Friday, September 18, 2020

Disney's Mulan Bombs

Disney's live-action “Mulan” bombs in China and elsewhere. 

I won’t let you in on the ticket sales todate because it is so darn embarrassing. 

It has been described as a pointless movie, even to the point of being disrespectful to Chinese culture. 

To make matters worse, the epic Chinese ballad adapted onto the big screen is constantly being compared to the 1998 movie. 

That animated Mulan version was well received by critics and public alike who praised the animation, plot, characters (particularly the eponymous character), and musical score – and it grossed $304.3 million. Although I should add that it didn't do well in China.

And if you believe Western critics, they had wanted Mulan 2020 to be a tragicomedy-cum-musical. As in the cartoon. 

In spite of the all-Asian cast, the mostly China setting and the expensive royal palace background sets – none of these hit it home for the Chinese audience. 

Notwithstanding these elements, the remake is more akin to a Western fantasy story weaved coarsely into an ancient Chinese world. 

Mulan 2020 is culturally wrong! Many argue that’s because the all-white crew of director, producers, screenwriters, and costume designer are Westerners  and therefore, you couldn't help but conclude that they are culturally illiterate.

One review (in Chinese) even compared the incorporation of seemingly “authentic” Chinese cultural elements into the movie with “the taste of General Tso’s Chicken”: “It is cooked in a wok and served with chopsticks, but that doesn’t make it Chinese food.

The only thing that makes sense is the set of three virtues that was promoted in the storyline: 忠 Zhong/Zhōng (English translation: "loyal"), 勇 Yong/Yŏng (English translation: "brave"), and 真 Zhen/Zhēn (English translation: "true"). 

For sure, I won’t be going to the cinema to catch Mulan – just watching the trailers already make me cringe.

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