Movie Reviews

Mulan (2020)

mulan-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Niki Caro

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Runtime: 115 Minutes

Main Cast: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Li Gong, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Tzi Ma, Rosalind Chao, Cheng Pei-Pei

Plot: A live-action remake of the orginal Disney animated movie Mulan (1998), about a young Chinese girl who disguises herself as a male warrior in order to protect her father.

My Thoughts: As a Disney fan, no matter the controversy, I had to see the Mulan remake as soon as I could. I’m still gutted I watched it in my living room instead of on the big screen but hey, I’m just so grateful for new releases at the moment. I’ve enjoyed all of the remakes so far with the exception of Dumbo (2019) but I wasn’t sure where to set my expectations for Mulan. I’ve only seen the original once, and it wasn’t as a child. And although I loved it, I don’t have the same connection with it as I do with most other Disney movies.

Thankfully I had my Disney-superfan husband at hand to give his critiques. I’m not kidding, I’ve never been happier than when in Disneyland but for him? It’s like his home! I keep telling him he should have been a Disney character at the parks, he’s so theatrical. Anyway, I digress. There are a lot of positives here, it feels well acted, the story doesn’t stray too far from the original, and the cinematography is stunning. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. When I learned Mushu the little red dragon was omitted from the remake I was salty but honestly? I don’t see how he would have fit in here, so I’m not mad anymore.

What I did miss was the songs. This is just…unacceptable, and there’s no excuse that I will accept. Yes, the movie feels more serious now but it still has little pockets of humour. The instrumental version of Reflection is heard throughout but it only really makes sense if you know the original. I just don’t see a valid reason for taking the songs out, and the movie suffers as a result. Is it worth paying the $30, or £20 to get early access? I guess that depends on how many people are in your household, but if I were you, I’d wait.

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Best Bit: I wish I could tell you about a jaw-dropping moment here but during the avalanche scene, one of Mulan’s buddies gets crushed by what I think was a trebuchet and it was unintentionally HILARIOUS. He was fine, don’t worry.

Worst Bit: We can all agree the best Mulan song is I’ll Make a Man Out Of You, right? So it hurts so much to have the training sequence without it. We could have at least been given some references to it, I think the Commander spoke a few lines, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough. I’m fairly sure everyone watching just sang it themselves though.

Fun Trivia: Yifei Liu performs 90% of all her stunts as Mulan: horse riding, sword fighting, martial arts, and battle scenes.

My Rating: 3 and a half beautiful teapots that should stay in the middle of table, unless you’re trying to protect your sister from a spider.

mulan-2020-teapot-spider

Movie Reviews

Magic Camp (2020)

Director: Mark Waters

Genre: Comedy, Family

Runtime: 100 Minutes

Main Cast: Adam Devine, Jeffrey Tambor, Gillian Jacobs, Nathaniel Logan McIntyre, Cole Sand, Isabella Crovetti, Josie Totah, Hayden Crawford

Plot: This is exactly what you expect a live action Disney movie called Magic Camp to be. Theo is a talented, aspiring magician, missing his recently-passed father (it’s not Disney without a dead parent, is it?) but preparing for the summer of his life at Magic Camp, which is very much Disney’s Hogwarts.

My Thoughts: I don’t even know how Magic Camp ended up on my radar. I’ve been away from blogging for a while again (2020 sucks) and since the Mulan/Disney+ announcement I haven’t opened the app in case it tried to charge me extra to watch Hamilton for the 30th time this week. A cheesy family movie starring Adam Devine featuring magic though? I made sure I watched it on opening night! This is just the kind of movie I’m unashamed to say I enjoy a lot, and it ticked all my boxes.

He’s not one of my many, many crushes but I just find Adam Devine so watchable. He isn’t in many movies I would rave about and say are amazing, but then again I’ve never seen a movie he’s in that I hated. This is just an effortless role for him. He’s down on his luck, facing his nemesis and ex, and trying his hardest to pull the tiniest bit of talent from these kids.

Yes, it’s horribly predictable. It contains almost every cliche in the book. It’s not novel, new, there are no surprises. But it’s entertaining, funny enough and made me cry 1 and a half times. It would have been 2 but my husband watched this with me and was already rolling his eyes so I held it in. He’ll tell you it was pretty terrible, but he’d be lying. He doesn’t sit and watch anything to the end unless he’s super into it.

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Best Bit: I’m such a sucker for magic. I’ve consumed almost all the magic shows on Netflix during lockdown so the show that the kids put on at the end of camp was no doubt my favourite part.

Worst Bit: If my husband is going to actually watch a movie with me, I’m not going to complain. But man oh man, he has this annoying talent for seeing even the slightest plot twist or surprise a mile away, and he can’t keep it to himself either. There’s no way in hell I’m taking him to see Tenet!

Fun Trivia: Real-life magicians were employed to teach the actors and to maintain authenticity. Among them is acclaimed magician Justin Willman, who had worked with Gillian Jacobs on Love (2016).

My Rating: 3 and a half bunny rabbits wandering around the camp…now who’s going to explain to the kids how they keep multiplying?

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