In Disney’s ongoing quest to replace their animated classics with poorly thought out live-action remakes we have the 2020 remake of Mulan, in which tiny dragons are too silly but wire-fu superpowers are perfectly fine…neither of which are in the actual Chinese tale. This was also rigged up to continue to pursue the Chinese movie market that Hollywood has decided is the new status symbol…and they hated it. They also put out a more faithful adaptation, probably in anticipation of this Western makeover. Ghosts Of Tsushima this is not…but I’m just going by Gaijin Goombah’s reviews since I know nothing of Japanese lore nor have I played the game. However, he says that game showed actual research into the period and region the game takes place in, with only a few changes to make the game interesting. The animated Mulan is on my Finally Watched list but this live-action demake (that’s a remake that’s actually worse than the original but can’t necessarily be classified as not-stalgia or mockstalgia) is not. So outside of the obvious what went wrong?
Well, according to Xiran Jay Zhao, who started her own YouTube channel just to make the following video it’s that the creators didn’t even do the homework Ghosts Of Tsushima did, which was also made by Western creators who aren’t even descended from the country the story takes place in. Instead cultural inaccuracies in Mulan are marred by concepts Western audiences may understand but the Chinese audience would have rejected…and apparently so did the Western audiences, not helped by their end credit support for Chinese groups that may be involved in human rights violations. Oopsy! However, I’m also a white person with little to no understanding of Chinese culture and the actual tale of Mulan so let’s let the expert explain what they did wrong and how they could have done it better. Note there is some swearing.
If the ballad of Mulan exists, how hard is it to adapt even without heavy research? Research is not that hard. The lack of it is why stories fail but even inaccurate stories like the Tarzan franchise still managed to at least be good. This sounds like The Asylum doing Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. No, that would at least be unintentionally hilarious.
Meanwhile I’m just waiting for the live-action adaptation of Toy Story.