Movie Review: Mulan 2020

As is true for many of you, we recently watched Disney’s newly released movie, Mulan, a live action version of the earlier animated film. I don’t have clear memories of the previous Mulan (1998), so I was able to enjoy this movie on its own merits without comparison.

If you’ve seen the first version, you know the story. Disney did a good job refreshing it and keeping it engaging. Likable story. Most of the characters created a level of empathy in me. The conflict and resolution were satisfying. It is predictable to some level. Mulan’s struggle, to be so gifted yet so restricted in her culture at the time, gave it a universal theme. The lead actress in this role, Yifei Liu, brought the character to life.

As with most Disney stories, we watch for some humor and some darkness. Battle scenes and war are never relaxing, never the first choice in a movie for me, but predicting that the good will probably prevail helped. It’s Disney, after all. Not American politics.

Some will want to know what age group this movie would be appropriate for, would appeal to. Those are two different questions. It will depend on the child and the parenting style. The fighting and death might be of concern for younger kids. It is a movie filled with angst with more mature themes of hiding who you really are and the destructive pain of feeling alone. Some children will connect with that on their own level. Some may be too young.

For a better review of what age groups to share it with and major themes to consider first, check out Common Sense Media for their in-depth review and comments.

Common Sense Media Movie Reviews: Mulan (2020)

You’ve probably heard that Mulan (2020) is available on Disney + (Disney Plus) for a fee of $29.99, on top of your fee for channel access. So one has to decide if that is worth it. This streaming movies for a fee on top of subscriptions is new to me, and part of some business models since the pandemic closed the theaters. It could be a win-win. Here in the Los Angeles area, we need the movie industry to survive. It is a major employer in our area and does provide a service, for better or worse. Perhaps this helps the industry create some sort of income.

People have shared that it is cheaper than going to the theater. Perhaps, if you pay regular ticket prices. We are seniors, so we do not. They also mention adding in the cost of popcorn and drinks. True, that boosts the cost of the evening. So in this case, spend $30 and then make your own popcorn, pour your own drinks, and use your own bathroom.

If you have a family of even three or four, you’ve at least broken even by then, and still enjoy the convenience of your own home. Each person will determine if it is worth $30 or not. The cost does go down the bigger the viewing group, so there’s that.

Here’s another great article about Chinese culture captured in the movie, Mulan. For those readers interested in gaining further understanding into other cultures, this is a good article.

Chinese Culture Reflected in Disney’s Mulan (2020)

Here’s a list of some of the information shared in the article that I found interesting:

  • Based on a Chinese folk story created long ago
  • Explanation of Mulan’s make-up in the matchmaker scene
  • Understanding the Chinese characters on her father’s sword – loyal, brave, and true.
  • The meaning of the phoenix in Chinese culture
  • Definition of a “qualified wife” in feudal China

Have you watched the movie? What did you think?

How do you feel about the fee to view?

Did you know being a matchmaker was a serious occupation for women at the time of Mulan’s story? Would you like that as a career choice?

[Spoiler alert] Did you miss the 1998 character, Mushu?

Stay loyal, brave, and true, my friends!

The One and Only Ivan

One of the things I enjoy about “safer at home” orders is that movies are released straight to streaming. Saturday night we watched The One and Only Ivan. It was my choice. I’d read and loved the children’s book a while back and was looking forward to the movie recently released.

The One and Only Ivan Book

I was glad I’d forgotten much of the story details so that I was truly free to enjoy the movie without comparing it too closely. For me, the book usually wins as better than the movie.

Here is the trailer for you.

I found the movie sweet and enjoyable. I laughed, teared up, smiled, cheered, and went along for the ride. I loved the characters – all of them. Human and animal. I thought the visual effects were engaging and helped me suspend belief when the animals spoke. Thankfully, they all followed the rule of speaking only to other animals and not to humans. I liked the storyline and the different twists. Though a straight forward plot and familiar dilemma, it was a perfect movie for a relaxing break from reality.

My husband watched it with me. Although not his first choice for a movie genre, he felt it was pleasant enough. This is a good family movie. Remember, I am not a movie critic. I simply know what I like, and that is usually good enough.

Going to movies was a big deal and a rare event when I was a child. Now our TV monitor is large, has clarity and good color, along with the excellent sound. I still enjoy going to the movies, but staying home to stream them is more convenient, cheaper, and just as enjoyable. The popcorn was homemade and deliciously fresh. The bathroom is convenient and clean. No one in the room talked, used their phones, or sat too close to me (hello, introverts!). Well, my husband sat close, but that’s different. The movie experience was without disruption, a win for home viewing.

The One and Only Ivan, based on a true story, was worth watching. Please watch it to the very end. There is some information on the true Ivan, as well as a little surprise. The monkey from Pirates of the Caribbean screams onto the screen. You know that is not true, but don’t stop before the credits.

Stay artistic, my friends!

And the Winner Is….

The Academy Awards, also known as Oscars Night, happens this Sunday, March 4. I’ll be watching. How about you?

The Oscars

Photo Credit: The Indian Express

Since I now live in the Los Angeles area, award season events, especially the Academy Awards, are annual TV events to watch at our house. The entertainment industry is big in our area, and that’s part of why I watch. Plus, I enjoy movies and TV programs. They tell stories, educate, and entertain, taking me out of my own busy life for a time. We also watch to stay culturally relevant.

The hosts, the openings, some of the speeches, and many of the dresses add to the interest of awards events. The red carpet entrances are also part of the fun. I become a critic of it all from my viewing vantage point.

We enjoy voting for the various categories. If you are looking for online forms to print for home use, here is one option: In Style Oscars 2018 Ballot

My friends and I have had parties over the years to watch together, as have many of you. After all, it is more fun to talk and share it all with others. The voting added an enjoyable competitive nature to the gathering. We shared appetizers and desserts.

One year, we dressed up representing our favorite movie of the year. We saw some very clever outfits. My friend and I both came as Shrek, not knowing we’d chosen the same movie.

We oooooohhh and ahhhh at beautiful dresses or raise our eyebrows in criticism over other dresses. Remember this dress (below)? And the “What Was She Thinking” Award goes to…

If I had to pick a dress, I’d prefer a soft pink dress. Modest. Flat shoes. This would be perfect.

Find your Oscar dress style with this fun little quiz: What Is Your Oscars Red Carpet Dress Style? 

The night does get complicated. The hosts, presenters, and winners’ speeches often voice opinions on politicians or express points of view on controversial issues. That has taken the enjoyment out of watching for people. I still find it interesting to hear the different perspectives on current topics, leaders, and passionate causes.

Some celebrities walk right up to the line of decency in their comments. Some march right through that line. Some celebrities give amazing speeches that are touching, sharing about their journey and growth, meaningful work and relationships, and words of appreciation. I have really enjoyed many acceptance speeches over the years.

Some friends work hard to see nominated movies before the Academy Awards. We go see movies that interest us, or watch them at home. We like to see movies nominated for Best Picture, if they sound like we’d like them. I also like to see Best Animated Features, though I do some of that viewing on my computer.

Some nominated movies are just too dark, edgy, and troubling for me, so I skip those. I’m sure I’ve missed some outstanding performances. That is OK with me. Images I put in my mind are tough to get out, so I choose carefully. There is wisdom in wimping out for me, anyway.

Since December, we’ve seen and enjoyed…

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Not many have been nominated for Best Picture, but they are all Best Pictures for us. And that’s what really matters to us anyway.

Whether you go to the theater or not, watch the Oscars or not, I hope you enjoy something that is fun for you this weekend.

And stay charming, my friends!

Best Picture

  • Call Me by Your Name (didn’t see it)
  • Darkest Hour (hope to see it)
  • Dunkirk (didn’t see it)
  • Get Out (didn’t see it – but thinking about seeing it)
  • Lady Bird (saw it)
  • Phantom Thread (didn’t see it)
  • The Post (saw it; I hope it wins, but doubt it will.)
  • The Shape of Water (didn’t see it)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (didn’t see it)