I’ve been pretty back and forth on Disney’s live-action remakes—their quality, their artistic choices, whether they need to exist, etc etc—but I’m delighted to report that the footage from Mulan shown at Disney D23 presentation whips all kinds of words I can’t use in a Disney article. While it looks like the studio wasn’t quite ready to release the new footage online, Collider was in the room to see director Niki Caro‘s live-action take on the animated classic.
First of all, this is absolutely going to be a movie for fans of costuming and production design; everything here looks gorgeous, and anyone obsessed with period clothing is going to lose it. The footage we saw opened with a dazzling montage of Mulan (Yifei Liu) getting decked out in traditional dress and paint that sets the tone for a character tied up by societal standards. “This is my sad face. My curious face. Now I’m confused,” Mulan jokers with her sister (Xana Tang), unable to move her face from the paint.
Mulan then gets taken to a matchmaker by her mother. “A wife serves her husband, she must be silent, she must be invisible,” the matchmaker says as a spider crawls beneath the teapot on the table. The spider reveal sends cups and pots slo-mo flying into the air, but Mulan catches them all with her hair ties…until her hair flops in front of her face, sending glass smashing to the ground.
Outside, a warrior rides into town. “Our land is at war. Every family must contribute one man to fight. One man from every house,” he says. Mulan’s father (Tzi Ma) volunteers, walking feebly and leaving a cane behind. “I am blessed with two daughters,” he tells the soldier. “I will fight.”
Later, Mulan watches her father train with a sword late at night, his shaking hands struggling to hold the weapon. A voice-over from our title character starts: “I will bring honor to my family.”
From there, we get quick glimpses into the action—mostly Mulan, disguised as a man, beating up on her fellow soldiers in training—which looks far and above more impressive, stylistically, than any other Disney live-action remake before it. We also briefly saw the film’s villain, a witch named Xian Lang (Gong Li), transform into a bird.
The voice-over closed out the footage with a shot of Mulan, her hair down, taking on a horde of Huns: “I will bring honor to us all.”
For more out of D23, check out the links below:
- New ‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’ Footage Reveals Rey with a Red Double-Sided Lightsaber
- ‘Frozen 2’ Footage Showcases Flashbacks, Botched Proposals, and the New “Let It Go”
- Tom Holland Gets Emotional over Marvel-Sony Split at D23: “I Love You 3000”
- Disney’s Animated Movie ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Cast and Release Date Revealed
- First Images for Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Revealed; Cast and More Musical Details Announced