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Disney's Mulan — and its changes — stoke netizens

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-16 23:19
Chinese actress Liu Yifei in the offi cial image of Mulan, as released on Monday by Disney. The fi lm Mulan is being produced by Disney under director Niki Caro.

Mulan, a household name in China as the heroine of a classic epic who also gained fame worldwide from a 1998 Disney animated movie, is trending on the internet.

Disney, which announced on Monday that production has begun on the live-action version of the animated classic Mulan, released the first look at Chinese actress Liu Yifei as Mulan.

She was cast last November as the heroic fifth-century Chinese girl who dressed up as a man and joined the army, taking her father's place.

The official sneak peek, featuring Liu in classic red Chinese outfits holding a sword, generated anticipation among Mulan fans all over the world.

"She looks perfect for Mulan! I love the movie and all the live-action remake Disney has made, so I have high hopes with this," Karina, a Scotland gamer and artist, said on Twitter.

Mulan (right) dressed in casual, modern clothes in Disney’s latest animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet. The film, which features all Disney princesses, is set for release on Nov 21. PHOTOS FROM DISNEY’S TWITTER ACCOUNT

However, some of Disney's adaptations met with resistance.

Replacing Li Shang — an original main character and Mulan's army commander who developed a romantic relationship with her — with new character Chen Honghui was one such case.

"He (Li Shang) is literally the other leading character," Sam Rocco replied to a Disney tweet.

Instead of being a general like Li, Chen is portrayed as a confident and ambitious recruit who joins the same troop as Mulan. He also becomes Mulan's ally and love interest as the story unfolds. New Zealand actor Yoson An was cast as Chen.

Other adaptations include potentially changing the movie into a non-musical (the animated version featured many classic songs) and dropping some favorite characters like Mushu, a tiny Chinese dragon who was Mulan's closest companion.

It emerged last April that the film would not keep the original musical scores, but director Niki Caro clarified days later that there would be music in the film, fans were still worried that some signature songs would be missing.

"Can y'all have the music in there though? It's not Mulan without Reflection and I'll Make a Man Out of You," asked Twitter user McTroid.

"Also Liu Yifei is actually a very talented singer, so she could have easily sung a song herself," added user DML897, who also hoped Disney would keep the songs and storyline unchanged, like it did with previous adaptations, citing another recent Disney live remake, Beauty and the Beast, which kept all its original songs.

While many fans are urging Disney to adhere to the classic, some were delighted with the images of Mulan in modern settings released by Disney.

Appearing in a promo for the company's latest animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet, the girl from ancient China was dressed casually in cuffed jeans and jacket. The film, which features all of the Disney princesses, will be released in November.

The new image immediately motivated netizens to create derivative artworks of Mulan in today's world, showing their love for the brave girl who broke gender boundaries.

Runqil, an artist on Twitter, captioned her painting of Mulan, "You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty."

Although many fans are skeptical about Disney's latest adaptation, they say their love for the Chinese girl warrior will still send them to movie theaters.

Twitter user Hannah admitted she "is still going to watch the live action", though she was miffed that Disney changed some of the things she loved about the original movie.

"I grew up loving Disney's animated movie Mulan, and it was a huge part of my childhood," Marissa Renee said on Twitter.

Mulan also features a number of other well-known Chinese actors, including Donnie Yen and Jet Li, both famous martial art artists and action movie stars, and Gong Li, one of the best-known Chinese actresses.

The live-action version of Mulan is being filmed in China and New Zealand and is set for release on March 27, 2020.

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