The release of the first trailer for the live adaptation of Mulan by Disney studios was frustrating for many reasons, but it would be hypocritical to say it was a surprise. At first sight, we are following the bland adaptations of the Disney classics initiated by The Jungle Book in 2016 (which was the most interesting until now). Not necessarily bad films but so redundant and copied and pasted that they become perfectly useless since they have not given their model time to age enough to justify a modern remake. Not to mention that, in the context of an adaptation that is too "faithful", the directors attempt brief personal touches lost in a work that is not theirs and can then create dissonant moments that are missed or even ridiculous (I think of you Beauty and the Beast with your falsely gay Le Fou, your extremely superficial protagonists, your Frenchmen hostile to culture and your Paris between Renaissance and Middle Ages as historic as a cliché).
On the other hand, their advantage is that they put a legend back on the scene which can encourage the most curious to dig into the original tales to find out which adaptation is closest to it.
And that's good, Mulan being without question one of my favorite Disney movie, let's dive into its history and its heritage.
After having dissected the origins of Mulan, we were able to observe her Turkish-Mongolian origins in North China during the 4th century in a context of cultural mix due to the incessant wars. In the original ballad, she was a esteemed general who refused honors to rejoin her family and quietly resumed her life as a woman after the war against the nomads of the North. Devoid of romance, it is clearly distinguished from stories centered on a female character thanks to a perfectly egalitarian message. Since she is not bothered by the social barrier, Mulan can rise to the highest military rank, a post supposed to be the ultimate male prerogative which is achieved as much by talent in combat as by clever military strategies. And above all, victorious battles.
If this message should be understood by everyone today, it is obvious that it was a minority at that time and that it will remain so for some time before the wave of strong women in the 1990's (despite a large number of feminist stories all throughout history but who were generally drowned in the mass when they were not simply censored).