As if Disney didn’t already have enough guaranteed cash cows with their original animated films, Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Star Wars, they now have also found another key to surefire success with adaptations of their beloved animated classics into live-action. This started with Alice in Wonderland in 2010, and has continued to great monetary success with Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and now Beauty and the Beast, which is breaking all kinds of box office records as we speak.
Among the upcoming live-action adaptations is a new version of Disney’s 1998 animated hit Mulan, from director Niki Caro. Caro is maybe best known as the director of films like Whale Rider, McFarland, USA, and the upcoming The Zookeeper’s Wife. In an interview with the folks over at Moviefone, Caro described her approach to adapting Mulan into live-action, and said that this time, there would be no songs. “From what I understand, no songs right now, much to the horror of my children” she said. She also described the film as “a big, girly martial arts epic. It will be extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving.”
Disney seems to be taking a different tack with each of their live-action adaptations when it comes to the songs. For Maleficent, they only included a cover of that film’s signature song “Once Upon A Dream” by Lana Del Rey in the closing credits, but no one in the film burst out into song. The same approach was taken with Cinderella. But with The Jungle Book, director Jon Favreau decided it just wouldn’t be the same without the original film’s iconic hits, so he included some of them. Beauty and the Beast and the upcoming Aladdin are incorporating the entire original Alan Menken/Howard Ashman musical scores, which is wise, since those scores are so acclaimed and memorable.
Considering the only really memorable song from Mulan is “I’ll Make A Man Out of You,” it doesn’t seem like such a crime to cut the musical score from the movie. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear a version of that number used in the closing credits, as it was done for Maleficent and Cinderella. Of course, Disney still has time to change their minds about this one–Aladdin was originally not going to include the score, until someone wised up at the decision making level and decided to include them.
If a more gritty and realistic approach is being taken for this particular adaptation, I can’t help but wonder if this also means the removal of Mushu, Mulan’s dragon sidekick/comic relief from the original animated film, who was voiced by Eddie Murphy. Mushu is one of the fan’s favorite aspects of the classic movie, so it will be interesting to see how they incorporate him into a gritty live-action take on the material. Although I imagine this time around, they would get an Asian actor to provide the voice.
Mulan is set to be released on November 2, 2018.
How do you feel about a non-musical Mulan? Does this have you more excited for it, or less? Let us know your thoughts down below in the comments.
Images: Walt Disney Company