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Mulan (2020) 4K UHD Review

2020’s live-action “Mulan” is deeply mediocre.

In 2020’s live-action adaptation of “Mulan,” the story revolves around the rebellious and adventurous Hua Mulan who decides to secretly pose as a male soldier so that her elderly father wouldn’t be enlisted. With a new path ahead of her, Mulan and her fellow soldiers must fight against the invading Rouran forces led by Bori Khan and the witch Xianniang. How will Mulan fare as a soldier and can she keep her identity a secret?

There’s no doubt that Mulan (2020) deserves praise for its Asian representation, powerful feminist perspective and for having a female filmmaker at the helm in Niki Caro. Alas, those inspiring elements get lost amidst a clunky film that has been marred by an overeliance on action, political and cultural controversies and puzzling changes from that of the 1998 Disney animated classic.

Right off the bat, the most noticeable thing about “Mulan” (2020) is that it lacks the soul of its animated musical counterpart. A single frame of the animated tale has more life and energy than the entirety of this live-action version. Granted, some folks may treasure this new more serious version, but to me, it was a CGI riddled action film that was devoid of character. The high flying action seemed to overpower everything else as the movie felt like it was in a constant state of hurry to get to the next action set piece. What it really needed was humor, more impactful drama, and characters that didn’t come across as flat or wooden. Gong Li’s Xianniang and Donnie Yen’s Commander Tung are the only two characters that have any sort of screen presence here. I wish I could say Mulan star Yifei Liu did but she feels entirely miscast here. Yes, she is believable in action scenes and can sing, but she lacks the dramatic gravitas needed for the role.

Going into this new version, I felt it had the most potential of any of the Disney live-action adaptations because there was a real opportunity to create a different film both tonally, visually, and from a story perspective. Alas, all of that potential is wasted here with the script by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin. In addition to removing beloved characters like Mushi and Li Shang, the new material simply does not add much to the story unless you like overdone Phoenix symbolism, a baffling mishandling of Chi, and new characters that are instantly forgettable.

Overall Thoughts: Simply put, stick with the animated version instead.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 2160p. How does it look? The 4K disc dazzles with striking colors and detailed picture quality.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? From the gallop of horses to the sound of swords clashing, this Atmos track packs a punch.


Extras (on the Blu-ray):
* Digital copy
* Blu-ray copy
* Disney+ ad
* Music videos for “Reflection” and “Love Brave True.” “Reflection” has a concept and lyric video for Christina Aguilera’s version and a Mandarin and English version for Yifei Liu’s rendition. “Love Brave True” has concept and lyric videos in English and Spanish.
* 6 deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Niki Caro
* “The Original Mulan”- A featurette about the original “Mulan” voice actress Ming-Na Wen having a cameo.
* “Reflections Of Mulan”- A behind-the-scenes look at the score and the song “Reflections” sung by star Yifei Liu in Mandarin.
* “Being Bad”- An extra about the villain characters.
* “Mulan By Another Name”- This bonus feature covers Yifei Liu’s casting and experiences in making the movie.
* “Updating A Classic”- The best extra here explores the new live-action take as a whole. Interviews, film clips, and set footage is included.

November 23, 2020 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , ,

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