Y’know, I should have seen my fascination with Asian storytelling coming YEARS ago. My favorite Disney movie for a very long time was Mulan, and even then, I yearned for a more authentic version. Even Donny Osmond’s compelling anthem about being a man couldn’t change my mind! Come see the three reasons why you, too, should watch Mulan: Rise of a Warrior.
True to the Mulan Legend
Mulan is a Chinese legend that originated in the 4th-6th century AD, first as a folk song composed during the Northern Wei dynasty, then written down during the Southern Chen dynasty. The basics of the legend stay the same — female Mulan takes her father’s place when the emperor conscripts warriors to turn back enemies at the border. In the original, Mulan is subject to the Wei emperor, and the enemies are from the Rouran tribe to the north. Mulan: Rise of a Warrior sticks to this story, keeping to the time period as well.
Light on Romance, Heavy on Character
Vicki Zhao plays Mulan very, very well, always ready to take on the duty in front of her no matter the cost. As she rises through the ranks with her comrade-in-arms, Wen Tai, she continues to lead the charge against the Rouran, putting her romantic feelings for Wen Tai aside to focus on the more important issues — most of the time. There’s an incident in the middle that allows Mulan to sink into a depression, unable to face any more death or killing. Her recovery comes from within, leading her to a stronger place and making her someone that her men could follow, and myself as the viewer root for her.
No Slapstick Humor
One reason I chose to watch Mulan: Rise of a Warrior over Matchless Mulan was for its more serious take on the source material. Mulan is told in a straightforward manner, never setting a scene up just for the punchline. Granted, the battle scenes were also straightforward and felt like they went on forEVer, since Mulan *was* in the army for 12 long years. But I appreciated the serious tone and the more historical feel of the movie.
I would absolutely recommend Mulan: Rise of a Warrior for most drama fans. It’s not a light watch, but it moved quickly and had the authenticity I was looking for. I was very satisfied.
Until the next movie night, I remain —
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi