Mulan lived peacefully with her old father in a little village in China during the Beiwei Dynasty until some government officials came to announce the orders of the current emperor, that all the men in the village must take part in the ongoing war. Mulan, who got worried about her sick father, despite being a woman, decided to take upon this challenge and pretend to be a man and join the army in her father's place.
But how long can a fine woman last in brutal war? And how long can she hide the truth?
Soon she will learn the true meaning behind the word 'war'.
This movie is closer to the original legend than the Disney version, so yes, it is really sad. They've just changed a bit the Touba Huang character.
The main actress is really good, her acting is deep and sincere. In fact, almost everyone who play in this movie is really talented. I, sometimes, felt like the one who play Tiger has more emotion in the lower part of his face, but it's a minor observation and it didn't bother me that much either.
The original score is just awesome. I was tearing up because of the music most of the time even though nothing sad happened in the movie. I'll definitely need this CD.
I recommend to see this in 720p since it's so beautiful.
Overall, I really like this movie, but there's one thing that did bother me : everything happens too fast. I would have liked to get a feel of the life of Mulan before she goes in the Wei army somehow. In the movie, we see her with her dad and some villagers, then in her house, then... she's already getting to her base camp. I know it's 12 years, but seriously, sometimes, I felt like I didn't have time to breathe : camp, battle, battle, promotion, battle, promotion, battle, battle, promotion, camp... At least, most of the movie isn't like that, it's maybe about the first quarter.
The big difference with the Disney version is the angle : Disney is more about the gender issue and the ascension of the weak Mulan to a good soldier, this movie is more about the ascension of an already witty and trained woman and the hardness of war. The romance is present in both movie, but somewhat in the background, it motivated some things along the way that are connected to the angle that I've mentioned previously.
Finally, this movie is really good and you'll love it even if you loved the Disney movie, it's just a different flavor but the character is still a strong, witty, courageous and capable woman who fight for the love of her father, her friends and her country. This movie is not for you if you hate war movies (though I don't really like war movies that much and still enjoy this one) since it's mostly war form the start until the end.
After hearing that there was actually a Chinese movie about the Mulan story I wanted to watch it immediately.
I didn't even have any expectations, except for the fact that I liked all of the few Chinese movies I'd ever seen, so I thought it might be worth watching.
And I was completely surprised. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, including all, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Hollywood productions. First of all, Vicky Zhao did a perfect job as Mulan. Her acting was not on the level of good or convincing, it was just perfect. She managed to show the despair and loss of a woman that spent 12 years in war in the mere two hours of a movie.
With many Asian movies or Dramas I have the problem, that often I don't understand the motive of the characters and why they just don't do the obvious. There always IS an explanation to this, but it's sometimes very tiresome and annoying to come up with reasons for what the characters are doing because the storyline doesn't provide them adequately.
In this respect the movie Hua Mulan had the perfect balance. The characters weren't shallow and obvious as they are in many Hollywood productions, but neither were they as impenetrable and, I'm sorry, but sometimes I feel like this, random and inhuman as many characters in Asian productions.
This movie entertained me, moved me, made me cry and smile and left me with lots to think about without confusing me in an irritating way. Perfect.