“Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.” These are some wise words from our father Walt Disney, who would be astonished at how we are butchering his movies today.
Disney movies are something that we all can relate to. They’ve gotten me through some especially tough times. I remember watching them on VCR (I know I’m basically ancient!) Where I would rewind the tapes and start them over again from the beginning. Mulan was one of my favorites, I aspired to be a woman warrior even as a child.
So how should I feel when the cartoons that touched my heart as a kid and shaped me into the woman I am today are created into revolutionized live-action movies that completely miss the point? How will children be influenced by this new development?
#MakeMulanRight is a petition that was circling social media to be signed. Its goal was for the live-action in-production Mulan movie to get an Asian writer and a script change. An anonymous person in the industry leaked the early script of the movie and since then Twitter has been livid. Instead of Li Shang (a Chinese general) being the main love interest for Mulan, the script told a different story. There was to be a European man who comes to China, saves it from potential harm, and sweeps Mulan off her feet. This calls to attention not only whitewashing in the industry, but also the failure to promote the feminism that Mulan so rightly deserves.
— laura (@ezrsmillers) October 10, 2016
Many people may not know this, but Mulan was based on a true story. She was a woman warrior in China, who takes her father’s place in the army because he was too old to fight. She was known for being skilled with a sword and an expert in Kung Fu. Hua Mulan fought for twelve years and when she was done went back to her hometown. It’s not much different from the version we were all taught as children.
If kids were to see just the remake movie and not the original, how would they view Mulan? As a strong fearless woman who was willing to fight for her father and her people? Or as a secondary character; a damsel in distress? It deteriorates the importance of the Asian culture, it completely messes with history, and it rejects any hope to little girls that they can be independent and fierce just like Mulan was. But rather they should wait for a man to come and fix all their problems.
Since the outbreak on Twitter Disney quickly began to clarify that it was an early draft of the script, something that they never intended to use, and all primary roles are Chinese including Shang. They may be out of the clear now, but it doesn’t change the fact that even in a draft they attempted to erase the whole premise of the movie that we all know and love. We’ll be watching you Disney. Or maybe we won’t.
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