Disney’s Mulan: China Reacts, Watch it in Nairobi
Disney’s remake of 1998 animated classic Mulan recently debuted in Chinese theatres to mixed reactions. The audience appreciated the stunning visuals and peeped Disney’s effort to appeal to the second biggest film market in the world.
The film however, has some glaring historical inaccuracies. The issues start at the beginning of the film. Audiences spot two large, round, yellow homes. These buildings are called tulou, or Fujian Tulou, and they are unique to Fujian Province in South East China.
According to CNN, the first tulou were built towards the end of the Song Dynasty (960 AD-1279 AD) and it seems they didn’t become widespread until starting in the 15th century. It’s like spotting Lamborghinis in a movie about Ancient Egypt. Haha!
This discrepancy didn’t fly on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, with one user commenting:
“Disney shouldn’t be so careless and just think that because tulou are beautiful, they can make Mulan live in one. She’s not Fujianese”!
Another user said “This film is just trying to ingratiate itself to Western audiences. It’s like they thought, oh, this element is really Chinese, it’s very Oriental, so I’m going to shove it into the film to make everyone feel this is a very ‘Chinese’ film”.
The film is set in the Han era, but uses a post Han era enemy (and one that never directly fought China), while using a lot of much later styles (Song Dynasty), architecture (Ming or Qing), and weapons (Song again). It’s kinda all over the place.
The hashtag #Mulan has already been viewed 1.5 billion times just a week after it’s release in China. Disney expects Mulan to do very well in China but the jury is still out.
Closer home, Mulan has gained traction on social media but ticket sales are still struggling this week.
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