Mulan: Why the reviews are different in China?

SS: 5.5/10 With the Disney latest live-action film opened last week, totally different reviews came from both the Western world and eastern world.

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The pandemic is still happening in most of the places of the worlds, but which obviously cannot hold back the release of Mulan any longer. The U.S. and other Disney+ covered countries and territories can watch it online with special subscriptions, and released in the cinema in other non-Disney+ place, including China.

As a live-action movie, Mulan is not bad, having 67 on Metascore and 75% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and most of those reviews from the audience in the western world are also quite positive. However, as in the birthplace of this story, China, many audiences seems not happy about this film, claiming this movie has loads of history errors and not as good as the animated version, even the animated version is also heavily criticised in China.

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Yes, if we really into the history errors, Mulan would be a huge disaster. First, Mulan is not from Fujian, the Southeast of China, where is famous for the circle building as you can see in the film. Additionally, no matter in the ancient time or nowadays, if you sign up for the army, you will go to the local camp first and then move to another place with the troop together. Riding the horse crossing the whole China to join the army is quite unbelievable. Then, in the courtyard of the palace, you will never see princess chatting or be seen with other officers, in ancient times, it was a capital crime for concubines to communicate with officials.

The history errors are not the only thing pissed the audiences in China off, and the misused Chinese culture. Chi, for example, is the first concept has been misused in the film. Chi, one of the most important concepts in traditional Chinese philosophy, it’s a little bit like the Force in Star Wars, but not exactly. To explain it would take all day, but simply add Chi to the story without any explanation, but showing it as a kind of superpower which is not, making Mulan into a superhero and ignore her hardworking, “Sci-fi”ed the film. This is not appreciated by the Chinese audience. Besides, the weird makeup and the 4 virtues, especially the fourth one, are also highly criticised by the Chinese audience.

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After all, Mulan is a movie suggested by The Ballads of Mulan, and this is not a serious history movie. Of course, if the team can do more research, making this movie without too many historical errors and correctly used those concepts would be better. But in a western perspective, this live-action is one of the great one in recent years.