Mulan (2020) Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

Disney has given us another live action film from their vault and it is completely different, than what anyone had in mind. To some, the change of pace can be seen as refreshing, honest to the cultural story and beautifully shot. On the other hand, it can also be seen as a very bland, uninteresting, heartless reconstructed version of the Mulan we know and love.

The film lacks any emotional connection to Mulan (Yifei Liu) because her performance was so wooden and lifeless. The fact that her journey as a woman is completely stripped in this film, is what turned me off. The whole point of her story, is to see her grow into the woman she wants to become, not the ideal, that everyone in her village wants for her. I feel like that entire journey was lost because the story focused on the army, instead of her.

The cinematography is probably the best part of the entire film because there were some beautiful shots, but everything else was lacking. The first act felt rushed and yet the story also dragged on. There were quick cuts during action sequences, which made it difficult to understand what was happening. The VFX that was used looked like it was unfinished and at some points, it seemed like the green screen was visible.

It was really hard to get into a film that didn’t have any substance, it just felt weaker than the other live action films and I really wish I enjoyed it. I loved that there is representation on screen. It was great to see Asian culture depicted properly, and on such a grand scale, but I just couldn’t get into the film at all. I just wish there was better dialogue and a stronger story.

Mulan is a bland restructured version of the animated film we all know and love. The heart of Mulan is stripped away in this film and the acting is unconvincing. The tight combat scenes are executed well but the poor editing, creates plenty of issues for the film as a whole. It is always hard not to compare it to the animated film because so many of us grew up only knowing that version.

These live action films are very tricky to adapt because of our connection to the material. Animation is a beautiful medium on its own, so naturally people will be overly critical of a live action adaptation. In this case, Mulan is a completely different version because its focus is on what she can do for her country, instead of discovering who she is inside.

Aladdin (2019) Review

This wasn’t as bad as people set it up to be.

Here’s the thing…. everyone goes into these live action films wanting them to be as magical as the original animated version and none of them will ever live up to that standard. People failed to understand that there was also a Broadway version that was adapted and that’s where Guy Ritchie got most of the direction from because IT IS a musical.

I went into this with low expectations. Then I saw Will Smith at the beginning of this film and all the expectations floated away. The reason is because I forgot that I was watching Aladdin in that exact moment. Will Smith brought his own version of the genie and having him set up the story was a very smart choice.

Mena Massoud as the street rat with a heart of gold, Aladdin, and Will Smith as the larger-than-life Genie in Disney’s ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

The only issue I had with this film was that it dragged on at times but overall it was a pretty good live action. I didn’t expect it to be that good because of the reception it got. The cast was pretty strong and they all had great chemistry, especially Will Smith and Mena Massoud!

I enjoyed the fact that they added a song for Naomi Scott to sing as Jasmine AND that they changed the story a bit for her in order to modernize the tale.

Courtesy of PopSugar

Aladdin is by far one of the more fun live action Disney films to come out in the past couple of years. I really enjoyed Guy Ritchie’s direction and Will Smith completely stole the show. I’m actually happy that this generation of children can grow up knowing that Will Smith is their genie because he was that incredible!