Original voice actress Ming-Na Wen playfully throws shade at Disney’s live-action Mulan for not including the iconic haircutting scene.
Ming-Na Wen playfully throws shade at Disney’s live-action Mulan for not including the iconic haircutting scene. Wen is a Disney legend in her own right, having made her mark on both the Marvel universe (as Melinda May on Agents of SHIELD) and Star Wars (with a guest appearance on The Mandalorian). Before all that, though, she became a Disney princess when she voiced Mulan in the original 1998 film. Disney’s Mulan remake has also found a way to pay tribute to Wen by featuring her in a cameo, which many fans appreciated.
Unlike most of Disney’s live-action remakes, Mulan deviates a fair amount from its source material. Many changes were made to stick closer to the original legend and to honor Chinese culture; because of that, Mulan’s dragon sidekick Mushu was removed from this version, and her love interest Li Shang was essentially split into two characters in consideration of the Me Too movement. Additionally, Mulan is no longer a musical, and the villains are completely new characters. These changes, while controversial for some fans, make sense when one considers the desire to be more respectful to the source material, but there’s one alteration some are finding especially egregious.
A major moment in the 1998 Mulan comes when Mulan cuts her hair with her father’s sword to she can properly pretend to be a man. However, this never comes in the live-action movie, with Mulan letting down her long hair even being viewed as an empowering moment. Still, Wen couldn’t resist poking fun at the scene’s removal in a new interview with The New York Times:
I’m sure Yifei is going to get incredible accolades as the live-action Mulan, but I hope everyone will still have a little place in their hearts for the animated Mulan. I mean, at least she cut her hair! [Laughs]
Many have noted that not having Mulan cut her hair feels like an odd choice, especially since there’s very little she (and actress Liu Yifei) does to appear more masculine. Plus, the scene from the original film is still a high point among fans. After all, who doesn’t feel immense satisfaction when Mulan cleanly slices through her hair like that? However, it seems likely that Disney opted to leave it out because they wanted Mulan to release her hair the climactic battle, which makes for quite the visual.
Not only is Mulan the one live-action remake to make drastic changes from its original film, it’s also the one with the strangest release strategy and the most controversy. Mulan debuted on Disney+ this weekend in most markets due to the ongoing pandemic, and there have been calls for a boycott of the film because of Liu’s political views. While not quite as dramatic, the lack of a hair cutting scene feels like another strike against Disney’s new Mulan, though some might be willing to overlook it. Wen just doesn’t seem like one of them.
More: Your Biggest Mulan On Disney+ Questions, Answered
Source: The New York Times
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