Forget Disney, this is the original tale. Directors Jingle Ma and Wei Dong bring to life the legend of Mulan, in a film where the battles are more akin to those of The Lord of the Rings. Screenplay writer Ting Zhang is particularly deserving of a mention for his exceptional work in developing a translation that brings a strong, emotive narrative to the screen.
Mulan depicts the ancient Chinese tale of Hua Mulan, who fought in place of her ill father whilst disguised as a man. After 12 years of triumphant battles, Mulan rises through the ranks of the army to become Commanding General. The stunning Wei Zhao (of Red Cliff and Shaolin Soccer fame) stars as the fiery Mulan, alongside Kun Chen (from Flying Swords of Dragon Gate) who portrays her fellow Commanding General, Wentai.
Wentai knows of Mulan’s hidden female identity and soon, they begin to fall in love. Zhao and Chen’s chemistry onscreen is genuine and believable, allowing their bond to develop while they combat enemies on and off the battlefield.
Mula nis a tale of love; for one’s country, one’s father and one’s partner – and the pressures of deciding which should take priority. In true Chinese tradition, the love for one’s country takes precedence, however rather than interpreting this as propaganda, I instead found it to be an important lesson in the value of selflessness. There are greater goods to be served rather than just that of oneself.
Mulan brings to mind a proverb – ‚ÄòThe measure of our sacrifice is the measure of our love’. This rings particularly true in this stunning film.
Mulan, premieres at 7.35pm tonight Friday 31 January as part of WM Celebrates: Lunar New Year.