Rising Like a Phoenix: Mulan 2020 Movie Review


The live-action adaptation of Mulan, originally slated for theatrical release last March of 2020, is available on Disney’s own streaming platform Disney+ now!

Should you skip it or watch it? Read on this review to find out.

From Theatrical to Streaming

The Covid-19 pandemic has messed up the film industry a lot with theaters worldwide opting to close their doors for at least until the disease gets under control. But several months have passed and the disease seems nowhere near under control. Now it’s time for the film studios need to make a decision. Postpone the theatrical releases some more or go to streaming platforms.

Understandably, Disney has chosen the latter for Mulan. The film which was scheduled to be theatrically released on March has found its way through studio’s own streaming platform, Disney+ which is sadly not accessible in the Philippines as of yet. But don’t fret because if you live in a country where theaters are allowed to open, Disney will have a traditional release in these countries.

Here’s hoping everything goes well in the Philippines and theaters will re-open soon, safely.

Mulan 1998 vs Mulan 2020

The animated version which was released 22 years ago in 1998 introduced us to Mulan with much critical acclaim. After all, the film was one of (if not the) first of its kind. It broke all Disney female character stereotypes and featured a heroine instead of a damsel in distress or a princess waiting for her knight in shining armor. Nah! It was simply just ahead of its time.

So, what’s new with the 2020 version of Mulan? Short answer: A LOT!

First and most notable of all is, THERE ARE NO SONG SEQUENCES. So, if you’re looking for an updated version of the songs like “Reflection”, you won’t find that here. That’s a little sad but you’ll hear an instrumental version of most of the songs in the background. You just have to fill it in with the lyrics yourself; you still remember them, anyway, right?

A lot of characters are missing here too. I mostly missed Eddie Murphy’s Mushu among others. But there are also some new characters added. Some are good and some are bad. You’ll see. The plot remained the same but certain stories and narratives were changed.

Unlike The Lion King 2019 live-action remake, which was basically a frame-by-frame copy of the original, Mulan made some interesting changes. Mostly good changes, the way I see it.

Skip or Watch?

So is it any good? Well, yeah!

Yifei Liu brought some justice to the titular character Mulan with her innocent yet fierce impression of the Chinese heroine. Veteran actors Jet Li as the Emperor of China, Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, and Tzi Ma as Mulan’s father Hua Zhou, as you would expect, impresses. But it was actress Gong Li’s surprise character (which I will not reveal for suspense) that set this film apart from the original.

The 1998 version was a masterpiece but Mulan 2020 is gorgeous in its own right. Despite the absence of song numbers and the comedic relief brought by Mushu, the film still holds up quite good I feel like it deserves to be seen in a bigger screen.


Here is salida|etc’s rating for Mulan 2020.

Our Rating

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