The the first trailer for the upcoming live-action Mulan was released last July, and the initial reaction was overwhelming. Unlike some other Disney remakes, including 2019’s The Lion King, this version was making major changes to the original animated film. It was no longer a musical for one, and fan-favorite Mushu didn’t make the cut. Disney’s newest take on the Chinese legend was clearly going to be more mature and action-packed.
Now, the first reactions are coming in after Mulan‘s world premiere, and some critics say it exceeds the hype instilled by that beautiful first trailer.
#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
Some folks who were lucky enough to be in attendance at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood for the film’s premiere were unequivocal in their praise for the movie. They raved about its action sequences and cinematography, in what sounds like a moving and exciting story that has real heart behind it.
#Mulan is one of the best live-action adaptation of a Disney animated classic. It honors the 1998 film and the ballad by modernizing themes of female empowerment and iconic scenes, while also standing out w/ great cinematography & battle sequences are reminiscent of Wuxia epics. pic.twitter.com/2DUjzX1M1h— 🎃Mike Jayck’O Leetern🎃 (@IamMichaelJLee) March 10, 2020
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.— Peter Sciretta loves Star Wars (@PeterSciretta) March 10, 2020
(I was never a huge fan of the animated film, I think I’ve only seen it once. So no attachments)
#Mulan is about a warrior. And that warrior is a legend. Thank you, from all the female warriors that needed this kick-A movie. It’s different from the animated version, and I’ll be proud to show my daughters this film!— Tania Lamb (@LolaLambchops) March 10, 2020
#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
It also sounds like we might want to have a hanky with us when we see it. Mulan definitely made some viewers cry with its exploration of theme and female empowerment.
I was lucky enough to be able to see #Mulan. And I was shocked by how much I loved it. It delved deeper into classic themes of family & female empowerment than I expected. I cried many times. I felt like my culture was treated with the utmost respect. And the cast was fantastic— Stephanie Sheh (@stephaniesheh) March 10, 2020
The #mulan premiere was amazing! I got to walk the red carpet, cheer on @jfwong & have some much needed girl time w the lovely @maudegarrett 😘— Trisha Hershberger (@thatgrltrish) March 10, 2020
As someone who LOVES the original, I really enjoyed the retelling & I maybe even shed a tear ❤️ Loved it & congrats again JIMMY WONG 🎉 pic.twitter.com/lgoCutyneK
Wow. Just wow. Disney's Mulan is not only visually stunning, it is absolutely magical. I laughed, I cried, and I loved every second of it. I cannot wait to take my girls to see it. Talk about girl power. WOW. #Mulan— Mama's Geeky - Tessa Smith (@MamasGeeky) March 10, 2020
Those who absolutely love the 1998 animated film (raises hand) might be skeptical about the film’s changes and whether this more serious tone will work. However, some said the movie has enough nods to the original for fans to look for and celebrate.
The cast of Mulan is fantastic in the film. There are lots of little moments that nods to the animated that’ll make the fans happy. Very beautiful & epic cinematography. It had more fantastical elements than I expected. Overall, a great re-telling of the animated and very fun 🙌🏼— Wendy Lee Szany (@WendyLeeSzany) March 10, 2020
#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
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
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
Oh, and the romantic chemistry gets STEAMY. Like chanting “kiss” in a silent theater steamy.#Mulan2020 #mulan pic.twitter.com/soILc7OdTm
Speaking of “steamy,” others also said the new Mulan might be a little bit (a lot?) sexier than anyone would ever expect from a Disney film.
Just got out of seeing #Mulan with @thatgrltrish, LOVED this film. Costumes & fighting/stunts were incredible, sexual chemistry eat your heart out, and our buddy @jfwong CRUSHED IT as Ling!! @DisneyAUNZ pic.twitter.com/YTRETySZyF— Maude Garrett (@maudegarrett) March 10, 2020
Also! Surprisingly sexy for a Disney movie. Case in point: the very loud “OH MY GOD” that was uttered in the theater when Yoson An took his shirt off. #Mulan— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) March 10, 2020
Between this and “hot Jafar” we might have to start resetting our expectations for how thirsty Disney live-action remakes can be. And yes, that sentence was as weird to write as it probably was to read.
Unfortunately, praise for the film wasn’t universal. Some thought the movie had issues that prevented it from truly being great. They said that even though some elements worked, there were too many other problems that led to a disjointed story that never found true victory on the cinematic battlefield.
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
Mulan makes bold choices in adapting the ballad over the animation and everything with #Mulan herself is terrific. It’s the rest of it that doesn’t fit. It’s 2 movies in 1 and it needed to decide which direction to take; not take both.— Mansoor Mithaiwala (@MansoorAYM) March 10, 2020
#Mulan is good, polished and absolutely worth seeing. Alas, it's also respectful to a fault. It doesn't truly cut loose until the climax. Jason Scott Lee is great, but everyone else seems afraid to offend. Lacks the gonzo energy of THE GREAT WALL or MALEFICENT MISTRESS OF EVIL. pic.twitter.com/FOEBhwJphO— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) March 10, 2020
Even with some people not being fans, that’s still a pretty terrific batch of first reactions. And it seems to justify the excitement we felt when we saw the first trailer last July, and the final trailer last month.
Even if we are going to miss Mushu.
“Acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro brings the epic tale of China’s legendary warrior to life in Disney’s Mulan, in which a fearless young woman risks everything out of love for her family and her country to become one of the greatest warriors China has ever known. When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man named Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.”
Mulan comes to U.S. theaters later this month, on March 27, 2020.
Featured Image: Disney