The new Mulan trailer has dropped and I, for one, am hype. A culturally adept film with an all Asian cast about a Chinese badass warrior woman? Sign me the heck up.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way.
In the comments of the new trailer, on YouTube and Facebook, most people voiced lukewarm feelings or outright distaste for the film’s changes. After all, unlike most of the Disney remakes, the movie plans to change quite a bit. Mulan will be more culturally accurate, will not be a musical, and will not have the talking animal characters it once had. People seem to be really up in arms about no “Girl Worth Fighting For” or Mushu.
Recently, there has also been a big internet hullabaloo about Disney executives picking a black actor to play Ariel. There is a fair amount of speculation if a lot of that uproar was manufactured for free press. Either way, there is a big controversy around the upcoming The Little Mermaid film now instead of excited buzz.
Conversely, people have been nothing but excited about The Lion King, coming to theaters this week. Other than the excitement about the cast, the film has shown no signs of being any different from it’s animated counterpart. That, except now the lines are all delivered by much less expressive CGI creatures, even if they are beautifully hyper-realistic.
Why, though? In theory, if fans want new stuff from Disney, not remakes, shouldn’t they be more upset about The Lion King, not the other two features that seem to be changing things up?
Disney is not a dumb company. There’s a reason that one of the only effective remakes that’s changed the core of its story was The Jungle Book. Not only would modern audiences not love the original message of the film, but also the film wasn’t as full of nostalgia as other Disney classics. Note that their most popular films are the ones they change the least about (Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, The Lion King). Mulan and The Jungle Book have seemed to have had some of the most change, and (while not obscure Disney films) are comparatively less popular.
If people wanted different, this newer, more serious action take on Mulan should be riveting. If people wanted new, doing a race-bend on The Little Mermaid should provide a fresh version of Ariel.
If people didn’t want more of the same, they’d be a little more vocal and annoyed with The Lion King, but people just seemed super hyped about it.
The truth is that people don’t want new, do they? When it comes to Disney’s remakes, just making the same story again works more favorably than trying to make something different. After all, for all the praise I give The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon was forgettable. Dumbo was an absolute train-wreck, same with both live action Alice in Wonderland films.
It seems if Disney isn’t going to make new films, they aren’t going to often dare to make them very
different. After all, a lot of their previous choices simply haven’t worked. Less big name movies can be experimental, but when it comes to their renaissance films?
They will just be the same. They wouldn’t risk it. After all, people are so upset about Mushu and red-haired rights that doing something drastic to a juggernaut like The Lion King could cause full fandom anarchy.
Funnily enough, because Mulan and The Little Mermaid are taking some risks and alterations, they are more likely to be impactful, interesting films. No one’s going to say that, though, until they come out in theaters and prove their worth. Or worse, they don’t.