The trailer shows us a darker, grittier envisioning of the world of Mulan, where we get the clash between the domestic and military space. Mulan’s gender binds her to the domestic space, where she is to be a dutiful daughter and marry a man of her parents’ choosing. However, as it was in the animated version, she ultimately finds herself in a space of war and blood.
Liu Yifei is breathtaking in this trailer, completely believable as a warrior, a combination of grace and a certain ferocious intensity. This live action remake will be very different from the ones we have seen. Musical numbers are not going to be a prevalent feature in this one. Director Niki Caro, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, did mention that music will play a role, but looking at the trailer, it will perhaps be more a soundscape entity than the characters bursting into song.
Characters like Mushu and Li Shang have also been removed. Mushu might still appear in a different form, but it would be best if you accepted there will be no talking dragons in this movie. Mulan still has a love interest, just under a different name. New Zealand actor Yoson An will play Chen Honghui, an ambitious recruit who joins Commander Tung’s unit. Tung is another new character added, to be a mentor to Mulan, who will be played by Donnie Yen.
With so many changes, this live action remake does seem like a different beast from the rest, which is strategic of Disney. The downside to this strategy is that it also doesn’t feel like Mulan. Still, perhaps it is a risk worth taking.