to commit to the ‘gender fluidity’ of the film. This was done by appropriately following suit with a feminine guardian representative.

Overview

Although the movie was released via Disney’s newest platform Disney Plus, it has done exceptionally well raking in 43.8 million dollars.

The bottom line? Mulan’s cinematography is outstanding, and the settings are beautiful. All the basics of the plot are still there, albeit without a self-loving and whimsical mini-dragon to entertain. Plus a few added characters, and some originals that now have more traditional names.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 5/10


Thanks for reading our review and thoughts on Mulan (2020), currently available to stream via the premium service on Disney Plus. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


More of our movie reviews HERE.

Read IMDB information about Mulan (2020) HERE.

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Comics & Literature

Book To Movie Adaptations Coming Soon

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Universal Pictures

It seems that Hollywood is on an adaptation bender these days. With the upcoming Dune film to the To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix franchise, there is a lot of money to be made in book to screen adaptations. And there are a ton of them in the works. Here’s 15 book to movie adaptations that will soon be coming to a screen near you.

1. The House of Gucci – November 24th, 2021

You don’t have to wait long to watch this true story unfold. Written by Sara Gay Forden, the book goes into the real-life whodunnit of the murder of Maurizio Gucci. Starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, this film is coming out this November.

2. Where the Crawdads Sing – June 24, 2022

This bestseller is going to premiere next summer on Netflix. The book, written by Delia Owens follows Kya; a young woman with a turbulent life, who becomes the prime suspect in a mysterious murder. Daisy Edgar-Jones is set to play Kya.

3. The Nightingale – December 23, 2022

The Nightingale, written by Kristin Hannah, follows the lives of two French sisters after their lives are torn apart by World War Two. The film stars sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning and is set to be released on 23 December 2022.

4. The School for Good and Evil – 2022

Written by Soman Chianani, The School for Good and Evil is a middle-grade standout. It takes place at twin schools that kidnap two children every year. Alongside the children of famous fairy-tale heroes and villains, these children are then trained at either the School for Good or the School for Evil. Eventually becoming the next generation of fairy tales. This film has big names in the cast, such as Charlize Theron, Laurence Fishburne, and Kerry Washington. The main characters Sophie and Agatha will be played by Sophia Ann Caruso and Holly Sturton. Shadow and Bone mainstay Kit Young will also be in this adaptation. It has wrapped filming and will come out sometime in 2022.

5. All Quiet on the Western Front – 2022

Who else remembers reading this in school? The classic was written by Erich Maria Remarque and chronicles the horrors of World War One. The book is being adapted as a film by Netflix. It’s going to be directed by Edward Berger and will star Daniel Bruhl. This is actually the third time the book has been adapted for the screen and will premier in 2022.

6. House of the Dragon/ Fire and Blood – 2022

Rejoice Game of Thrones fans, there’s more coming your way. Based on the book Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin, this Game of Thrones spin-off follows the Targaryens 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones. It’s being produced by HBO and will be a ten-part limited series. It’s set to premiere in 2022.

7. Bridgerton (Season 2) – 2022

The pandemic hit Bridgerton has also been renewed for season two. The second season will cover The Viscount Who Loved Me, by Julia Quinn. This love story will centre around Anthony Bridgerton. There’s no official release date, but speculation puts it at 2022.

8. A Discovery of Witches (Season 3) – 2022

AMC +’s Discovery of Witches has been renewed for season three. The show is based on Deborah Harkness’All Souls Trilogy. It centres around actors Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer as a vampire and witch who fall in love. It’s set to premiere sometime in 2022.

9. Shadow and Bone (Season 2) – 2022/2023

Netflix’s Shadow and Bone has been confirmed for a second season. It will cover the events of the second book, Siege and Storm. It’s also unclear if it will dip into the Six of Crows duology. You can read more of our coverage of season two of Shadow and Bone here.

10. Ninth House – TBD

Written by the same author of Shadow and Bone, Ninth House is Leigh Bardugo’s adult fiction series. It follows Yale freshman Alex Stern, who has the ability to see ghosts. She is hired to oversee the dark magical dealings of Yale’s secret societies and gets caught up in forces beyond her imagination. Picked up less than two days after its release in 2019, Ninth House is in the works for an Amazon series adaptation. The show does not have a release date yet and is still in pre-production. Leigh Bardugo is currently writing both the sequel and the show, according to her Instagram.

11. They Both Die at the End – TBD

When Mateo and Rufus are told that they will die, they befriend each other to enjoy their last day. After the project fizzled out at HBO, They Both Die at the End has now been picked up for a tv show by Entertainment One. The show will also be written by the author of the book, Adam Silvera. There is no release date yet.

12. The Selection – TBD

A staple of 2010s dystopian fiction, The Selection by Kiera Kass is right up there with Divergent and the Maze Runner. The Selection follows America Singer, who is selected to compete in a Bachelor-like competition to select the next Queen. What feels frivolous quickly becomes a high-stakes competition for the fate of the country. The Selection is set to premiere on Netflix as a movie. Haifaa Al-Mansour is attached to direct. You can expect to be able to watch The Selection in mid-2021.

13. The Red Queen – TBD

Another mainstay of mid-2010’s dystopia is the Red Queen series, by Victoria Aveyard. The Red Queen is set in a world divided by blood colour. The silver-blooded have superpowers and rule over the kingdom. The red-blooded are powerless; living in poverty and serving as cannon fodder to the war. But when red-blooded Mare Barrow reveals the power to manipulate lightning, everything changes. Elizabeth Banks is executive producing and directing The Red Queen for a TV series at Peacock. She will also play a key role. We’re still waiting on a release date, but Aveyard has co-written the pilot.

14. Blackout – TBD

Blackout is a collection of short stories following black teenagers who stumble upon love in the middle of a blackout in New York City. Authors include Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, and Ashley Woodfolk. The collection is going to be adapted into a six-part anthology on Netflix. The Obamas are actually producing Blackout under their flagship Higher Ground banner and Temple Hill. There is no release date yet.

15. Long Way Down – TBD

Written by Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down takes place in the sixty seconds the main character decides whether or not to murder the man who killed his brother. It’s being adapted into a feature film by Universal and is produced by John Legend and Michael De Luca. There is no release date yet.


That’s our list of 15 book to movie adaptations coming out soon. Which one are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out the five things you missed in Bridgeton Season One HERE.

Read iMDB information on The House of Gucci HERE.

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