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New ‘Mulan’ film leaves fans wanting more

The new “Mulan” movie that has been awaited by Disney fans arrived on Disney Plus on Sept. 4. While some were just grateful for a new movie to watch, “Mulan” did not meet the expectations of other fans. Mushu, Mulan’s beloved dragon sidekick, and Li Shang were both excluded from the live-action version. Critics also complained the movie was filmed at an alleged “re-education” camp for Muslims located near Hong Kong. These reasons alone created skepticism in many die-hard Disney fans.

“[The producers] made it less of a children’s cartoon; they made it more of an intense movie for older people and something that kids wouldn’t love as much,” said freshman Alex Coggins.

Other unexpected disappointments included the absence of Mulan’s love interest, Li Shang, and music.

“I love music, so I was super sad that they didn’t have the music in it,” said Coggins.

When compared to other Disney live-action remakes, “Mulan” is very different. The live-action versions of “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King” and “The Jungle Book” all include most, if not all, of the original characters included in their respective cartoons. They are all musicals, as well. This past consistency is part of the reason why it was surprising to fans when “Mulan” differed so drastically from the original movie.

While the movie may part ways with certain aspects, it attempts to fill these holes with Xianniang, a new female character with special abilities that Mulan seems to have herself. This character adds a little magic to the story.

“I thought it was really interesting,” said Coggins. “I liked the end because I thought it was cool how Mulan and [Xianniang] were able to connect, and she was able to help Mulan. At first I was not so sure about her, and it was definitely very different.”

In order to produce the expected amount of revenue during the pandemic, Disney Plus charged $30 to view the film. Even though fans would have paid money for watching “Mulan” in theaters, some are still irritated about the fee for watching it on a streaming service they already pay for monthly. However, until a Disney Plus account is canceled, the movie can be watched as many times as desired.

Another concern is the fact that parts of the movie were filmed near “re-education” camps for Muslims in Hong Kong. These are concentration camp-like compounds in which Muslims and Uyghurs are held captive. Many have died in these camps, and the Chinese government is forcing internees to be sterilized, lowering the birth rate by 24 percent so far. Liu Yifei, who portrays Mulan, has said that she supports and condones this oppression of the Muslims. Would-be fans find this abuse shocking and adding to the growing list of reasons to boycott the film.

“I thought that was super sad, just because that’s not the way that we as Christians believe that people should be treated,” said Coggins.


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