mulan footage reaction

Just when you thought you’d gotten jaded with the slew of Disney live-action remakes, the House of Mouse rolls out Mulanwhich sets itself apart from the crowd of shot-for-shot nostalgia grabs by giving us a stylish, non-musical adaptation of the famous Chinese legend. Liu Yifei stars in the film as Hua Mulan, a young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to take her father’s place in the Imperial Army.

The first trailer for Mulan teased a brooding, beautiful take on the 1998 animated classic, but new footage from D23 gives us a longer look at the highly anticipated remake directed by Niki Caro. Read our Mulan footage reaction below.

Director Niko Caro (The Zookeeper’s Wife, North Country) took the stage at the D23 Expo, saying that this is still the timeless story Disney fans fell in love with in the late 1990s, but now it’s real and more emotional. She showed off some special scenes specifically for the D23 crowd; here’s what they saw.

It began with closeups of a ceremony of Mulan getting into dress and paint. She’s starving, but can’t eat because it will ruin her makeup. The cinematography looks gorgeous. She’s at a tea party of some kind, and an elder lectures her about how a wife must be silent in serving her husband – according to them, Mulan must be silent and must be invisible. A bug crawls across the table and Mulan moves the teapot over it to hide it. Her mother wants the teapot moved back to the center of the table, but Mulan refuses…until she ultimately relents, picking it up and allowing the bug to go running and causing huge havoc in the place.

Mulan is able to catch all of the ancient tea cups and has them held by her hands and legs, but eventually they come crashing down. Outside, a warrior on horseback says the country is now at war and sets up that one person from each household must participate in the fight. Mulan’s father volunteers because he has two daughters, but he’s limping and it’s obvious he’s in no shape to join the war. Mulan watches him take out his armor, and she echoes what he did in practice. “I will bring honor to the family,” she says.

We see her training with the male soldiers, and shots of big epic vistas with tons of warriors. She runs across ancient temples and rides on horseback, and says, “I will bring honor to us all.” Peter Sciretta, who’s on the ground at D23, says the footage looks like Oscar bait but with a Disney sensibility, and that it looks beautiful in the way it’s shot and presented.

This film features 500 actors to bring the battle scenes to life – a good sign that Caro cares about making this a tactile experience instead of a weightless CGI-fest.

Liu Yifei stars in the film as Hua Mulan, and the rest of the cast includes Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Ron Yuan, Tzi Ma, Rosalind Chao, Cheng Pei-Pei, Nelson Lee, Chum Ehelepola, with Gong Li and Jet Li.

Here is the synopsis for Mulan:

Mulan” is the epic adventure of a fearless young woman who masquerades as a man in order to fight Northern Invaders attacking China. The eldest daughter of an honored warrior, Hua Mulan is spirited, determined and quick on her feet. When the Emperor issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army, she steps in to take the place of her ailing father as Hua Jun, becoming one of China’s greatest warriors ever.

Mulan gets down to business next spring on March 27, 2020.

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