BY EMMA HUERTA
In the Disney cinematic universe, it seems as though new ideas run out quickly and all the movies of the past are remade. Classics including “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast” were transformed into live action versions with the same plots and similar aspects. It was not too long before the time would come for “Mulan” to get its revamp.
On September 4, 2020, the highly anticipated remake of Disney’s hit movie “Mulan” was released on their streaming platform, Disney+. However, this came not only with a catch, but a multitude of controversies as well. Get ready, there’s a lot to cover.
Although Disney+ is a service that requires a subscription– of $6.99 a month, to be exact– in order to access all its content, the platform charged members an additional cost in order to watch “Mulan.” Contrary to popular expectations, this extra cost was not a measly couple of dollars more, but rather a whole $30, multiple times more expensive than a simple movie theater ticket for a new cinematic release. In other words, Disney really charged customers– that are already paying for their services in the first place– an extra cost higher than a cinema ticket in order to stream a movie at home.
“Personally, I don’t find it fair that Disney+, a service where people pay to stream, is having customers pay an additional $30 to watch ‘Mulan,’” CCHS senior Drew Okun said. “This just opens the door to other services forcing customers to pay extra to watch. I understand that they are attempting to simulate the movie theatre experience, but it just doesn’t feel right to me.”
Despite the ridiculousness that one has to endure in order to simply watch “Mulan,” its controversies don’t stop there. In fact, the movie’s production itself prompted outrage, after viewers noticed that Disney thanked the authorities from the Chinese region of Xinjiang in the credits.
The issue is that this is the same Chinese agency that has been committing serious human rights violations in the region, according to the U.S. government. Since 2015, it has been estimated that over two million Chinese Uigher Muslims and other Turkic minorities have been detained and abused near Xinjiang. While the Chinese government insists that these are “re-education” centers, the abuse these people have endured under Chinese authority is reminiscent of ethnic cleansing and concentration camps, as they are being forced into unlawful incarceration and to abandon their customs in an attempt to wipe out their culture.
“I find it problematic that Disney not only chose to film in Xinjiang, but thanked the government.”CCHS junior Dylan Bober
Now, regardless of these pure horrors, Disney decided it would be a grand idea to film in Xinjiang and show gratitude to an agency responsible for an entire human rights crisis in the 21st century. The fact that Disney showed support for this agency was incredibly ignorant of the issues occurring in the region and was truly disgusting.
“I find it problematic that Disney not only chose to film in Xinjiang, but thanked the government,” CCHS junior Dylan Bober said. “This same government has put as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps just miles from where Disney [was] filming.”
Adding fire to an already-burning flame, the main actress in “Mulan,” Liu Yikei, has additionally been an outspoken supporter of the Hong Kong police force since 2019. Yes, the same police force infamous for excessive force on peaceful protesters and journalists, being against pro-democracy demonstrations and rejecting the autonomy of Hong Kong.
“I also haven’t watched it and will not watch it because the main actress does not support the Hong Kong protests,” CCHS senior Kaylynn Nguyen said.
“I also haven’t watched it and will not watch it because the main actress does not support the Hong Kong protests.”CCHS senior Kaylynn Nguyen
The issues don’t stop there. While some fans have been preoccupied by the minor issue of the absence of iconic character Mushu in the film, Disney’s “Mulan” also carries undertones of Islamophobia, showcases historical and geographical inaccuracies and portrays the message that women must know their place in order to succeed in life. Not to mention the majority-white crew behind the film, which severely limits any accurate representation in its production. The movie is jam-packed not with action, but with ethical concerns instead, adding onto a seemingly-endless list of reasons why not to watch it.
From ethical, to financial, to cultural problems and everything in between, Disney’s new “Mulan” movie was innately bound to be problematic. If there’s only one thing you take from this article, let it be a warning: just don’t watch this film.
“I think the movie was overhyped and did not live up to its expectations,” CCHS senior Mini Van said. “There were so many things that were wrong about the movie and I did not like it one bit. Stick to the original!”
Photo courtesy of The Observer