mulan trailer

While you can’t walk two steps on the internet without finding someone groaning about Disney’s slate of live-action remakes of animated movies, there’s no getting around the box office. These movies are hits. Huge hits. Enormous hits. Hits big enough to justify all of the critical finger-wagging. So it would be easy to be cynical about Mulan, which hits theaters next month. And yet, all of the trailers, including the new Super Bowl spot, suggest a Disney live-action remake that stands out from the crowd.

Mulan Super Bowl Spot

Niki Caro directs the new version of Mulan, which looks like it owes less to the 1998 animated film and more to sweeping Chinese epics. In fact, if the title wasn’t immediately familiar to millions of western viewers, this could easily look like a Chinese-produced historical action film. And honestly, that sounds good to me. After lifeless carbon copies like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, a Disney remake that actually tries something completely different sounds just about perfect.

Here is the official synopsis for Mulan:

When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father. “Mulan” features a celebrated international cast that includes: Yifei Liu as Mulan; Donnie Yen as Commander Tung; Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan; Yoson An as Cheng Honghui; with Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor. The film is directed by Niki Caro from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek based on the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan.”

Mulan hits theaters on March 27, 2020.

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