Mulan (2020): An Embarrassment to the Genre

Welp, Disney did it again. Exhibiting zero comprehension of the basics of filmmaking, Mulan (2020) is a masterpiece in how to mis-structure a movie, mis-time its pacing, and mis-write the whole plot. It should be no surprise, then, that the movie fell flat at its release, although Disney is probably going to blame it on the pandemic like they did for the many out-of-touch attempts at a Marvel cyber-superhero Snapchat miniseries they’ve made since February. For the unaware, the latest Mulan release is a remake of the beautifully written and animated 1998 Disney film of the same name. Unfortunately, the similarities end there, because this rendition was worse than leaving my TV off for the 3.5 hour runtime. Even if you’re being generous because you’re just looking for a nostalgia kick, you’re still in for a bad time, because this movie bears almost no resemblance to the original. I’m talking songs, dialogue, and even large portions of the story wildly changed, outright removed, or casted to someone with literally zero acting experience. This has been extremely frustrating to review, and it’s burned me out a bit with regard to the pandemic-era Disney content, so consider this my last such breakdown, at least for a while:

  1. My first problem is a more general one: why is it called Mulan? The protagonist of the story, Mulan Ferrera, is exclusively called “Ferrera” for the duration of the movie. I didn’t even realize she was supposed to be Mulan until I watched the credits. It was super disappointing because I was waiting for hours for Mulan to make her grand appearance and lead the army, but it never happened. Totally misleading.

  2. Speaking of credits, why is the after-credits scene a Sprint commercial? I truly wasn’t expecting much, but this was really a slap in the face. Plus none of the actors from the movie are even in the commercial. The only person I recognized was Terry Crews, and he didn’t have anything to do with Mulan as far as I can tell.

  3. Why did the movie pause periodically to make me do a survey? I hit the play button and 15 minutes later it asks me in the middle of the exposition which character is my favorite so far. It’s super distracting. Also, I don’t want to watch the same scene twice with minor differences and have to pick which one was better. That’s not my job, and I didn’t pay $90 to improve Disney’s product for them. Fix this.

  4. Where the hell is Baby Yoda? I am legitimately pissed that Disney had the gall to tease Baby Yoda in the trailers, and then refuse to put him in a single scene. I didn’t link my bank account to Disney+ just to watch Mushu get a stick-and-poke tattoo of the Rebel Alliance logo. I don’t care if they depleted the SFX budget on making it look like a genocide wasn’t happening in one of the background shots, I want to see a goddamn force choke.

  5. Someone has got to address the homeless guy. For the love of god, why is there a homeless dude in every single CGI shot in the movie? He asks Ferrera repeatedly for a few dollars or some food and she just does the scene like he’s not there. Is this some sort of social commentary or did they actually just have a homeless guy in front of the green screen that they didn’t want to kick out? Of course it’s uncomfortable, but come on.

So yeah, this movie has some serious issues. More likely than not, Disney will turn this into a chance to double-dip and do a re-release in a few years where they’ve fixed all the issues but accidentally dubbed the entire thing into Portuguese (I still can’t let this go; I can’t appreciate Iron Giant if I can’t fucking understand what the gigante is saying). I give this a 4/10: probably not worth your time, but at least it wasn’t pro-CCP.

Join me next week, where I HBO Max Out my credit card and teach you how to get a home equity line of credit using your neighbor’s house as collateral.