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Infographic: The truth about 'Mulan'

作者:admin 2020-09-17

Editor's Note: 

Since its release in the
Chinese mainland on Friday, Disney's Mulan has been stuck at the center of controversy. Various commentators, many jokingly comparing the film to General Tso's Chicken, have been analyzing Disney's steps throughout the film's production and release from various perspectives in order to understand what went wrong and what the company did right. The biggest issue surrounding the film centers on its failure to understand China's culture, values and people

Chinese audiences have noted foreign film studio's efforts to please the Chinese film market. However, as one Chinese critic has said, these companies should consider involving more talent from China who understands the ancient nation. 

Major factors behind Mulan's Chinese box-office failure: Piracy and poor word-of-mouth

Insiders and critics of the film industry are not optimistic about the future of the film in the Chinese mainland market

Since Disney had decided to release the film on Disney+ in the US a week before the Chinese mainland release, pirated versions were easily attainable online. 

Negative word-of-mouth from those who saw the film ahead of time also hindered Mulan's debut in cinemas. 

What moviegoers are saying: Good and bad

"The story of the film is far too imaginary. Hollywood added their own understanding of Chinese culture to the movie but that did not please Chinese audiences. Why not get more creative talents from China involved in Hollywood? That would be a good way to capture the hearts of audiences,"Shi Chuan, deputy chairman of the Shanghai Film Association, told the Global Times.

"I felt uncomfortable while watching the movie. I was longing to teach the scriptwriters and production team about the real ancient China"

"If there's a woman who feels inspired by Mulan and wants to fight for herself and the things that she believes in like the character did, then Disney and the character have worked. At least I was inspired." Jun Yixiao, a 20-something woman working in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Mistakes that Disney made that turned Mulan into a disaster

Makeup: The makeup worn leading actress Liu Yifei and other female characters became a major target of mockery from Chinese audiences as many felt it did not accurately depict the time period. Many said they felt uncomfortable when seeing the actress in makeup. 

Architecture: Before joining the army, Mulan is shown living in a storied building that first emerged around in the 11th century in Fujian Province, while the story of Mulan takes place during the 4th century to 6th century.

Auspicious beasts: Disney tried to use auspicious beasts like the Chinese dragon and phoenix to give the film a more traditional feeling, but in the film, these auspicious beasts do not come into play as expected. In the film, statues of these two auspicious mythological creatures are seen in front of a Chinese palace, while according to actual Chinese tradition, stone lions are used to guard entryways. 

What Disney got right:  A brave exploration of a traditional Chinese folk tale

Before the release, Disney launched a promotional event on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo to find "real Mulans" in modern times. This was an excellent showing the power of women and their contributions. 

Spiritual core of the film: Zhong (loyalty),Yong (courage),Zhen (truth)

Zhong: Chinese female doctor Fang Yurong: Loyal to her duties during the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, saving numerous lives in the process 

Yong: Chinese female photographer Ye Ziyi: Showing the courage to follow her dreams, Ye roams around China taking photos of the night sky.

Zhen: Chinese female e-sports athlete Li Xiaomeng: Staying true to herself, Li has chased her dreams in the male-dominated e-sports industry no matter what others may say.

The film crew visited many places in China to capture the most beautiful scenes for the movie, showing the country's beauty to the world. Some locations such as Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park in Northwest China's Gansu Province made a deep impression on audiences around the world.

Infographic: The truth about 'Mulan'

Infographic: The truth about 'Mulan'

  • Disney’s Mulan story fails to win Chinese audience
Posted in: FILM

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