For the Culture
Representation can be the catalyst in the career of a young artist
In 2015, Disney began making plans for the remake of its' 1998 classic film, Mulan, in live-action. They hired on Niki Caro- director of The Zookeeper's Wife (2015)- and the plan was skyrocketed into reality.
When I first heard news that the remake would not include the iconic musical numbers from my childhood, I was massively disappointed. I pretty much wrote off the upcoming film as a flop. Then, this year, I heard news that the Eddie Murphy's hilarious and memorable character, Mushu, would be not be making an appearance either. I would have completely shunned the film from my radar, but I decided to do a little digging.
The 1998 family classic, Mulan, is actually loosely based on a 386 AD - 557 AD era Chinese poem, called the "Ballad of Mulan"- the story of the bravest heroine of Chinese poetry. It begins with Mulan was washing clothes when she hears news that the Chinese military was drafting men from each family to fight in an on-going war. Because Mulan was an only child, and her father was far too old to go off to war, she decided to take her fathers place in the guise of his son. According to the poem, Mulan fought for over a decade and moved up the ranks of the army. She was highly regarded and respected. She is even said to have fallen in love with a fellow officer, Jin Yong. Other soldires were suspicious that Mulan was a woman, but it was not confirmed to all until she decided, one day, to walk out on the battlefield and lead her soldiers in woman's clothing. The soldiers respected her even more due to her grace, bravery and wisdom and followed her on to win another battle. Mulan was honored by the emperor and offered many rewards, but the story goes that all she wanted was a horse to return back to her family.
The 1998 rendition is much like the original poem, but it's Disney-fied. With catchy tunes, silly animal characters, and light family fun, it was perfect for the time. It translated to all of us children, and it is forever a Disney classic, but what Caro is doing with her live-action remake will be memorable, inspiring, and respectful for many girls everywhere and for the original story. In a 2017 interview with Moviefone, Caro said, "It's a big, girly martial arts epic. It will be extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving." I don't know about how everyone else feels, but girly martial arts is exactly what I need in my life. There should be more action, adventure films for young girls and teens to watch. Harry Potter, The Never-ending Story, Atlantis, and so many more movies are tangible proof that adventure films that portray serious tones and morale to kids are just as timeless and important as the sweet and funny animated ones. With a female lead, I believe this film is going to blow people away and streamline a new era of film-making and story-telling for the youth of this generation.