Mulan is almost here.
After being delayed multiple times due to COVID-19, the action drama finally lands on Disney+ for an additional $29.99 fee on Sept. 4, and the review embargo for the film just broke.
Most critics agree that Mulan — which tells the story of a young woman who disguises herself as a man and enters the Chinese army in her father’s place — is one of Disney’s better live-action adaptions. It has grand battle sequences, intricate costumes, and a story that sets it apart from its source material. However, others are quick to point out that the film’s titular heroine isn’t very layered and that the movie could use more heart.
You can read Mashable’s review of the movie right here, and here is what other critics have to say about the long-awaited Disney remake.
Mulan borrows elements from the original animation instead of copying it exactly
Mashable, Angie Han
The 2020 Mulan is not one of those Disney live-action remakes that settles for a painstaking beat-by-beat recreation of the original. Director Niki Caro and her team reimagine the narrative from the ground up, in a wholly different style and genre, with new characters and subplots and themes, and without some of the most beloved elements of its predecessor (namely, Mushu and the songs). You can’t say it’s not trying to do something new.
Collider, Matt Goldberg
Although Caro largely follows the same beats of the original, the new version feels vibrant and unique. It knows where to discard elements of the animated feature, strike out on its own themes, and still retain the story’s power.
Insider, Kirsten Acuna
If you’re worried about this just being another shot-for-shot remake of a Disney classic, that’s not what you’re getting here. While the film pays homage to the original, it stands on its own and feels more like a superhero movie about a young woman embracing her power than a film about a Disney princess.
It’s a breathtaking film better fit for theaters
Mashable, Angie Han
The colors pop, the landscapes stun, the detailing on the costumes and props are so exquisite I’d probably buy an entire collection of Mulan-inspired housewares from Urban Outfitters […] It feels like a film designed for the grandeur of a proper cinema, and having first seen it at the Dolby Theatre back in March, I can confirm it works better when it’s bigger.
NPR, Justin Chang
Mulan, while far from a great movie, was clearly made for the big screen. The director Niki Caro doesn’t skimp on spectacle: She handles the large-scale action sequences with flair, and she fills the frame with beautiful costumes and majestic landscapes — many of them from New Zealand, which stands in nicely for China.
The lead heroine is difficult to relate to
Mashable, Angie Han
Liu’s Mulan is as loyal and brave and true a Disney hero as one could possibly hope for, but that’s all she is; the joy and yearning and playfulness of her predecessor are sorely missed. This is a Mulan to admire as a role model, not one to recognize and relate to as a flawed fellow human, or simply enjoy as someone entertaining and interesting to be around
The Hollywood Reporter, Inkoo Kang
Liu has enough charisma for a lead performance, but the script gives her no depth and no meaningful relationships to work with. The slo-mo, horse-riding scene in which Mulan realizes she can embrace both her power and her femininity — with her long, professionally curled tresses flying behind her — would be that much more moving if we ever got a sense that there was a personality under all that hair. This Mulan is unadulterated virtue — the kind of hero no one can see themselves in.
Variety, Peter Debruge
With multiple authors but no clear voice, the clumsy “Mulan” script often puts plot above character, depriving Mulan of a robust personality. Defined by her determination, Mulan mostly keeps to herself, which deprives her of meaningful human relationships during the mid-section of the movie.
Mulan hits Disney+ Sept. 4.