If you’ve read my Disney movie reviews before you know I’m not crazy about the remake and sequel trend. While Aladdin was done really well, and Frozen 2 was pretty good, I’m over here waiting for more original stories from Disney Animation Studios and Pixar. That said, because I love the original films, I have to see the remakes, and all the sequels, and I like to see how they hold up. And Mulan is the next one up for review.
The main things I want to hit on while reviewing this movie are to help you decide 1. How appropriate or inappropriate it might be for your kids. And 2. If it’s worth the premium price tag of $30, or better to wait three months for it to be free with your Disney+ subscription. I will leave out any spoilers of this review, as well as most of my kids’ opinions. If you want to read their Mulan kids review (with some spoilers) check out this post.
Overall Live Action Mulan Review
The refreshed storyline was moving in a way we haven’t seen in many of the other remakes. They took the story of Mulan and gave us a backstory and so much more heart. We got new villains and really had a chance to understand Mulan and the reason for her decisions. As my daughter said in her review, we get a chance to see more of her motive and watch her grow on her own, without as much help.
There were more to the villains, more to Mulan’s family, just so much MORE to the story that I really enjoyed getting to know. I guess when you take out music and comedic sidekicks there’s time for more character development.
Some of the cinematography was a little distorted in a way that was distracting to me, but the action scenes and setting are absolutely beautiful. And with lines like “The girl became a soldier. The soldier became a leader. The leader became a legend.” It won me over as a fan.
Bottom line the message of what you’d do for family, interwoven with personal talents and girl power had me tearing up more than once as I watched with my kids.
For A Live Action Remake
To be honest, of all of the live action remakes Disney has done, this one is probably near the top of my list. If not my favorite. The creators took the story we know and love and remade it into a mature story that strongly speaks to embracing who you’re meant to be. Obviously that message hit home with me, and I love that my kids seemed to pick up on that too.
When I first hear there wasn’t going to be any singing, no Mushu and no Li Shang *gasp*. I wasn’t sure how in the world I’d enjoy it. But I’ve realized what I love most about the remakes are when they take the story and help it evolve, not just have a new live action cast recite the original. That’s why I loved Aladdin and am not crazy about Beauty and the Beast. And why I was SO disappointed with The Lion King.
Don’t waste my time showing me a movie I’ve already seen.
Mulan is not the movie you’ve already seen. And I think adults will really enjoy it.
There were a handful of nods to the original including a cameo with the actress who voiced the original Mulan. The instrumental version of Reflection in the background will give you chills.
Is The Live Action Mulan Appropriate for Kids?
The live action remake of Mulan is rated PG-13, and right away from the previews you can tell
It’s much darker and more intense than the animated version. My kids didn’t think it was boring, but it definitely didn’t have the sense of being intentionally made as a family film. An older family with teens/tweens perhaps. But there wasn’t enough humor or lightheartedness for my kids.
It’s not that it was scary per sey, though the violence is what turned Jayda off to the movie. Which surprised me since we watched all of the Marvel movies together. It seems as though having the frame of reference to the first Mulan threw them off a little bit with what they expected from this movie. While it held their attention the whole time, when it ended they were pretty “meh” about it, and don’t really have a desire to sit through it again anytime soon. You can read their full review here.
Be prepared to potentially have conversations about vengeance and people being taken advantage of. As well as conversations about arranged marriages and gender roles.
Leaving my kids’ opinions out of the equation it might be my favorite remake so far. But my kids’ thoughts on a movie do influence mine because I love the movies we tend to watch together over and over again.
Is it worth the $30?
In my opinion it is. If you share a Disney+ account, or want a date night movie, this is worth adding to your list. Make some homemade pizza or popcorn and it’s a cheap date at home. Or even a family movie night if you think your kids might enjoy it. That $30 price tag is not just a weekend rental. It stays on your account so long as you have an active subscription. As a die-hard Disney movie fan, the rental is a no brainer for me. But for others I can see how the choice is tricky.
If you decide to hold off there are plenty of other movies to watch while you wait. Check out my free Disney movie Brackets and Marvel Movie Checklists for a fun way to make your way through. You could even watch all of the live action movies and their animated counterparts in a countdown to the December 4th Disney+ release of Mulan free with your subscription.
What do you think? Will you pay the premium? Or wait for it to be free with your subscription?