Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Adaptation Adds Donnie Yen

Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Adaptation Adds Donnie Yen

There’s been a lot of talk about Disney’s live-action Mulan movie but the latest news is that it will be getting action star Donnie Yen as a cast member. He will be playing the part of Commander Tung, who will be a mentor to Mulan. Just what version of the story Disney is going to be playing will be interesting since the real story of Mulan was quite different from that of the animated movie. For instance the men she served with came to find out she was a woman and didn’t care. There was no talk of an execution, only a sudden revelation that they shared before congratulating each other on a battle well won.

Also, there was no mystical quality to the original story of Mulan. There was no Mushu or ancestral guardians. She was already well-versed in martial arts and swordplay and was one of the toughest soldiers to enlist in the army. Her family was rightfully worried for her but was also proud when she joined up with the army under an assumed male name, Hu, to act in her father’s stead. How Disney will play this out is going to be interesting since they tend to want to stick to the magical touch more often than to give the reality of the original story. Of course if they stuck to realism all the time then films like Pocahontas and a few others would be far different and not nearly as family-friendly. Mulan wouldn’t even be all the friendly since in the cartoon people might die, but it’s always off screen and never shown to the audience. The implication is usually enough to let people know that something bad happened.

In the live-action film it seems to stand to reason that Mushu and the lucky cricket will have to go by the wayside, as will the ancestors that look like Force ghosts as they sit in attendance trying to figure out just which route is the best to go. With the idea of Mulan being a strong, independent woman though it would seem that she might not need all of this and could possibly push the story ahead on her own. As for Donnie Yen, it seems almost that his part will be a short and rather truncated one unless Disney gives him a more extended role within the movie. However if they do that then the chances that the movie will have a more historical lean than anything. The magic and mysticism that Disney loves to put into their animated movies would be awkward at best if they attempt to stick to the historical version, but by doing this they would also risk alienating their fan base who have come to love the animated version.

It’s kind of a pickle to work through but Disney managed to do it with Beauty and the Beast, so perhaps there’s a way to do with Mulan as well. It would be nice to see some accuracy in this film however.

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