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Mulan (2020) Movie Review

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his writings will help launch his careers.


If there was ever a film that deserved to be seen in IMAX, Mulan is it. It's a shame that the pandemic has forced Disney to release it straight to Disney+ and skip most theaters, but that also gives viewers a chance to enjoy the film from the comfort of their own home. While it is more convenient to watch from home, Mulan deserves the biggest screen and best surround sound system possible.

If you don't know, Mulan follows the story of young Hua Mulan, a woman who is faced with a great conviction. Her country is at war, and the Imperial City is being threatened by Bori Kan and his underling, a powerful witch named Xianniang. The Emperor decrees that each family must supply one son to fight. Mulan's father steps forward to go into battle since he has no son. Mulan knows that her father is suffering from an old war injury and can barely walk. Afraid that her father would die in battle, Mulan steals her father's sword and armor and disguises herself as a man in order to fight in her father's place.

The best aspect of this film is its cinematography. The filming locations throughout China are absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous. Not only the locations, but also the flow of the film is beautiful. Even such a small scene as Mulan being dressed to go before the Matchmaker has such a mesmerizing quality and elegance to it.

Director Niki Caro certainly knows how to make a scene incredible. The camera work was outstanding. From the flips and jumps to the battles, Caro made you feel like you were inside the film. She was able to keep the viewer engaged and hanging on the edge of your seat.

Yifei Liu was outstanding as Mulan. She stole every scene she was in, dominated with her dazzling stuntwork and captured hearts with her sweet-but-tough personality. Donnie Yen perfectly embodied his role as Commander Tung. His incredible martial arts skills combined with his stern acting and soft heart made his role all the more believable.

The makeup and costume departments deserve high praise too. Jet Li was unrecognizable as the Emperor and the various outfits that Mulan wore were brilliantly styled and perfectly resembled ancient Chinese clothing.

In conclusion, I really can't rave about this film enough. Sure, there's going to be some purists out there that will be angry that the film doesn't follow the story of the animated version. There's no Mushu or singing and there's very few laughs, but if you consider that this film pays tribute to the original story of Mulan rather than the animated musical, you'll start to understand that there's more to this version. There's so much depth and heart that was overlooked in the animated version. There's several times in the live version when I teared up even. So take the story and the message to heart and don't be one of those comparison critics. Both films stand on their own and it's not trying to replace what came before. It's simply telling the story of Mulan as closely as possible to the real story, with a few added things of course. I even dare say that Mulan is the best thing to come out of 2020. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

© 2020 Nathan Jasper