We all know the drill by now when it comes to Disney’s live-action remakes. After the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, we go in expecting a very faithful translation of the animated classic. However, the new Mulan has always promised something different. With no Mushu the dragon or Captain Shang or even the original songs, fans have been worried about if Mulan would manage to capture the magic of the 1998 movie. But the first reactions are now in, and they’re nearly all glowing.
Most of the critics who attended an early screening of the film have shared positive thoughts about it on social media, with many praising how different it is from the animated flick. It seems Niki Caro’s direction and star Liu Yifei’s performance as the heroine will be particularly popular.
#Mulan is exciting, vibrant, emotional, and different from the animated version. It's definitely its own thing, which I dug – a more mature Disney film, featuring stunning production design & fight choreography. Director Niki Caro & star Liu Yifei are the big stand-outs, imo pic.twitter.com/p6IEQUDNBu
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) March 10, 2020
#Mulan is the best of the Disney live-action remakes since Cinderella — I didn’t even miss the songs. Finds new notes in a story we already know while delivering gorgeous action, heart, and humor. Liu Yifei is ???
— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) March 10, 2020
Despite the differences, there will still be nods to the original movie, we’ve been assured.
#Mulan is absolutely fantastic. Different enough with great action scenes, but with the heart of the original film. It doesn't even matter that it's not a musical. If you're a fan of the animated, there are subtle nods to many of the songs. Can’t wait to see this again.
— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) March 10, 2020
Disney’s Mulan remake leaves a lot behind, but offers much more in its absence. Plenty of 1998 throwbacks pepper a story full of incredible action, humor, and heart.
— Alison Foreman (@alfaforeman) March 10, 2020
The whole thing’s pretty mind-blowing, apparently.
Wow! @DisneysMulan was everything I hoped it would be and more! They were able to bring new elements to life while maintaining the classic nostalgia we all know & love. Wow. Just incredible! ? Thanks @DolbyCinema for inviting me. #Mulan pic.twitter.com/BwPVV1m1LP
— Katie Wilson (@thekatiewilson) March 10, 2020
Even if you’re someone who isn’t even that fond of the old one, the new Mulan is highly impressive.
I’m very surprised at how much I liked the live action #Mulan movie. It’s so majestic, the action is thrilling, it aims for a level of sophistication and beauty you don’t expect.
(I was never a huge fan of the animated film, I think I’ve only seen it once. So no attachments)
— Peter Sciretta (@PeterSciretta) March 10, 2020
On the other hand, some critics are saying the exact opposite from everyone else: that Mulan actually is still held back by the story structure of the animated film.
There’s a great film yearning to break out in #Mulan, but it’s surprisingly bogged down by adapting the animation. It has its moments, but the poor villains and inconsistent action quality results in a mediocre movie. pic.twitter.com/2iZ3wZYOts
— Mansoor Mithaiwala (@MansoorAYM) March 10, 2020
This is definitely the less-common reaction at this stage, though, as most critics are loving what Mulan has to offer.
I’ve seen MULAN twice now and I must say it is grrrreat. Easily Disney’s best live action reboot. I think it’s also Disney’s first battle epic? It is beautiful & absorbing & rich & empowering. The cast is excellent and Niki Caro’s direction is just breathtaking.
— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) March 10, 2020
At a time when other movie studios are pulling their upcoming releases from the schedules over fears that the Coronavirus outbreak will diminish ticket sales, Disney is pressing ahead with Mulan – everywhere except for China, where it’ll now be arriving in May. It remains to be seen whether this will prove to be the right move, but at least the majority of critics are saying that the film itself is definitely worth watching.