SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The remake of “Mulan” hit all the right chords to be a hit in the major Chinese market. Disney cast beloved actor Liu Yifei as the original and eliminated a dragon sidekick in the animated original to cater to Chinese tastes.
Nevertheless, the film received decidedly mixed reviews following its coronovirus-delayed release in China last week, with thousands panning it online.
The film was rated 4.9 out of 10 by more than 165,000 people on Douban, a leading website for film, book and music ratings. Negative comments and jokes about the film outpaced positive reactions on social media.
According to ticketing platform Mouyan, “Mulan” has grossed $ 23.2 million since its opening last week. It scored 7.5 out of 10 on Maoyan, but also with mixed reviews.
According to the Global Times newspaper, “artistic level, misunderstanding of Chinese culture leads to film failure in China.” Tweeted.
Chinese critics, both at home and abroad, said they were disappointed by the film’s inaccurate and Chinese history and stereotypical portrayal of the main character, with nationalist tropes.
Others were not so upset.
Zhang Qin, a military veteran, said after watching the film in Beijing last week that it’s okay that different screenwriters make different stories. “They can play with imagination and that’s a good thing.”
IT engineer Jang Fan also had positive things to say about the film. He said, “Humanity touched me.”
The 1998 remake of the popular animation Disney is based on the ancient story of Hua Mulan, a young woman who dresses up as a man and replaces her father in the military.
The original story, “The Ballad of Mulan”, has undergone several representations. Subjects such as filial purity and being loyal to the central government remain the main tenets, some of which are outdated and problematic.
Ziran J. Zhao, the Chinese author of an upcoming book about the only female emperor in China, said, “This is a very poignant subject in modern China because so many people find me (including me) very constrained.” “It is like a moral hut for the people.”
She also thinks that Disney missed the opportunity to revisit the story along feminist lines.
Zhao said, “Even after receiving this great warrior, she had to go home and then dedicate herself to her family and then find a husband.” “Of all the original ballads, which do you want to keep?”
Critics also gave inaccurate descriptions such as the use of a southern style house when Mulan is likely to be from the north. Some call Makeup and costumes are ugly and inhumane.
Jeanette Ann, a Chinese fantasy writer based in the UK, said the film narrates the story of the majority of Han people in China who assimilate and exclude minorities, including ethnic Mongolians, Tibetans and Uygars.
“Mainland Chinese people have not been a mainland Chinese audience since 20 years ago,” she said of the lukewarm response. “Culture has moved forward.”
His comments show the latest in a series of controversies that have hit the film outside mainland China.
The film’s final credit goes to the publicity departments and a Public Security Bureau in Xinjiang, where some part of it was filmed.
China has come under widespread criticism for detaining Uygars and other predominantly Muslim minorities as part of a campaign to thwart Xinjiang and other predominantly Muslim minorities against Chinese rule.
Earlier, a boycott movement erupted after Liu, who portrays actor Mulan, publicly supported the Hong Kong police as they battled pro-democracy protesters last year.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian defended Liu last week, calling him “the origin of modern times”.
Disney did not respond to a request for comment.