Disney’s Mulan live-action remake has been getting a lot of attention in China. Many fans are very excited for the movie and have been talking about it a lot on social media. China’s equivalent of Twitter, Weibo, has seen hashtags involving the movie get billions of views as the excitement continues to grow. However, there are more than a few in China who feel the movie is going to be disrespectful to Chinese culture for historical inaccuracies spotted in the recently released trailer.
The original tale of Mulan takes place during the Northern and Southern dynasties period, which is around the 5th century A.D. The titular character is born in the North, but she is shown in a round house called a tulou. This particular structure is actually from the southern coastal part of China in Fujian. Furthermore, the tulou didn’t come along until the Ming Dynasty, around a thousand years later. One person on social media had this to say.
“Disney shouldn’t be so careless and just think that because tulou are beautiful, they can make Mulan live in one. She’s not Fujianese! I guess this Mulan has to take the subway out to join the army?”
Mulan may have some more mix ups when it comes to traditional Chinese culture when the remake arrives in theaters early next year. From another viewpoint, some people in China believe the remake is being tailor-made for Western audiences. One person goes on to claim Disney doesn’t care about the Chinese culture. The social media user explains.
“This film is just trying to ingratiate itself to Western audiences. It’s like they thought, oh, this element is really Chinese, it’s very Oriental, so I’m going to shove it into the film to make everyone feel this is a very ‘Chinese’ film.’ This mess of mixing unrelated Oriental elements is really disrespectful of non-Western cultures and audiences. This is not about (the producers) truly appreciating elements of a culture that is different from Hollywood’s, but using them to create something that (Americans) find comfortable and appealing.”
With that being said, the response to the Mulan remake trailer has been explosive both in North America and China. As of this writing, the trailer has over 21 million views on YouTube since premiering on July 7th and the number keeps growing. Disney fans have been waiting a long time for the remake, which looks like it will be more of a gritty action movie this time around, as opposed to a musical.
Mulan hits theaters on March 27th, 2020 and fans are still waiting to see if Mushu will have a part in the remake or not. His absence was another problem audiences had with the trailer. However, Disney might have some more tricks up their sleeves, though the character might not look like he used to. We’ll just have to wait at this point in time. Variety was the first to report on the Chinese backlash over the Mulan trailer and its historical inaccuracies.