Mulan Without Mushu: A Live Action Dishonor

Live Action Review: Rant Edition
Cousin Category
BEWARE OF SPOILERS and unintelligible rants ahead!

I owe this one to my cousin because this draft saved me from writing a post from scratch. This was supposed to be published last year when we we’re just fresh from a Mulan Live Action session. Now it’s been … a while.

So it goes like this:

My cousin and I had this funny thing going on in our chats. Inbox can alternately be called a rantbox when it comes to us. As I mentioned before in one of my posts (probably ages ago), she’s also one of those people I kept pestering about starting blog but she’s too lazy to do it so I suggested a collaboration of sorts.

So, we’ve seen the live action of the Disney’s Mulan. But before we get into it, I need to mention that we are huge fans of the animated version. We know it by heart and we will occasionally break out singing the songs from the movie. Moreover, we basically know all the dialogue and lines of the characters so we’re practically experts! I mean, being kids from Asia, Mulan is not only an awesome Disney princess to emulate but also her singing voice actor, Lea Salonga is a good role model to us all.

I told my cousin that after she finished watching on her side, to tell me her thoughts about the movie and I’ll write it down and turn it into a post. I admit that I totally forgot about it after a few days but I was reminded when my notifications kept pinging with her extremely passionate rants about the live action.

Behold, our short but sweet (or maybe salty) live action review. The rant edition:

Le Cousin: Alright, I watched Mulan. Finally. Couple of things… WTF! When I read somewhere before that there will be no singing in this movie, I thought fine, maybe Disney’s taking a more serious and realistic approach or something. Like the live action Mulan (2009) I think? Not Disneyfied. There’s some singing there but it’s no “I’ll make a man out of you“.

But. But But… But I heard ‘Honor to us all’ in the live action albeit instrumental only, why no ‘I’ll make a man out of you’?? I mean, okay fine, is it because there’s no Li Shang? AND that’s another thing! NO Li Shang.

Le Cousin: So… no Li Shang so one (le cousin) would also assume that there will be no love interest but there is a Honghui. That character is just… MEH. When I saw that one specific scene where they had their swords drawn, I was like, “Uh huh, what is this? WHAT. IN. THE. HEKK. IS. THIS. It’s bullshit is what it is. I want our bisexual icon, GENERAL LI SHANG!”

Le Cousin: AND A.NO.THER. THING. Okay. I saw the trailer where there are some tricks performed by the girl-witch, she transformed into a birdie yeah. But watching it in the movie I was like – WHAT. There goes that serious, realistic approach theory. Powers-powers?! BUT NO MUSHU?! Dishonor!

(See what I did there? I quoted Mushu. Dishonor on your whole family. Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow…)

Le Cousin: I’m sleepy. Imma continue later.

Me: Imma turn this into a post just you wait and then I’ll credit you.

Le Cousin (after a few days): Aight! I actually forgot about this for a while cos I got distracted by 9-1-1 and the Prodigal Son series-es. LOL I have been bingeing – hard.

Mulan (2020) wasn’t a live action version of the original, at least not the live action I know or the live action I thought it would be. It’s more like… reimagined Mulan.

– Le Cousin
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (2009)

Me: At least they had that disclaimer in the beginning when it was narrated by her father. That there had been many tales …

Le Cousin: Yeah. True. But if you do want to watch a live action of Mulan, try the 2009 version.

Me: Also according to what I heard from the internet the Li Shang character is supposedly separated into two in the live action. Their commanding officer and that Honghui. So meh.. They had the audacity to cut out Mushu but there was the bird thingy with the witch and the phoenix sighting like with Ash in Pokemon.
Then they killed the witch and expected us to feel affected like what happened to your impressive display. Got downed by a mere arrow in the end.. A bit disappointing.

Le Cousin: Say hello to the Disney treatment hohoho. Kinda had a feeling she wasn’t gonna survive, not with her perspective on the whole being-a-woman-in-a-mans-world thing. Sexism, that’s it. Also – chi chi chi (everywhere chi).

Me: By the way, are there any good parts at all. I can’t remember?? Maybe the subtle and not so subtle reference from the original movie. Like Yao and Ling and Po conversation about their type of girl. Or the impressive cinematography in some scenes.

Me: Funny how I can already picture the title of the post as: Mulan Without Mushu: Dishonored Live Action. Or Mulan Without Mushu: Live Action Dishonor. Or whatever works.

Le Cousin: In other Disney Live actions there are some form/type of closure when you watch it and even some added value.
In Cinderella, the prince charming finally had a name = Kit (right?). Then they at least had their first meeting in the forest before the ball.
Beauty and the Beast, why nobody noticed the castle and the people (because it was enchanted) and there’s the part in the end when they broke free of that and remembered.
Aladdin, YES! (I assumed le cousin approved of Aladdin).
Lion King = at least they still had Timon and Pumba.
Jungle Book = 👌🏻 (Yep. This one too)
Sleeping Beauty = Maleficent, which is just hmm! And there is still a sequel. So good. I just included it in the list but you get my point.
But in MULAN = 🤷🏻‍♀️ They didn’t stick with the animated version and they even had to cut out BELOVED characters. I know I know, it’s reimagined and there is also the disclaimer but the betrayal… of a live action remake.

My cousin as a critic to this Live Action.

And so the rant continued on.

I have chosen to share this part of the rant because I was so amused about what my cousin was saying and the way she expressed it. Also, she kind of convinced me along the way because most of what she said made sense as I understood her point.

Maybe I’ll go back and review this Live Action again because – LIU YIFEI. Or maybe this will just be it. Either way I’m good, because at least we had this one out here that shouts Mushu is missed and the dishonor will not be forgiven anytime soon. At least that’s what I think my cousin will say. I might grow to like it if I had the chance to watch it again and appreciate the beauty that is Crystal Liu.

Followers who might see this post: Oooh look she’s back. I guess she’s not dead.

That’s it for this rant filled post.

Thanks for reading!

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8 thoughts on “Mulan Without Mushu: A Live Action Dishonor

  1. I haven’t watched it yet, and I really don’t have any interest. To me, I think Mulan live action would have been a good movie if it was from some other studio, like how other companies have made their live action Cinderella well before Disney did, and so a live action Mulan wouldn’t have any reason to be similar to the Disney version and could appreciate it on its own. But from Disney itself, who decided to eliminate the songs, Mushu, and redo many characters, I just don’t care.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s been a year, and I’m still salty about this movie! lol When they first announced it, I was super hyped. Cuz like most Asian Americans, I was excited for some more actual Asian representation. I was disappointed when they said they’d be cutting out the music, singing, and iconic characters… But they claimed they wanted to do a realistic and authentic telling of Mulan. Cuz the animated movie was just loosely based on the tale of Mulan, and apparently had alot of inaccuracies. Although, I still love the ’97 animation cuz it was a classic and so much fun. So while I was sad all the things we knew and loved wouldn’t be included, I kind of understood. Plus, I’m always up for accurate Asian representation and authentic representation of Asian cultures in mainstream/western media (cuz it’s about damn time).
    I wanted to like the movie. I was super excited and hopeful that I was even willing to shell out the extra money to watch it when it dropped. Boy was I disappointed… I know alot of Asian Americans (and Asians in general) were hella disappointed. I think the thing is that Disney promised alot of things and excuses for moving away from their iconic version of Mulan. However, they didn’t deliver on those promises at all, and most of it just seemed half-baked. We were told they cut out stuff for authenticity and realism/accuracy. We all know that was BS cuz they didn’t wanna give us Mushu, but gave us a sorceress lady who turns into a bird. From what I could tell from Chinese friends and stuff from the internet, alot of stuff just wasn’t accurate. Apparently alot of things don’t really mean or work the way that Disney tried to make it seem. Apparently their concept of chi was one of them (there’s a Chinese history expert who broke down the whole thing in a YT video). As for authenticity… the costume designer was a white lady who apparently went to European museums with Chinese departments for research, and then spent a few weeks in China. They should’ve had someone who specialized in Chinese costumes and history handle it…. And maybe I’m being nitpicky…but I felt like the costumes and sets were lackluster and looked fake. To me, I didn’t feel a sense of realism. They just seemed like obvious fake costumes, sets, and props. So it was hard for me to immerse myself into the story when I kept thinking some of the armor and things looked like something from a costume shop. Which shouldn’t have been the case considering the enormous budget and hype it had. The whole movie just felt like a knock off wushu movie made by white people… I also felt like the relationships with the characters felt so shallow. I just couldn’t feel emotionally connected to anyone. And I feel like they didn’t even know where they were going with the plot… Like setting up this love interest thing for Mulan, but then kind of being “ehhhh” about it.
    Sorry for the long comment. I’m just still so extremely salty still lolol I was so salty when I finished it, that I immediately watched the ’97 animation right after. ’97 might not be accurate, but it’s honestly a masterpiece with it’s aesthetics. The dialogue was witty and fun. Honestly, I felt more of an emotional and cultural connection to the animation than the live action movie lol Plus, those iconic songs. I literally will bust out into song if I ever hear them haha~

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe I should’ve invited you to rant with us!
      I felt like I reignited your salty feelings because you saw our rant. Glad you got it out tho 😀
      I am definitely in love with the animated one. Iconic everything!
      Agreed on how you felt an emotional and cultural connection to the animation than this live action. It helps that we can sing along too! Lea Salonga is ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would’ve loved ranting about it with you guys! haha~ I was actually already salty again cuz I recently had a similar discussion with someone not that long ago haha. I think it was because we were comparing our expectations and reactions to Mulan and Raya. I originally lowered my expectations because of the live action Mulan movie, but I actually ended up loving Raya. I felt like that did a better job of cultural representation and connection than the live action Mulan did.
        The animation was great. I feel like the animation, dialogue, feels, and comedy is still amazing even after so many years. The animation definitely really hit hard on an emotional level for me.
        It’s also great because it relatable and enjoyable for all generations, and still relatable for the current generation of diasporic Asians. Lea Salonga is just so talented too! ❤


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