‘Mulan’ to get live-action treatment: Too far?

31 Mar

When reports surfaced late yesterday that Disney’s 1998 Mulan would become the next live-action film after Beauty and the Beast, I instantly felt conflicted.

I lacked the words to eloquently articulate the confusion, anxieties and frustrations I had upon reading the announcement.

I’ve now found the word:

Dishonor. 

Dishonor on your whole family. Dishonor on you. Dishonor on your cow.

Disney, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? You have animated upcoming films that you need to market (ahem, Zootopia). You have older films you could reinvigorate with re-releases with anniversaries coming up.

And you pick MULAN.

Before I get too carried away, let me explain something: I love the movie. Mulan is a sassy, independently-minded princess (yes, Disney categorizes as her as such. Let’s not debate semantics) who saves China with style. Eddie Murphy’s Mushu rivals the Genie in his balance of humor and heart. And who could forget Grandma Fa, arguably one of the most underrated secondary characters in the film? It warrants attention, sure, but a reboot?

I have faith that Disney would find a good Li Shang (Days of Our Lives Christopher Sean, anyone?). They could probably find a decent Mulan. There are tons of talented actresses of color who would rock the role. But unless you’re going to get Eddie Murphy to reprise the role, don’t bother.

My deepest fear with these upcoming remakes — Beauty and the Beast included — is that they won’t deviate enough from the original story to make the tale fresh. Maleficent featured the villain, giving a new spin on a classic tale. Cinderella offered character development (and a name) to a Prince and Princess who’d been written off as bland. What will Beauty and the Beast give? All signs point to a celebrified live-action retelling. Effectively, we might be getting a glorified musical version, and I would’ve much rather seen the Guillermo del Toro/Warner Bros./super-dark interpretation.

What will Mulan give? Hopefully, much more than a Kevin Hart performance and yet another remix of “Reflections.”

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