From Mulan (1998) to Mulan (2020): Disney Conventions, Cross-Cultural Feminist Intervention, and a Compromised Progress

Wang, Zhuoyi (2021) From Mulan (1998) to Mulan (2020): Disney Conventions, Cross-Cultural Feminist Intervention, and a Compromised Progress. Arts, 11 (1). p. 5. ISSN 2076-0752

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Directed by the feminist filmmaker Niki Caro, Disney’s 2020 live-action remake of Mulan (1998) strove to be a more gender progressive, culturally appropriate, and internationally successful adaptation of the Chinese legend of Mulan than the animated original. Contrary to the film’s intended effect, however, it was a critical and financial letdown. The film was criticized for a wide range of issues, including making unpopular changes to the animated original, misrepresenting Chinese culture and history, perpetuating Orientalist stereotypes, and demonizing Inner Asian steppe nomads. In addition, the film also faced boycott calls amid political controversies surrounding China. It received exceptionally low audience ratings in both the US and China, grossing a total well under its estimated budget. This article argues that Mulan (2020) is not, as many believe, just another Disney film suffering from simple artistic inability, cultural insensitivity, or political injustice, but a window into the tension-ridden intersectionality of the gender, sexual, racial, cultural, and political issues that shape the production and reception of today’s cross-cultural films. It discusses three major problems, the Disney problem, the gender problem, and the cultural problem, that Mulan (2020) tackled with respectful efforts in Caro’s feminist filmmaking pattern. The film made significant compromises between its goals of cultural appropriateness, progressive feminism, and monetary success. Although it eventually failed to satisfactorily resolve these at times conflicting missions, it still achieved important progress in addressing some serious gender and cultural problems in Mulan’s contemporary intertextual metamorphosis, especially those introduced by the Disney animation. By revealing Mulan (2020)’s value and defects, this article intends to flesh out some real-world challenges that feminist movements must overcome to effectively transmit messages and bring about changes at the transcultural level in the arts. View Full-Text

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Depositing User: APLOS Library
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2022 07:52
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 07:52

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