Date: February 4, 2021
Musical Accompaniment: Happy 4th Day of Black History Month!
Interstellar News: Today was another long day. We finished The Wizard of Oz as well as Return to Oz and then watched a panel discussing the latter. I was thinking about writing my thoughts on those two movies, but I’m going to think on them some more. I plan to get back to Trek tomorrow or Saturday. Tonight, you get my thoughts on the 1998 Animated and 2020 Live Action versions of Mulan.
“I’ll make a man out of you.”: The 1998 animated version has been one of my favorites since it came out. I was 12 when it came out, and I had always been a “tomboy”, so of course Mulan became my favorite Disney “princess”. The songs are catchy, I had already discovered my love of Asian culture and dragons, and the story was wonderful. A young woman tries to be the perfect daughter and she follows her instincts to protect her family and winds up saving all of China and turning a head or two. Grandma is also the absolute best and has the best sense of humor. As this is an animated movie there’s the ability to have the horse, dog, and cricket display personality, the spirits to be, well, animated, and to draw the characters in body shapes that don’t usually occur in nature. I won’t say this movie is perfect and has no flaws, but it’s my post so I’m not going to discuss those here… so there!
“Loyal, Brave, and True.”: I was expecting this live action version to be similar to what Disney did with the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, a retelling of the same story but with no animation. This is far from the case. There are no songs and the story is different in so many ways, but it’s still very good. This version as magic, chi, a younger sister, a different enemy, Mulan being forced to share the barracks, and no dragons or cricket. The music is still there, in the background, and there are a lot of callbacks to the movie in some of the dialogue (“today you become men”, “what do you look for in a woman?”, etc.) that is spoken. I love the little village the Hua family lives in, especially when the bit with the chicken reminded me of the animated Hercules movie. As with the animated version, this one has its flaws and is far from perfect. The message, however, is the same. Gender is a social construct and it doesn’t matter what genitals you were born with… we all make our own paths.
I highly recommend watching both animated versions, the sequel Mulan II is actually a lot of fun, and this live action version. They are all empowering and visually pleasing. Also, Disney+’s GroupWatch worked awesomely.