Mulan: be true to yourself

What sticks out to me after watching 2020 film


Sally Parampottil

Mulan (2020). a remake of the 1998 animated film, premiered on Disney+ on Sept. 4. The Sidekick staff writer Yasemin Ragland enjoyed the film because of its feminist message, despite some criticism towards its historical accuracy. Graphic by Sally Parampottil

Yasemin Ragland, Staff writer

Warning: Spoilers for Mulan (2020).

While Mulan (2020) had some differences compared to the 1998 Disney animation (for example in this version, she has a younger sister; in the original poem, she has a little brother who is not old enough to go to war), it did have a good lesson. Two major moments stick out to me.

The first time Mulan encounters the sorceress Xianniang, who is only called Witch/The Witch/a witch the entire film, is empowering to girls because when Mulan stands back up after their fight, an instrumental of the song “Reflection” plays as she rides back into battle on her horse, taking her male disguise off in the process. She reveals to what is left of the imperial army that she was a woman the whole time.

Xianniang gives off Maleficent vibes through the entire movie and even attempts to persuade Mulan to join her side because she tells her they are not so different, which Mulan declines. She changes sides when Mulan finally agrees that they’re the same, but she (Xianniang) can still take the path of light. Xianniang takes an arrow meant for Mulan after Bori Khan (the main antagonist) finds out that she led Mulan to him.

Some have criticized the movie for being historically inaccurate and a letdown compared to Disney’s original animation. One way it’s important is because of ethnic representation, which I agree could have been handled better. Mulan is the first and only Disney reboot to be rated PG-13, due to it being a war movie and having a lot of violence involved. Also, most of the original fans are now teenagers and adults.

In short, I like Mulan because it has a lot of feminism (not only is Mulan honored by all of China, but the Emperor gives her a new sword and requests she joins the Imperial Guard, which would make her the first female member of the Emperor’s Guard), and I’ve been seeing a lot of feminism in 2019 and 2020 movies and TV show seasons I’ve seen. 

The end of the movie sets up a possible sequel, with Mulan making the decision to join the Emperor’s Guard, said sequel is reportedly already in the works. 

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