Mulan is the latest in a growing line of Disney live-action remakes. Based on the 1998 animated feature film of the same name, as well as The Ballad of Mulan, a young woman (Yifei Liu) disguises herself as a man to take her ailing father’s place in the Imperial Army, to protect the country from Northern invaders. Along the way, she comes to terms with realizing her full potential and to not hold back on who she is.
Jason Scott Lee has been part of Hollywood for a long time breaking many barriers than Asian Americans had sought for so long. In 1993, Lee played the iconic role of Bruce Lee in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, one of the only Bruce Lee biopics approved by the Lee Family. The following year, he went on to star in the first live-action Disney film, The Jungle Book, as Mowgli, marking the first time an Asian American took on a lead role in a Disney film.
Noted for playing the good guy in his films like The Jungle Book and Lilo & Stitch, Lee was ready to take on a different role — Disney villain. In the new Disney live-action film Mulan, Lee plays Bori Khan aka “Shan Yu” of the Rouran tribes. As the main antagonist to Yifei Liu’s Mulan, Bori Khan is determined to overpower the Emperor (Jet Li) and the people of China.
Over a year ago, in October 2018, I was fortunate the attend the set visit to the live-action version of Disney’s Mulan. Many fans, including myself, have waited over 22 years for the animated version to come to life. It was really surreal to see it play out in person on the set in New Zealand.
When plans of the live-action film were announced in 2015, fans immediately were excited with the idea of seeing their favorite characters come to life — from the Hua family guardian, Mushu, to Mulan’s good luck charm, Cri-Kee, and the bisexual icon, Li Shang.
Originally posted on Melancholyball.
The “Disney Princess” mythos is a genre as restrictive as it is globally-superpowered, but in terms of the Official Princess Movie with the most patriarchy-subverting politics, I think it’s no contest: Mulan is by far the most progressive-minded cel-animated Disney Princess film, while also performing its essential sedative-hypnotic function on your child’s developing emotional vocabulary. (Pocahontas has an argument too, but for my taste, the underlying colonization-conquest story is so far outside of Classic Disney’s natural lane, you kinda wonder what they’re even trying to say, and also the songs in Pocahontas are not my jam.)