I’m going to list some films. See if you can tell me what they have in common:
The Little Mermaid
Beauty and the Beast
The Lion King
What’s the common thread here? They’re all animated. They’re all Disney films. They were all made during what some would call Disney’s “Second Golden Age of Animation.”
If you said any of those things, you would be right. But the most correct answer would be this:
If you gave me a choice to eat a razor blade cookie or ever watch one of these movies again, I’d take the cookie.
Don’t get me wrong. They’re not bad movies. (I mean, except for The Lion King–which is a terrible movie. Don’t get me started on that.) But I have problems with all of them. (Actually, I have sort of a problem with animated films in general. There’s still a part of me that believes animation is for kids. But I’ve overcome that bias in the past.)
No, what I hate about these movies is the awful music. I simply have no tolerance for it. I also hate Broadway musicals. Why? Because I can. And because of the stupid songs.
Mulan was the last straw for me. I really liked parts of the movie, but my God, that music. If I was in New York, and someone offered me money to go see Rent, I wouldn’t dream of going. Why would I pay to sit through the same sort of garbage music in a movie? I was psyched for Mulan before it was released, too. I’m really into Asian culture and I was curious to see how Disney would handle the story. And I thought they handled it pretty well. I liked the animation. I liked Eddie Murphy as the voice of Mushu.
But dear sweet Jesus, that friggin’ music. As Mulan sang, my underwear bunched. That’s right. The music was so bad it literally, physically bunched my underwear.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit to make my point. The fact is, just as my interest in the story and characters peaked, someone had to burst into a tune and the movie just stopped for me. And so it was with all of the above mentioned Disney films.
So I’m excited to see that Xinhua, a Chinese Film Group, has bought the rights to make a live version of Mulan. This could be a seriously cool movie. Christopher Brough, a potential producing partner for the enterprise, made this comment to The Hollywood Reporter regarding the upcoming film:
“The Disney toon version takes a 4-foot-high viewpoint, from a child’s perspective. We will introduce Mulan at an older age and blend her story with a romance. Mulan is China’s Joan of Arc story.”
One filming location being considered is Hengdian, “the world’s largest backlot.” This suggests that the purchased script describes an epic film. With a compelling, legendary story as a starting point, this has the potential to be a surprise hit-so long as they producers don’t feel the need to have everyone going around singing to each other.
How do you feel about a live-action version of Mulan?