China is excited for upcoming live-action ‘Mulan’, except its historical inaccuracies

Disney’s Mulan is slated to hit theaters on March 27, 2020.


Earlier this week Disney released the first teaser trailer for the live-action remake of its 1998 classic Mulan.

It is based on the story of a Chinese legend of Hua Mulan (花木兰huā mù lán), a young girl disguised herself as a man to take her aged father’s place in China’s imperial army. She fought for 12 years and refused any reward but retired to her hometown.

When Disney’s original film was released back in 1998, China was not a major market for Disney. But after Twenty years, China is the second-biggest movie market in the world. So this time it is important to cater to the Chinese audience as the film is based on a local Chinese legend.

The trailer released on July 7th has already earned over 20 million views on YouTube alone, but not everyone has been satisfied by the one-and-a-half minutes of footage on display.

Teaser Review: Mulan is Just the Disney Movie 2019 Needs!

“Chinese takings can make or break a movie,” said writer and cultural analyst Xueting Christine Ni.

As being reported, the trailer has been widely criticized in China for featuring historical inaccuracies. Even though anticipation for the 2020 tent pole is high in China, moviegoers have been using the social media platform Weibo to call out the first trailer.

As Variety explains, Disney’s “Mulan” trailer shows the main character and her family living in a round “tulou” house, described as a “traditional communal living structure of the Hakka people unique to coastal, southern Fujian.”

Since Mulan is from northern China, it’s unlikely her family would be living in a home associated with the Hakka people. Additionally, the tulou house was seen largely during the Ming dynasty, more than a thousand years after the time period in which “Mulan” is set.

There are more reactions being shared on twitter:


One critic wrote on Weibo. “Disney shouldn’t be so careless and just think that because tulou are beautiful, they can make Mulan live in one. She’s not Fujianese! I guess this Mulan has to take the subway out to join the army?”.

A video posted online calling out the “Mulan” trailer has gone viral with over 8 million views in two days. Stating, “This film is just trying to ingratiate itself to Western audiences. It’s like they thought, oh, this element is really Chinese, it’s very Oriental, so I’m going to shove it into the film to make everyone feel this is a very ‘Chinese’ film”.

“This mess of mixing unrelated Oriental elements is really disrespectful of non-Western cultures and audiences,” the viral video further adds on.

“This is not about [the producers] truly appreciating elements of a culture that is different from Hollywood’s, but using them to create something that [Americans] find comfortable and appealing.”

“Whale Rider” filmmaker Niki Caro has directed the live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated classic and stars Chinese actress Liu Yifei in the title role.

Disney has slated the opening of its live-action “Mulan” adaptation on March 27, 2020.

the authorSaman Siddiqui
Saman Siddiqui, A freelance journalist with a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and MS in Peace and Conflict Studies. Associated with the media industry since 2006. Experience in various capacities including Program Host, Researcher, News Producer, Documentary Making, Voice Over, Content Writing Copy Editing, and Blogging, and currently associated with OyeYeah since 2018, working as an Editor.

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