Chinese social media reacts to Disney’s Mulan trailer

By Tao Mingyang Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/8 16:33:39

The promotional material of Mulan Photo: Twitter account of @DisneyMulan

 Disney released the first official trailer for its live-action Mulan during the halftime of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer final on Sunday.

Almost at the same time, Disney China also posted the trailer with Chinese subtitles on social media platform Sina Weibo.

Disney's first Asian princess quickly entered the trending lists on social media in China.

90s classic

Adapted from an ancient Chinese story, the original Disney animated movie Mulan was first shown in 1998. It tells the story of a young woman who pretends to be a man in order to fulfill her father's military service and protect the country.

Two decades later, a live-action version is in the works, directed by New Zealand director Niki Caro and starring Liu Yifei, Gong Li, Donnie Yen and Jet Li.

While the beautiful songs and the little dragon Mushu was a huge part of the original film, according to a report from USA Today, there will be no singing or tiny red dragons in the new Mulan. The news left some fans a bit upset.

"Mulan's journey must be accompanied by Mushu, her lucky cricket and her battle horse!" said netizen EliTe on Sina Weibo.

Another important character in new Mulan trailer is the matchmaker, played by Chinese-American actress Pei-Pei Cheng.

Cheng's is famous for her performance in many kungfu films, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for this reason many Chinese netizens theorize her role in the new film is not to teach Mulan how to be a good wife but how to kick butt.

This is not the first time the story of Mulan has been adapted to a live-action film.

A Chinese-made film starring actress Zhao Wei debuted in 2009, but only got a 6.2/10 on Chinese media review site Douban. Additionally, period dramas about China's ancient past are fairly common in the Chinese market.

Despite this, the overall reception of the trailer on Chinese social media has been relatively positive.

Some netizens, however, have pointed out what seem to be some historical inaccuracies in the trailer.

Such as the appearance of fujian tulou, a traditional building in East China's Fujian Province, seem to be the residence of Mulan and her family, which may mean that Mulan is from Fujian Province. However, according to the original story Mulan lived in Northern China.

Additionally, the original ballad was written sometime during the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589), while the traditional buildings in the trailer first appeared during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

"The mistakes are quite obvious for Chinese audiences," joked netizen Zhuiju Xiaomaolv M on Sina Weibo. "Maybe Disney wants the Chinese princess to have a castle."

The right choice

In recent years, Hollywood has been accused of whitewashing characters in films. For instance, in the live action adaptation of Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell, the main roles played by Scarlett Johansson was originally Japanese.

According a report from the BBC, before Disney announced who would be playing Mulan, an online petition calling for an Asian actress to play Mulan gained more than 100,000 signatures before it was closed on November 30, 2017.

After that, Disney set off a global audition for Mulan, eventually settling on Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei, which netizens saw as a victory.

After the trailer was released, netizens praised Liu's performance, saying the actress is the "perfect one" to play the role Mulan.

Kungfu star Jet Li and Donnie Yen will play Emperor Taizong and Commander Tung in the film, while Chinese actress Gong Li will play an evil witch.


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