Mulan Fail | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Mulan Fail
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Mulan (trailer screenshot)

There has been a major decline in the screen art between the release of the animated Disney film Mulan in 1998 and its new live-action remake. The original isn’t that great but did make its dubious mark as a feminist twist on the classic Disney princesses. It still maintained some traditionalist bona fides, like a magic little dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy, and the man-disguised heroine falling for her macho superior officer. At the same time, there were plenty of standard role models for boys and girls in the other nine top 10 hits that year: Armageddon (astronauts Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck save the world), Saving Private Ryan (Tom Hanks and the Allies invade Normandy), Godzilla, There’s Something About Mary (Ben Stiller falls for sweet, sexy Cameron Diaz), A Bug’s Life, Deep Impact (astronaut Robert Duvall saves the world), Shakespeare in Love (Gwyneth Paltrow dons a male disguise, but to act not fight), and Lethal Weapon 4 (Mel Gibson in his most iconic role). Every one of those movies other than Lethal Weapon was totally original and unconnected to any extant franchise.

Disney doesn’t care that in real life Mulan would have her head cut off in the first minute of a sword fight, or get taken alive for more familiar sexist abuse.

In the 22 years since, Hollywood has sunk into a dark intersectional mire where minority representation means more than artistic freedom (see the horrendous new Oscar Best Picture qualification rules, which even progressive comedian Bill Maher mocked) and originality, with only Disney Studios keeping it commercially afloat. Embarrassingly, nine of the top 10 box-office hits last year were Disney franchise installments, sequels, or remakes (Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Frozen II, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Captain Marvel, Toy Story 4, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Aladdin, Jumanji: The Next Level). Only six of the pictures had any kind of male lead or appeal: one, Avengers: Endgame, a last hurrah for the three iconic white male superheroes — Iron Man, Captain America, Thor — that launched the cinematic Marvel Comics Universe. Endgame sets up acceptable minority successors for two of them, Thor and Captain America, to get with the times. Besides the many superheroines in Endgame, women leads drove Frozen II, Captain Marvel, and Star Wars. The only non-Disney comic-book white male protagonist in the batch, Joker, is a psychotic villain, a logical protagonist for today.

The Mulan remake was intended to thread the needle between wokeness and entertainment. In 2020, the premise of a girl masquerading as a boy to save her father from warfare runs counter to Hollywood’s concept of the kickass action chick it has forced on the unreceptive public for two decades. Although the old gimmick is necessary for the new Mulan’s more virtuous achievement: escaping traditional marriage, a reactionary fate worse than death. Director Niki Caro — a woman, of course, because Hollywood insists only women can acceptably depict women in combat — solves the dilemma by giving Mulan a superpower known as “chi.” She can now semi-fly and outfight men, so halfway through the film, she discards her repressive male guise and battles as a woman, hear her roar. That her “chi” counters the idea of fair female equality never occurred to the filmmakers. Nor does Mulan pine for her commander, because that would evoke “Me Too” complications.

Disney doesn’t care that in real life Mulan would have her head cut off in the first minute of a sword fight, or get taken alive for more familiar sexist abuse. Its message is “You go, baby girl. You don’t want no Prince Charming. You’re Princess Charming!” Uncle Walt must be turning in his grave.

By depriving little girls of feminine, romantic screen models, Hollywood accelerates the mutation of young women that feminism has wrought. First by denying the differences between the two genders — with all the uniquities of womanhood — then abolishing the separate cultivation of them to actually encourage masculine aggression in females. To make things worse, screen models for boys have almost entirely vanished, especially with the cancellation of their last refuge — cop films and TV shows. You can see the result in the current violent protests, where the most profane, assaultive instigators are women and the majority of men emasculated wretches. This metrosexual dichotomy extends to most people in every news medium except Fox News.

But the biggest problem to have arisen since Mulan 1998 is Hollywood subservience not to political correctness but the Chinese Communist Party, with Mulan 2020 the worst offender, as described in an August American Spectator article by Avery Bower. The released film proved even more obsequious to the CCP than Avery anticipated. For one thing, it was filmed in Xingjiang, where millions of Uyghur Muslims are being imprisoned and real women — not imaginary Mulan “girl power” types — sterilized and forced to abort their children. In the end credits, Disney thanks the publicity department of the Chinese Communist Party Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee and the Bureau of Public Security, the very entity conducting these horrors.

Ironically, the studio’s commie groveling didn’t pay off. Mulan has bombed in China. According to Forbes, “The film isn’t clicking with Chinese moviegoers, and Disney made a mistake to presume they would automatically show up.” Their greatest misjudgment was believing that the people in a country infamous for its mistreatment of women would flock to see one defending it with super warrior skills. That’s a fairy tale even Disney couldn’t sell.

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