Mulan (2020) – The Live-Action Epic Disney Adventure


Welcome to my review of Mulan (2020), Disney’s live-action take on the beloved tale. This film is inspired by the legend of Hua Mulan. It’s a gripping story about a brave young woman who joins the army in her father’s place. By doing so, she faces countless challenges and discovers her true strength.

The movie is directed by Niki Caro, who’s behind the acclaimed movie, Whale Rider. Mulan (2020) is visually stunning, with breathtaking scenes and thrilling fights. Yifei Liu shines brightly as Mulan, giving a powerful and memorable performance. The script, written by a talented team, allows us to get closer to Mulan. It explores her courage, determination, and unbreakable spirit.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mulan (2020) is a live-action adaptation based on the story of Hua Mulan.
  • It focuses on themes like bravery, family, and honor, in a more serious light.
  • It introduces new figures and brings back favorites from the animated movie.
  • The film was praised for its stunning costumes and special effects.
  • There’s a sequel in the works, furthering the saga of Hua Mulan.


The cast of the 2020 film “Mulan” is filled with talented actors. They bring unique skills to their roles, making the characters come alive.

Yifei Liu leads as Mulan. She shows Mulan’s strength and determination well. Her acting gets to the heart of this famous Chinese story.

Donnie Yen plays Commander Tung with skill. He adds to the character’s layer of leadership. This makes him an important figure in the movie.

Gong Li takes on the role of Xianniang. Her acting adds mystery and depth to the story. This makes her role stand out.

Jet Li plays the Emperor. His powerful presence makes the character very believable. It adds to the movie’s grand feeling.

Jason Scott Lee is Böri Khan, Mulan’s main foe. Lee’s performance adds real danger to the character. He makes Mulan’s journey more challenging.

Yoson An plays Honghui, Mulan’s companion. An’s acting makes their friendship touching. It adds a lot to the movie’s emotional side.

“The diverse and talented cast of ‘Mulan (2020)’ brings authenticity and depth to the characters, elevating the film and captivating audiences worldwide.” – IMDb

Every actor’s role in “Mulan” is key. They make the movie powerful and gripping. Combined with special effects and a great story, they create an unforgettable film.

IMDb RatingBox Office RevenueRunning Time
7.7/10$69.9 million115 minutes
MetascoreUser Ratings on IMDbPopularity Rank on IMDb


Mulan, a well-loved animated film, got an incredible live-action remake. Known directors and a skilled writing team turned this classic into the live-action tale we saw.

Filming happened in New Zealand and China, giving the movie an authentic feel. This choice allowed for a cinematic world that felt true to its origins.

Although challenges were faced, the team remained focused on creating an authentic rendition of the story. Their perseverance paid off in a captivating and true-to-heart film.

In making Mulan, a new software, Attila, was designed to manage massive battle scenes. It was inspired by past Disney successes, showcasing creativity and technical innovation.

This unique software, Attila, gave the team the tools they needed for the film’s vast battle scenes. It allowed for detailed changes in each character, making the battles look real and breathtaking.

The crew also chose to work with cards for crowd scenes. This decision blended well with the film’s drawing-inspired visuals, keeping true to the original’s spirit.

A special paint tool was developed for the movie, making it easier for artists to place characters in scenes. This tool’s design made it simple and effective for including many characters.

Adding a subtle flatness to the film’s art brought out an elegant, graphic quality. Inspired by Chinese art, this choice made the film visually striking and culturally tied.

Many new techniques were quickly developed, such as the unique use of faux planes. These innovations brought scenes to life in a way that was new and captivating for the audience.

Special efforts were put into creating details like flaming arrows and smoke trails. A blend of computer-generated and 2D art, without traditional 3D, brought these elements to life.

Mulan (1998) Box OfficeCritical ReceptionAwards
Budget: $90 millionReceived positive reviews from film criticsNominated for the Academy Awards 1999 for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
Box office revenue: $304.3 millionCinemascore grade: “A+”Won 10 awards out of 12 at the Annie Awards 1999

The team’s dedication and the use of innovative methods crafted a film that wowed audiences. This adaptation of Mulan was not just visually stunning but a true work of heart.


The story of Mulan is about a brave girl named Hua Mulan. She dresses like a man, Hua Jun, to join the Army in place of her father. The movie takes place in old China and shows Mulan’s fight to protect her family and country.

Mulan is not just any girl; she’s the daughter of a great warrior. She feels a lot of pressure to meet society’s rules. But when a dangerous army called the Rourans threatens China, Mulan sees her big chance to show what she’s made of.

With the help of Commander Tung and friends like Zhou and Li, she trains hard. She learns that being true to yourself is what really counts. Not everyone knows her secret, but they see her bravery and skills.

Her friends start to notice how exceptional she is. Now, leaders and friends alike respect her for her courage. Mulan’s smart thinking and bold actions help win a key fight against the Rourans.

Mulan doesn’t set out to be a hero, but her courage and quick thinking show the true meaning of bravery, honor, and sacrifice. Even when things get very hard, she stays strong for her loved ones, bringing peace back to her land.

Disney’s film Mulan is an exciting story that mixes action, adventure, and the strength of the human spirit. It teaches us about facing tough times with strength and staying true to who we are. It’s a story that everyone, no matter their age, can be inspired by.

DirectorNiki Caro
WritersRick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek
CastsLiu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Gong Li
Running Time115 minutes
Budget$200 million
Initial Release DateSeptember 4, 2020 (Disney+ Premier Access)
Free Release for Disney+ SubscribersDecember 4, 2020


The new Mulan movie sparked issues beyond just the adaptation itself. It faced criticism over Xinjiang’s involvement, where Uyghurs face human rights abuses.

Shooting part of the movie in Xinjiang led to backlash over supporting an area known for these violations. People found the decision troubling, despite Xinjiang’s beautiful scenery. They viewed it as siding with authorities accused of cultural suppression and rights violations.

Moreover, criticism emerged over the film’s behind-the-scenes team, which lacked Chinese members. Critics highlighted the lack of authenticity in portraying Chinese culture with this choice. They felt it failed to respect the balance and authenticity in cultural representation.


The issue over the Xinjiang connection and a non-diverse production team has led to debates. They question Hollywood’s approach to working with China, considering the human rights concerns.

These controversies have spurred broad discussions beyond a simple movie adaptation. They delve into Hollywood’s collaboration decisions and cultural representation, making the topic more complex.


Mulan had its first showing at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood Bowl on June 5, 1998. This came after much excitement for the live-action version of the animated classic. The movie then reached theaters all over the U.S. on June 19, 1998. Sadly, the spread of COVID-19 caused major problems for its release.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything for Mulan. The initial release plans were dropped to keep people safe. But, Disney quickly thought of a way to still show the movie. They launched the Premier Access program on Disney+ to let people watch from home.

Thanks to Premier Access, fans could see Mulan without going to theaters. This chance meant people everywhere could enjoy the film. Disney’s step also showed how important digital options have become in today’s world.

Places with Disney+ saw Mulan on their screens. But in areas without Disney+, the film still had its big theater moment. Both methods shared the beauty and story of Mulan with everyone.

This special release method taught us a lot. Disney proved they could adapt to big challenges. It also showed the trend towards digital entertainment is strong. The entertainment world continues to change, and Disney is keeping up.

“The release of Mulan under these circumstances demonstrated Disney’s adaptability and determination to bring the timeless tale to audiences around the world despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”


In 2020, “Mulan” drew a mix of reviews from both fans and critics. Many Western critics liked the movie for its exciting fights, beautiful outfits, and talented actors. However, some fans of the original cartoon and people from the Chinese diaspora were disappointed.

On the other hand, Chinese viewers weren’t as impressed. They called it the worst version of “Mulan” ever. They pointed out the movie’s mistakes in showing Chinese culture and history. Also, they were let down by the special effects and action scenes.

“Mulan” scored 7.5 out of 10 on Maoyan and 7.6 out of 10 on Tao Piaopiao in China. But on Douban, it only got 4.9 out of 10. This showed that not everyone liked the movie there.

Liu Yifei, who played Mulan, got mixed reviews from Chinese fans. Some thought her acting was too stiff. And, some people didn’t like how Jet Li’s character, the Emperor, was shown as a stereotype from the past.

However, the movie was praised in the West for trying to represent Asian-Americans. The fact that it cast only Asian actors showed Hollywood’s desire to connect with eastern culture.

Many studies looked at “Mulan” from different angles in academic journals. They analyzed its impact on opinions and the influence of different cultures around the world.

Even with its issues, “Mulan” got nominated at the Oscars and other big awards. This shows that the movie was well-respected in the film industry.

Box Office Performance

“Mulan” faced a tough time at the box office because of the pandemic. It didn’t do very well on its opening day in China. Now, it’s expected to make only around $38.5 million in China.

In contrast, “The Eight Hundred,” a film about China in World War II, did much better. It made 141.3 million yuan on its first big day. This difference highlights the challenges “Mulan” faced.

“Despite the controversies and mixed reviews, ‘Mulan’ received nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards and other awards ceremonies, indicating its recognition within the film industry.”

The movie also faced issues abroad. Some people boycotted it because the lead actor supported police in Hong Kong. Plus, some scenes were filmed in Xinjiang, a place with human rights concerns. This led to a lot of online backlash.

These disputes and challenges affected how people saw “Mulan.” It showed the difficulties of mixing a beloved story with current cultural and social issues.

Box Office Performance

Despite having a $200 million budget, Mulan struggled at the box office. This was mainly because of the pandemic limiting its release. It only made $69.9 million worldwide.

Mulan took a different road by premiering on Disney+ through Premier Access. This meant people could watch it at home for an extra charge. The move was to respond to closed theaters and the need to find new ways to distribute movies safely.

It was a hit on Disney+ from the start, making $35.5 million in its first weekend. This number made it the top choice among subscribers. The film was seen in about 1.12 million homes.

But in China, Mulan didn’t do as well as predicted. It only earned $23.2 million in its first weekend. This was less than the $30 to $40 million experts thought it would make.

FilmOpening Weekend Box Office (China)
Mulan (2020)$23.2 million
Beauty and the Beast$85 million
Jungle Book$55 million
Dumbo$11 million

Tenet, however, did really well in China, earning $50 million in its first weekend. This success showed that Mulan’s challenges were not only its own.

Mulan also faced a big issue with piracy. In China, it was illegally downloaded more than 250,000 times in just three days. This highlights the ongoing problem of piracy in the movie industry there.

In the end, Mulan met some barriers in its path to success. But, its streaming figures and broad global viewership show it wasn’t all bad news.


A sequel to Mulan is in the works. This means the tale will keep going. The new film’s plot and cast are still a secret. But fans of Mulan will get another treat soon.

Mulan II vs. Mulan III

AspectMulan IIMulan III
Release Year20042026
Running Time79 minutesTBD
Rotten Tomatoes Rating0%TBD
TV Guide Rating2 out of 5 starsTBD
Voices CastMost of the original voice castMing-Na Wen, B.D. Wong, Jet Li, Lucy Liu, Donnie Yen, and more
PlotN/AMulan helps a Chinese maiden named Wei Hua save her imprisoned father in Japan
End Credits SongN/A“Kung Fu Fighting (2026 Version)” by NCT 127

The Legend of Hua Mulan

Mulan is a legendary figure in Chinese culture, dating back to the 4th to 6th century CE. Her tale tells of disguising as a man to fight in her father’s stead. Brave and determined, Mulan has become a symbol of honor in China.

The earliest known account of Mulan’s story is The Ballad of Mulan, from the Northern Wei dynasty (386–535 CE). This poetic tale, with 31 couplets, has been a foundational piece of Mulan’s story. It has survived through the years.

Over 1,500 years, Mulan’s tale has been told and retold, showing its lasting appeal. In the Song of Mulan by Wei Yuanfu around 750 AD, the story became a poem. Xu Wei’s play in 1580 further popularized Mulan’s adventures.

In the 17th century, historian Zhu Guozhen added historical context in his reconstruction of Mulan’s life. Mulan became even more famous during the Qing Dynasty, a time of Chinese oppression. By 1695, her story was a highlight in the “Romance of Sui and Tang” by Chu Renhuo.

After the Imperial era, especially with Western influence, Mulan’s story grew even more famous. Films like “Mulan Joins the Army” in 1939 and “Lady General Hua Mu-Lan” in 1964 brought her to cinema screens. The story got more attention in the West with “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston in 1976.

Disney’s popular animated movie in 1998 made Mulan a global icon. It mixed the original legend with Disney’s magic. In 2020, a live-action movie will give a fresh take on Mulan’s adventures.

In short, the story of Hua Mulan has fascinated people for ages. Her tales of courage, honor, and sacrifice are timeless. She stands as a key figure in Chinese folklore.


Mulan (2020) shows Hua Mulan’s epic tale in a live-action way. It celebrates themes like courage, family, and honor. With a talented cast, it brings this beloved story to a new light. Despite some controversy, it’s a big part of the Mulan story.

For over 1,500 years, Mulan’s story has moved people. Since the 6th century, she has been seen as a virtuous hero. Her acts were seen as right for family and honor.

Mulan (2020) tried to mix the old and new versions. Yet, not everyone liked how it showed feminism or culture. It tried to bring East and West audiences together but missed the mark for some.

Still, Mulan is loved by many. Its story shows us the values of courage, family, and honor. Her legacy and influence remain strong, inspiring many for years to come.


What is Mulan (2020) about?

Mulan (2020) is a live-action film by Disney. It’s based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. The movie is about a young woman who pretends to be a man. She does this to join the Imperial Army in place of her father. She fights against the invading Rouran army.

Who are the main cast members of Mulan (2020)?

The main cast of Mulan (2020) includes Yifei Liu as Mulan. It also stars Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, and Yoson An.

Who directed and wrote Mulan (2020)?

Niki Caro directed Mulan (2020). The screenplay was written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, and Elizabeth Martin.

What is the plot of Mulan (2020)?

The story follows Mulan disguising as a man, Hua Jun. She takes her father’s spot in the army and faces tough challenges. With help from her friends and some mystical beings, she takes on the Rourans.

What controversies did Mulan (2020) face?

Mulan (2020) faced controversy for filming in a region with human rights issues. Also, people were concerned about the non-Chinese descent of some production team members.

How was Mulan (2020) released?

The movie couldn’t have a wide theater release because of COVID-19. Instead, it was launched on Disney+ with the Premier Access feature. This let Disney+ subscribers watch it for an extra fee. In places without Disney+, the film was released traditionally.

How was the reception of Mulan (2020)?

Western critics mostly liked Mulan (2020) for its action, costumes, and the cast’s performance. Yet, fans of the original animation and some Chinese people found issues with its cultural and historical accuracy.

How did Mulan (2020) perform at the box office?

With a 0 million budget, Mulan’s box office was hit by the pandemic. It made .9 million globally, much less than hoped.

Is there a sequel to Mulan (2020) in development?

Yes, there’s a sequel in the works for Mulan (2020). The story will continue, but we don’t know the details of the plot or who will be in it yet.

What is the legend of Hua Mulan?

The legend tells of Hua Mulan, a warrior who dressed as a man and fought in her father’s place. This story of courage and honor is beloved in Chinese culture.

What is the conclusion of Mulan (2020)?

Mulan (2020) is Disney’s real-life take on Hua Mulan’s story. It sparked debates and got mixed reviews but stands as a unique chapter in the Mulan story. The movie’s release shows the continuing interest in this timeless Chinese tale.

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