There are a lot of people that are a bit upset because Disney’s new live-action Mulan isn’t going to have Li Shang in it. Prior to this issue some were upset because Mushu wasn’t in it. Even earlier yet, there was the outrage about it not being a musical.
Before today a lot of fans just assumed it was because Disney was focusing more on the cultural backstory of Mulan and basing it more off of the source material and less on the Disney-fied princess story that they usually twist tales into, but that’s apparently only part of the reason.
How it tries to portray the story in a culturally sensitive way:
In this version Li Shang’s character has become two characters Commander Tung (Donnie Yen) and Chen Honghui (Yoson An). Commander Tung is more like a mentor who pushed them, much like Shang did in the “Be a Man” song. Chen Honghui is another soldier like Mulan, who kind is a bit of a replacement for Shang in regards to a more personal relationship.
Like Disney did with films like Moana, they consulted with the people the story was about. Chinese audiences and officials had the opportunity to to weigh in on the film and they asked Disney to cut a kissing scene with Mulan and Chen Honghui from the film due to their ideals. The director, Niki Caro, confirmed this earlier in an interview with THR, stating “It was very beautiful, but the China office went, “No, you can’t, that doesn’t feel right to the Chinese people.” So we took it out.”
They aren’t saying if the kiss was between Mulan and Honghui with her disguised as a man or not. Because of that some feel representation has been hindered.
In the end Disney made the change to respect the culture and values of the people of China, which is home to the story. Plus, China is a big box office that Disney has been courting for quite some time. Sadly, the 70,000 theaters are shut down right now due to the Coronavirus aka Covid 19.
That makes sense. What other reason could they have?
Well the film’s producer Jason Reed is stating that they removed Shang and split him into two characters because of the #metoo movement.
““I think particularly in the time of the #MeToo movement, having a commanding officer that is also the sexual love interest was very uncomfortable and we didn’t think it was appropriate.”–Reed
This does make sense as the early production and script writing for Mulan would have been a couple of years ago when this was more of a viral topic. And from an historical and cultural perspective it would be unlikely that Mulan would have that kind of relationship with a superior officer.
But people really like their Shang, so I can understand why they are a bit upset. It’s a lot of change from the original.
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
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