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Senior Citizen Kane: Mulan

Niki Caro

After 2019 brought us shiny new versions of Dumbo, Aladdin and The Lion King, this year kicks off with a live action adaptation of the Chinese legend of Mulan. In its new format, the film leaves behind any cuteness and moves into the world of Chinese martial heroes (the genre of ‘wuxia’ stories), following in the footsteps of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Zhang Yimou’s Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Curse Of The Golden Flower. Prepare for more breathtaking dashes across those roof tiles and gravity-defying bounding up the walls...

“It is an epic journey that will transform Mulan into a true warrior”

When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Chinese Army to defend the country from the marauding Hun tribes, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of a venerated warrior, steps in to take the place of her now ailing father. Disguised as a man by the name of Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her innermost strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform Mulan into a true warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation... and a proud father.

Whilst the lead actress Liu Yifei may not (yet) be widely known in Europe, many of the supporting cast bring years of screen experience. Mulan’s chief antagonist, the powerful shapeshifting witch Xian Lang, is played by Gong Li (Raise The Red Lantern) and martial arts specialist Jet Li (Fearless) is The Emperor. Directed by Niki Caro (who wrote and directed Discovery favourite Whale Rider), this is one adaptation that offers a distinctly new vision and an entirely different level of live action wizardry.