Friday, January 22, 2021

When they find out who you are, they will show you no mercy.

I love the idea of bringing honor to one's family. It's a bit old-school, sure, but that doesn't make it any less romantic. You just imagine some noble person, wind blowing in their rugged face, doing something grand...and it's just...well, is it getting hot in here? 

Personally, my ultimate goal, whenever I haphazardly take a moment to think of someone other than myself, is to simply not embarrass the people around me. *has blog* Okay, not embarrass them tremendously. *reads blog*

I have brought great shame to us all. 

Shockingly, after it's somewhat lukewarm reception, it turns out Disney has not brought any great level of shame upon the mouse-house with it's live-action re-imagining of Mulan. Okay, remaking all of their timeless classics (which are each essentially rip-offs of classic tales) is pretty flipping shameful, I suppose, but still - the movie doesn't suck. At least not hard.

Sure, absent are the rad songs like I'll Make a Man Out of You (Donny Osmond!) and, uh...others? Forget about Mushu and anything resembling light-hearted fun, 'cause they's gone, too. Turns out there's no honor in humor, right? But left in their absence, is a beautifully photographed epic, with a pleasing mix of action and intrigue, woven into a tale as old as time. Oop, I think I got my live-action remakes confused again...

Anyway, it's not a stretch to say that you've seen this movie before, because obviously, you have, but even on my TV (and not the big screen this should've debuted on) the new Mulan still felt pretty epic. Newcomer Yifei Liu does an admirable job with the title character, even though I've always found Mulan's raging internal conflict ridiculous (girl, you can kick all these dude's asses...and we want you to. Remove that staff from your arse and get to it already). But for me, it was the presence of stalwarts Donnie Yen and Tzi Ma that kept me enlisted, not to mention Jason Scott Lee and a fairly unrecognizable Jet Li, too. While none of these fine gents has a large part, it's still highly enjoyable seeing them all together, shouting instructions and/or looking on stoically.
I'm not sure I'd want an entire army of dudes that are unable to notice that that's a woman.

Speaking of fine gents, it appears the Yays and Boos are secretly taking the place of their one-legged father in this upcoming war of words. Alright, it's more like the Battle to Stay Awake, but it's pretty honorable, right? Fine, it's not that either. Do you have to be such a yinjing?

Every time she scratches her nails down someone else's back
I feel it.
  • I know this is a family episode of this show, but that witch lady is fine as ...heck.
  • Probably the first time I've Yay'd someone getting dressed but here we are.
  • I'm not sure what's wrong with me (other than a lot), but I've started to think if there is any famous person I love so much, that I would, like, take a day off from work if something happened to them. (I'm stupid, I know, but I also hate my job [mostly]). Anyway, and I don't say this lightly, Donnie Yen might be that person. Obviously, young Yen is an absolute ass-kicking machine, but good God do I love grizzled, older Yen so much. I am one with The Force. The Force is with me.
  • Already mentioned it, I know, but honestly, this film is breath-taking at times. Even if it's kind of silly (and possibly too earnest) it's shot in such a grand manner, you're kind of obligated to buy in, you know?
  • Oh, and can you really be all that mad in a flick that features multiple horse flips? No, no you can not. (to clarify, people flip from horse to horse, at no time does a horse do an actual flip BUT CAN YOU IMAGINE?)
  • During the Salt Mine Level, there's a pretty sweet mid-boss fight with Mulan and the aforementioned With Lady that might be worth the price of admission alone (uh, you didn't pay for this, remember?). Well, then.
  • I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't even know the emperor was Jet Li. Not even the slightest hint. But, I did, quite honestly, enjoy whoever that was kicking all kinds now it's even better.
  • As much as I groaned when I saw this was two hours long, it moved pretty briskly.
  • And finally, not that I need my Disney remakes to all by gritty or whatever, but I can appreciate what they were going for here. The heart of the story is intact, and Mulan is still an admirable character, and removing all of (well, most of) the fun was a risky maneuver. Shoot, even if it didn't entirely pay off, they gambled, and even if it's a small roll of the dice, I'm all for shaking things up. Well, sort of, as this blog has been one thing, and one thing only for almost a decade: awful.
I read this Ma's retiring and I all I can say is he better not.

  • Young Mulan! Stop working on your wire-fu skills with that chicken and come down here this instant.
  • Is that Mulan? - my mostly blind, possibly racist wife, every time a new character appeared on screen.
  • Thank God for guard duty, as I wouldn't wanna shower with these clowns, either. I think we can all agree that naked guys are just the worst.
  • Have you even showered once yet? Ew, David, er Mulan.
  • If I remember correctly, the narrator makes a bit of a shocking return visit, pretty much an hour after we had last heard from him...which was a bit jarring.
  • So, there's this running bit about the soldiers needing to get to the top of this mountain without spilling two pails of water - you know, typical warrior training montage-y stuff. We all know that Mulan is going to be the first one to do it, which is fine, but the way it's handled is ridiculous. Not only does she do it in absolute record time (maybe three seconds total), she also starts an absurdly powerful avalanche mere moments before landing on her already running horse, who was somehow entirely privy to this plan. If you think my description of this event is poorly constructed, see it for yourself. I dare you.
  • Is it stupid that I hate that this film is in English? Because I do. Emphatically. I get that no kid wants to read for two hours, but...
  • ...honestly, no kid wants to watch this for two hours, either. (my two hooligans bounced about five minutes in [jerks])
  • Speaking of mad disrespect, I had a hard time with the general (and pretty much everyone) telling Mulan, You're a disgrace to us all. Now lead us. 
  • The finale rightfully features some giant spinning beam that makes pretty much zero sense, but being that Mulan was just talking to a lady who turns into a bird right before, I guess I shouldn't be too upset.
  • Hey, Mulan, it turns out you are a great warrior and we never should have underestimated you. Your prize? A job in the military. What the what? That's it? How about a tiny, talking dragon instead?
  • And finally, and this likely isn't this film's fault, but I watched Mulan, in its entirety, with my wife, on New Year's Day. And here I am, finally cobbling together an incoherent post in what pretty much feels like late March. *sigh* Maybe, just maybe, I'll rejoin society next year.
While the contents of this blog may indeed bring great shame to my family, can I tell you, I recently got in touch with my legendary high-school headmaster and he claims to be interested in checking out Two Dollar Cinema for himself. *gasp*

See, Mr. T is currently writing a novel about samurais, which sounds brilliant, and I foolishly mentioned that I, too, like to write on occasion. I mean, this guy, he's like my dad, assuming my dad were a cool, older Japanese teacher-man. Honestly, I have no idea what to do. I could let him down and simply never tell him the site's address. Or I could do the right thing...the honorable thing...

and commit seppuku immediately.


  1. I was excited for a different take on this and turns out that nothing can compare with the animated take. It bothered me that this Mulan was basically just hiding super powers. I think the costumes were beautiful and I was never bored, but I didn't *feel* anything.

    1. I definitely hold the animated one in a higher regard, but I came to that one so late, it doesn't really hold much of an emotional connection for me. You were probably the perfect age when you saw it. Me? I think I was like, 38?

      Your last sentence is spot-on. It looked really pretty, and was fine...but, yeah, my heart wasn't ever really in it.

  2. I am so here for Schitt's Creek references, ha!
    I really missed some of the songs but I agree with you - this was decent.

    1. (that's just the best show ever, I'm convinced)

      Hahaha...I would have loved to hear some of the songs, but holy moly, would they have felt out of place here! Honestly, Mulan...why so serious??