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MULAN 2020

What to know: Loyal, brave, true, honorable and devoted all describe aspects of Disney's remake of the animated movie, Mulan.
Recommended age 10-18
115 minutes
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Loyal, brave, true, honorable, and devoted, all describe aspects of Disney's new remake of the animated movie, Mulan (1998). Niki Caro, the director of this year's live-action version, took on the huge challenge of giving new life to the legendary tale of China's fearless girl warrior after 22 years. This action-packed, family film will keep viewers in suspense while tugging at their hearts along the way. Mulan offers us much to appreciate ...culture, a love for family, honesty, peace and so much more. We couldn't have asked for a better release date for Mulan, as its many messages are powerful and uplifting which are needed during these unsettling times in many communities.

The film follows a fearless young woman named Hua Mulan who is the daughter of Zhou, a warrior veteran. Mulan is not like other traditional women of her age. She is a uniquely gifted woman driven by the power of the chi, destined not to conform and marry the match of her parent's choice; rather she prefers to use her skills to fight as a warrior and to defend her country, town and family. Her father, who is traditional in his beliefs, warns Mulan to hide her gifts. Upon learning of a possible empire takeover by Bori Khan and his power hungry rebel group, one male from every household is ordered to enlist in the Imperial Army to defend their land. Mulan's father, the dad of two daughters, is not in good physical condition to take on this feat yet steps up to the challenge. Knowing that her father is in no shape to battle the enemy, Mulan sacrifices everything and faces death to disguise herself as the man of the household and train with the Imperial Army.

Yifei Liu, who plays Mulan, possesses great star power. She is fierce yet sensitive and shows viewers a wide variety of her emotions throughout the film. A huge shout out to the cinematography, art, set, costume, and make up crews for bringing such light, excitement, and brilliance to the legendary Chinese Empire. Every scene is colorful, bright, and full of life. China and New Zealand are perfect landscapes for the film sets and are perfect for captivating the viewers. And despite the adventure and suspense, the film entertains us with several scenes containing humor.

Mulan is a film with many messages of loyalty, bravery, honor, devotion to family, and more. The strongest message is about empowerment. Mulan, born into a culture where there is a clear division between the roles for men and women, chooses not to conform to tradition and claims her rights to be who she wants to be. Mulan is faced with many heartfelt decisions that, above all, could cause her death, yet she stays true to herself.

I give Mulan 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to ages 8 to 18. Mulan is the perfect family film and adults will love it as much as kids. Mulan will begin streaming on September 4th 2020 on Disney+. This is a film that you do not want to miss!

Reviewed by Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love the new action-packed Mulan movie! The costumes and scenery in this live-action version of the animated film are stunning. Fans of Mushu will notice the new Mulan has no Mushu! However, this Mulan is a PG-13 movie with a lot of intense action, and I don't think that a talking dragon would fit in an action movie (sorry, Mushu!)

Mulan is about a girl (Lui Yifei) growing up in the male-dominated culture of the Imperial era of China. Women are supposed to be quiet, composed, graceful, elegant, poised and polite. But Mulan is different. She possesses a strong chi, something thought that only men could possess. When China is attacked by Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee), one man from each family is required to serve in the Imperial Army to defend China. Mulan has one sister and no brothers, forcing her father to fight. He is already a war hero and was injured while serving and cannot fight, so she has no choice but to disguise herself as a man and take his place.

First and foremost, the cinematography is unbelievable! There are so many unique camera angles, and the colors are strong and vivid. Kudos to cinematographer Mandy Walker! Along with impressive special effects, the costumes and scenery are beautiful. There are several differences between the new Mulan and the original. I enjoyed the newer one as it is a lot more about girl power, and has an all-Asian cast. My favorite performance was from Liu Yifei-- her fighting skills are very realistic (because she practiced so much) and she has a calm fierceness that is so heroic! The new live-action version also has many subtle tributes to the iconic songs in the original animated version. Also, while this film is not a musical, for those of you who loved the original songs, be sure to get the soundtrack, sung by Christina Aguilera.

Along with the warriors' credo to always be loyal, brave, and true, Mulan emphasizes the importance of family and demonstrates girl power. This movie has some scary elements and has several violent fight scenes.

I give Mulan 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will enjoy it, too. Mulan is currently available on Disney+. (It will be free to Disney+ subscribers on December 4th, 2020.)

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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To save her ailing father from serving in the Imperial Army, a fearless young woman disguises herself as a man to battle northern invaders in China. Mulan 2020 is a live-action adaptation of Disney's 1998 animated film of the same name, based on the Chinese folklore "The Ballad of Mulan." Directed by Niki Caro. With Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Li Gong, Jet Li.
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