Through "Mulan", the dilemma of watching Disney's remakes

Trevor 2022-04-20 09:01:41

It has been nearly two weeks since the live-action version of "Mulan" was launched on Disney+, and it has been almost a week since it was launched in domestic theaters. It is time to calm down and re-examine the film.

"Mulan" has not been recognized by mainstream audiences at home and abroad . Only the results given by the North American critics are not satisfactory. It can be said that Disney's live-action remake of the animated film has suffered a lot.

Compared with foreign audiences, domestic audiences are very angry with this film, and almost no one can give enough positive comments, such as those who talk about distorted history, those who talk about setting flaws, and those who talk about logic disorder, and so on.

I also think this "Mulan" is not very good, but the reason is not that it is "not Chinese, too Western", on the contrary, the real problem of this film is that it is based on the 98 version of the animated film, but it wants to make a film. A "Chinese Story" to come.

Below I will compare the 1998 animated film, point out the shortcomings of the live-action "Mulan", and then talk about the embarrassing situation Disney is in with "live-action remakes" and even all screenplay adaptations.

So far, there have been dozens of film and television animation works on the theme of "Mulan". For people of my age, the most impressive ones are the 1999 version of "Mulan" starring Anita Yuan and Zhao Wenzhuo, and director Ma Chucheng. , Zhao Wei and Chen Kun starring in the 2009 version of "Mulan" movie.

Although the former has made a very exaggerated "new compilation" of Mulan's story, its core is still Chinese; the latter is more in line with the impression and aesthetics of Chinese people in all aspects, but the quality is too mediocre.

"Mulan joins the army for her father" is a half-truth and half-false ancient folk story. Therefore, "magic reform" has never been a problem. The biggest problem of the 2020 version of "Mulan" is that it has not found the right position and is unwilling to give up . The solid foundation of the original animation, but also wanted to capture the epic sense and realism of costume war movies, and even wanted to add traditional mythological elements and contemporary feminist ideas.

Unless Disney can come to China to do serious research and research, and rewrite the script drastically, as long as the live-action version is still based on the animated version, then this "Mulan" is doomed to miss the "real", no matter how much optimization it does is useless. (Not to mention not done yet).

Because Disney's "Mulan" is essentially a fairy tale that emphasizes emotion and ignores logic, and many objective defects have become advantages under its discourse system. Take the 98 version of animation as an example, its types include plot, Family, adventure, comedy, where a live-action movie would seem wrong or awkward, it's easy to get natural there.

In addition to everyone's natural tolerance for cartoons, the animation version is also diluting the audience's thinking through a large number of designs and plots, making people feel that this is just an overhead fairy tale world.

For example, Mulan concealed the truth about her daughter's body for a long time in the military camp. This is very interesting and can show the relationship between the characters. The animation can rely on exaggerated and joking plots to imply that you and I "don't think too much about common sense", and the audience also Often laughs off-

For example, in the scene where Mulan goes into the water to take a bath, in the animation, she had a chance encounter with three comrades-in-arms. The other party insisted on repairing the relationship after seeing her. around.

On the other hand, in the live-action version, Mulan hides from Chen Honghui, and looks like a thousand miles away to prevent her from revealing her secrets. From the atmosphere to the lines, it is the taste of the drama. Although it is logically reasonable, it can be so blunt and lack of lubrication, it will appear It's embarrassing, far less smooth and natural than the animation.

There are also all the depictions of war scenes and details. The live-action version always tries to remind you that "this is a real battlefield", but at the same time uses various operations that are taken for granted (for example, General Dong makes a team of cavalry rush at random). Let’s take Mulan’s own efforts to cause an avalanche to turn the tide. In fact, no matter how you explain this paragraph, it can’t change the essence of “too mysterious”. In the live-action version, Mulan invites Rouran to do it herself, and it’s not as good as animation. In the version, Mulan used Mushulong to set fire and launch a rocket in front of Shanyu.

Including after the avalanche, the three living treasures changed from charging forward to turning their heads to escape, and they did not forget to laugh when the battle situation changed... Everything reminds the audience: this is not a real war, don't take it too seriously.

As for other superficial issues such as "loyalty, bravery, truthfulness, and filial piety", I will not repeat them here, as others have already explained them in detail.

So, is there any progress in the spiritual core and emotional expression of the live-action version of "Mulan" that has abandoned the funny and virtual? Too bad it didn't, and most notably, it! Home! Of course! Do not! Sing! Song! ! In entertainment-oriented films produced by Disney, singing and dancing are important means of assisting narrative and conveying emotions, because it is difficult to achieve perfection with simple character lines and camera language alone.

When Mulan dressed up before going on a blind date, we heard a familiar melody - it originated from the animated version of "Honor to Us All" . In that MV's smooth camera transitions and interlacing, the family's expectations and Mulan's The apprehension is vividly displayed. The key is that this song also has a strong element of feudal etiquette. I remember that there is a sentence in the Chinese lyrics "Ancestor, bless me, don't let me make mistakes~" In "you'll bring honor Under the repeated chants of "to us all", there is a trace of sadness hidden under the surface of joy .

Although the live-action version has been meticulous in details, it still lacks emotional expression.

There is also "I'll Make a Man Out of You" (that is, "The Man" sung by Jackie Chan) about the training life in the military camp .

This paragraph tells the hard time when the recruits gradually train from rookies to qualified soldiers. It also adds the plot of Mulan being almost persuaded by General Li. In the short three-minute MV, "starting, transferring and inheriting" are all available, and Mulan uses cleverness The bridge section of climbing high to take arrows under load is the inflection point in the whole plot, which makes it interesting to watch.

And the same plot in the live-action version is much duller. It's not so much that Mulan's body and mind have grown, it's better to say that she is constantly lifting the seal...

Another very functional song is "A Girl Worth Fighting For" .

This song appeared on the way of the legion to the battlefield. In order to amuse and relieve the boredom, the recruits each sang their ideal female partner image. It not only showed their full vitality and optimism, but also through the different views of mate choice. It highlights the value orientation of Mulan's independence .

Regrettably, in the live-action version, this plot was randomly discarded when the recruits were chatting, but the similar effect was greatly reduced.

Not to mention the most popular theme song in the original version, "Reflection" (ie "Myself" by Coco Lee).

somehow i cannot hide

who i am though i've tried

when will my reflection show who i am inside

This song is the title of the whole movie, expressing Mulan's contradictions and entanglements about her self-identity, and her desire to be reborn from the cocoon ... But this entire section is gone in the live-action movie, and the audience is less likely to get it. Poor empathy is even less left.

In my opinion, the live-action version of "Mulan" should give up the "photographic appeal" that is neither foreign nor foreign, but completely reproduce the content of the animated version. Although the evaluation of this treatment will not be too high, at least it can Get more popular audiences.

But then again, the 2020 version of "Mulan" is really not the worst Disney movie. Whether it is the "Princess Series" or the "Live Action Remake" series, "Mulan" can be ranked in the middle. There are other films that are faulty, and it's an attempt to change in many ways.

The question also appears here: Are reforms and innovations really what Disney needs?

Let's take a look at Disney's live-action remakes of animated films over the years, the earliest being "Alice in Wonderland" in 2010 and "Maleficent" in 2014.

The former set a precedent for this type of work, and with Tim Burton's drastic changes, many people had a refreshing experience; the latter originated from the story of Sleeping Beauty, but replaced the protagonist with the villain Maleficent. , has become a controversial "dark fairy tale".

These two films have great adaptations of the original animation, but they can be regarded as both fame and fortune... Interestingly, the sequels launched by the two in 2016 and 2019 were also not satisfactory.

Then came Cinderella in 2015, The Jungle Book in 2016, and Beauty and the Beast in 2017.

Starting from the well-established "Cinderella", Disney's adaptation has become conservative . Compared with the old animation, "Fantasy Forest" is mainly upgraded in terms of environment and atmosphere, and has not tried the core of the new story. As for 2017 The global box office champion "Beauty and the Beast" fully proves that the strategy of "copying the original" can still make a profit without losing money, and it is safe and secure.

The 2018 "Christopher Robin" was not released in China, and the response was mediocre, so I will skip it here.

Then came the three movies that broke out last year: "Dumbo", "Aladdin" and "The Lion King".

At this moment, Disney has almost given up its ambition to adapt the original animation script, not seeking merit, but no fault.

Tim Burton, who also filmed "Alice in Wonderland" before, had lost his personal style when he directed "Dumbo". The animation has been copied hundreds of times, and "The Lion King" has been re-enacted in every detail - as a result, the latter two films have made a lot of money, and the box office has exceeded 1 billion US dollars and 1.6 billion US dollars respectively, compared to Next, do those voices who accuse Disney's live-action remake of an animated film of "uninnovative, garbage fast food" still matter?

Personally, I think the most suitable comparison object for this year's "Mulan" is "Aladdin": it is also an Asian exotic story that has been changed beyond recognition, it is also a fantasy world in which ghosts and elves are rampant, and it also tells the story of simplicity and simplicity. Even the number of golden songs left behind is very similar... As a result, the situations of the two are quite different.

Guy Ritchie erased his personal brand, followed the steps to get good results with "Aladdin" easily, and "Mulan" did a lot of useless work, and finally got a thankless result - relying on unconventional and unconventional breakthroughs The era of cracking earth is over, and now, "old wine in new bottles" is the only way to succeed in Disney's live-action remakes of animated films.

It is not impossible to win a position with "new ideas", but it is necessary to make great efforts to rectify it. With Disney's policy of making money globally, it is impossible to give up its basic plan to take care of a single market demand. The reason why the version of "Mulan" is an honest remake of the animation.

The purpose of Disney movies is "happy, comfortable and family-friendly", and there are not many choices left for them. Their movies are the most standard industrial assembly line products, and their core competitiveness is the established internal standards and algorithms. Director, screenwriter, The influence of the main creators such as actors is not as big as imagined... Therefore, "Mulan" may become a watershed, and Disney movies may become more conservative in the future.

In 2019, Disney reached an unprecedented (perhaps unparalleled) historical record, with a total global box office of $13.2 billion, excluding the newly acquired Fox, Disney headquarters and its subordinate Marvel Studios, Pixar, Lucasfilm. Everyone can fight...

But look at The Lion King, Aladdin, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and even Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4. These movies have been selling well but have suffered more and more Doubt and resentment as they are becoming increasingly similar and lacking in surprises .

A failed "Mulan" may not change anything, but for Disney, whose road is getting narrower and narrower, this is a haze of prosperity and decline buried in the bright.

[You are also welcome to pay attention to my official account "You Love Comment Area". 】

View more about Mulan reviews

Extended Reading
  • Leo 2021-11-23 08:01:14

    I think the best outcome is that Hua Mulan agreed when Gong Li invited her to join her. The two women killed the Quartet and used the Khan to destroy the empire and then the Khan to create the matriarchal clan [Victory] (very rebellious, not at all) Infidelity and filial piety, I like this kind of rebellion against authority)

  • Elmer 2022-04-24 07:01:06

    The lines are too simple, the speed of speech is too slow, and it is very contemporary! However, the witch played by Gong Li died too hastily, which can also be understood as unwilling to live like that. Overall it's not bad, Liu Yifei did a good job, Zheng Peipei is very talented in comedy, but what's the matter with Mulan's sister older than Mulan.

Mulan quotes

  • Mulan: [from TV spot] My father cannot fight, so I will take his place.

  • Xian Lang: [to Mulan; from trailer] You will die pretending to be something you are not.

    Mulan: Yet here I stand, proof that there is a place for people like us!