Flicks, Aaron Yap
The film itself is an eminently watchable, meticulously mounted period adventure that’s good enough for you to wish that it was a little better. It could do with harnessing more of the daring exhibited by its titular, gender-switching heroine. For better or worse, Mulan is a Disney movie, on-brand with broadly universal themes that’ll slot in comfortably with any of their classic fairy tales or Star Wars instalments despite its Chinese folklore origins.
It’s exactly what you’d imagine a Mouse House wu xia pic might be: turning up to the party as handsomely crafted as money can buy, but lacking the innate poetic grace and artistry of a King Hu or Zhang Yimou epic. And like most of their recent live-action adaptations, the film flattens out the imaginative quirkiness of their animated counterparts in pursuit of grittier realism. You won’t find characters suddenly bursting into song, nor a cute cricket sidekick with a knack for inking Chinese calligraphy here.Full review