Disney's live-action Mulan remake has early screening attendees feeling the warrior spirit.
Following the Niki Caro-directed film's Los Angeles premiere Monday night, audiences (including recording artist Hayley Kiyoko) have called Mulan "easily Disney's best live-action reboot" to date.
I’ve seen MULAN twice now and I must say it is grrrreat. Easily Disney’s best live action reboot. I think it’s also Disney’s first battle epic? It is beautiful & absorbing & rich & empowering. The cast is excellent and Niki Caro’s direction is just breathtaking.— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) March 10, 2020
Caro's take on the classic Chinese legend stars Liu Yifei in the title role, a young woman who disguises herself as a male warrior to join the Imperial Chinese Army in place of her ailing father. Initial reactions confirm the film has nixed the whimsy of the 1998 animated version's musical numbers, though, according to Mashable's Angie J. Han, the updated story "finds new notes" while "delivering gorgeous action, heart, and humor" before singling out Yifei's performance as a standout.
#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
Kiyoko also noted the differences between both the animated and live-action interpretations of the traditional Chinese legend, though she feels the 2020 release is "just as good" as its cinematic predecessor: "So empowering and so important for the newer generations to see it," she wrote.
I LOVEEDDDD MULAN!!!!! It’s very different but it’s just as good I promise!!! So empowering and so important for the newer generations to see it 😍😭😭😭😭😭😭— Hayley Kiyoko (@HayleyKiyoko) March 10, 2020
Critic Michael Lee similarly praised the film's timely themes, noting that it pays tribute to Chinese Wuxia epic films of the past and "honors the 1998 film and the ballad by modernizing themes of empowerment and iconic scenes, while also standing out w/great cinematography."
#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— Michael Lee (@IamMichaelJLee) March 10, 2020
While the animated film is often regarded as a subtly queer entry into the modern Hollywood canon, the live-action remake is being praised for the sexual chemistry between its leads, with Alison Foreman calling the magnetism "steamy," as in "chanting 'kiss' in a silent theater steamy."
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
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
In the end, Insider's Kristen Acuna sums up the overall sentiment from the film's premiere, writing that Mulan could be "the first great superhero movie of 2020," as Yifei "soars over rooftops, flies across walls, shoots arrows, and is just a general badass" in a film that "little girls are going to look up to."
Is #Mulan the first great superhero movie of 2020? It sure feels like it. She soars over rooftops, flies across walls, shoots arrows, and is just a general badass. The film serves as a reminder to be true to yourself. Little girls are going to look up to @yifei_cc pic.twitter.com/cVVFMb07UP— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) March 10, 2020
Read more reactions to Mulan — which also features Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jet Li, and an updated version of the iconic soundtrack tune "Reflection" by Christina Aguilera — below, before the film hits theaters on March 27.
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
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
#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
#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
holy hell. just walked out of mulan. what a film. i was absolutely gasping for air when mulan kissed the falcon as it transformed into a voluptuous witch, then looked straight into camera and said, “honor THIS.”— Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard) 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
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
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
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 (@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)