The trailer for Disney's live-action remake of Mulan dropped during the final of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, and it looks stunning.
It stars Liu Yifei as the girl who poses as a boy in place of her father, a storied but ailing warrior, when the Chinese emperor calls for a fighter from each family to defend the country from attack.
Helmed by New Zealand's Niki Caro, it also stars Rogue One star Donnie Yen as Mulan's Commander Tung and Jet Li as the Emperor of China.
And with its sweeping vistas and slo-mo fight scenes, it has all the hallmarks of something pretty epic. It’s also only the second live action Disney film with a $100m+ budget to be helmed by a female filmmaker, so there’s a lot to celebrate here.
But despite all that, for some, there's something important missing from the original animated movie, released back in 1998. Yes, there’s no sign of Mushu, Mulan’s talking dragon sidekick, voiced by Eddie Murphy.
Question:— Ethan Capps (@EMC4478) July 7, 2019
How can you remake Mulan & not have Mushu or the original classic songs in it?! Mushu was one of the best parts of the original film & Eddie Murphy did a great job voicing him.
Look, I’m a Disney fan, but they’ve been making a lot of stupid decisions lately. #Mulan pic.twitter.com/KGr27G8YAE
Even Clerks director Kevin Smith has got involved, comparing the double act of Mulan and Mushu to Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket.
Dear @DisneyStudios: Your #Mulan movie looks truly dazzling! But you can have my money once you show me the Mushu! Mulan & Mushu are like Pinocchio & Jiminy Cricket, so do Mushu! Also: (SPOILERS!) Please keep the part when Mulan throws her shoe at Shan Yu. Signed, A Demanding Fan https://t.co/qhvfdaEq5f— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) July 7, 2019
OK, it feels more like a sobre, moving version of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, but still, it seems that for some, without an incongruously American cartoon dragon sidekick voiced by Eddie Murphy, it won't measure up.
The movie, it seems, will also not be taking the musical route either, which has upset some Disney fans, but some - quite rightly - are seeing this as something different. And who knows, maybe even better.
i wanna HATE the Mulan remake but the way she twiddles her sword with her hair flowing in the wind? it looks god tier and I'm so upset that bisexual king Shang isn't there or Mushu and Cricket but let's be honest I'll be spending all my money on that masterpiece #Mulan pic.twitter.com/ouHnDxq18I— se vēdros dāria 𖤐 (@gaywitchbiitch) July 7, 2019
In 2017 Caro described the film as “a big, girly martial arts epic” adding that “It will be extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving.”
On the musical front though, it seems like Mulan will follow in the footsteps of Disney’s remakes of Cinderella and Alice In Wonderland, and be more dramatic than song-driven, with Caro saying there are no songs “much to the horror” of her children.
As ever, then, you can't please all the people all of the time... also starring Yoson An, Gong Li and Jason Scott, the movie is set to land on 27 March, 2020. Check out the first poster below.