The internet is in a state of chaos after the first trailer for the highly anticipated live-action remake of Mulan was released on Sunday.
Watch the official teaser trailer below (VPN off):
Outside of China? Watch on Youtube here.
The Disney flick, featuring Chinese actress Liu Yifei in the title role and a strong supporting cast of Donnie Yen, Jet Li and Gong Li, has been both praised and lambasted on Twitter and Weibo, one of China’s most prominent social media platforms.
While Mulan is considered to be from North China, Chinese netizens kicked up a fuss after seeing the daughter-turned-warrior and her family situated in a tulou (a multi-story building known for its inward-looking circular or square layout) found only in China’s southern provinces today.
Image via @扒卷小猪/Weibo
One popular blogger on Weibo posted, “Are Americans’ understanding of China this far off...” referencing the stark difference in the geographic location of the setting of the film. Another netizen chimed in, writing, “Mulan’s set location is a Fujian tulou! Isn’t Mulan a Northerner?” People on Twitter were also taken aback by seeing the northern warrior living in a tulou, with some users questioning whether Mulan is Hakka now (many Hakka people, orginally from Northern China, live in the southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian).
As for Mulan’s lovable tiny dragon companion, Mushu – a fan favorite in the 1998 animation – was MIA in the new trailer.
Image via @小娱乐家/Weibo
While some netizens voiced their displeasure after seeing a Mushu-less trailer, others were quick to point out that this may be an effort to make the movie more accurate according to the original legend. One prominent movie blogger on Weibo posted, “Many people are asking why there is no Mushu the dragon and no singing, but some people say that making such an adaptation may be closer to the truth and closer to history.” The post has garnered over 11,000 likes, as of press time.
Even the film’s wuxia element, a term referring to a genre of Chinese martial arts films as well as literature, was being fiercely debated online.
Image via @施个蓝人/Weibo
On Twitter, some netizens said that adding wuxia elements to Mulan would be uncharacteristic for Disney. One user wrote, “If I wanted to watch a Mulan wuxia film, it’s not like China is short on those (and probably made better to be honest) so this is just a remake of something that’s already been done a hundred times minus everything that people liked about the Disney movie.” Another netizen chimed in, saying that this version of Mulan “might be the first one I could be interested in,” in part because of the live action aspect of the film. Although the trailer only shows a limited reel of fighting, Liu Yifei looks like a sword-wielding badass, turning the battlefield into her personal playground.
The live-action Mulan remake was announced back in 2015, and was initially set for a November 2018 release date, before being postponed. Mulan’s release next March is expected to draw in a lot of moviegoers from around the globe.
[Cover image @施个蓝人/Weibo]