Mulan (2020) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is desperately trying to differentiate itself from the past while still hitting all the same story points.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Mulan. Image Credit: Disney.

Mulan Review

When I was growing up, I was at the perfect age for the original animated Mulan. It was this joyous riot of humour with music that I can still repeat verbatim today. However, it is also one of those films that as you grow up and the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia start to fade you begin to see it is not a film without its issues. With that in mind, this was one of the only Disney remakes that I was interested to see remade in live-action, but I am not sure it got to where it wanted to go.

So to set the scene, along the Northern Silk Road, a witch Xianniang (Gong Li) is helping a Rouran warlord Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee) attack garrisons of the Imperial Chinese Empire. To respond to this threat, the Emperor (Jet Li) signs an edict that one man from each household must be conscripted into the army to fight the menace. This is a dilemma for one family because the only man is Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma) who badly injured his leg in the last war and has only daughters. Being called up to the army would be a death sentence for him, something his wife Hua Li (Rosalind Chao) sees. Seeing the inevitable outcome, Zhou’s daughter Mulan (Yifei Liu) takes his place even though it would mean her death if she is found out.

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Movie Review – Tigertail (Hǔwěi, 虎尾)

TL;DR – A methodical and sad film at times while still holding onto that one bit of hope    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Tigertail (Hǔwěi, 虎尾). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Of the many types of films I watch, it has been quite a while since I sat down and watched a small contemplative film that slowly unfolds over its run time. Well, that changed today with our film Tigertail, a film that feels autobiographical even though I have no idea if it is or not because its focus of characters is that good.

So to set the scene, we open in on a young child running through the rice fields of central Taiwan, he mostly alone but he finds a moment of happiness when he runs into a local girl. However, as we jump to the present we discover that the years have not been entirely kind to Grover (Tzi Ma) as he is driving home from the airport by his daughter Angela (Christine Ko) after attending his mother’s funeral back in Taiwan. There is an instant distance between the two, with each side wanting to help but not knowing how to proceed.

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Movie Review – Arrival

TL;DR – A beautiful story of loss, change, the role of language,  and how it’s better to work together than apart, a movie we kind of need at the moment.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Arrival - Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review – Arrival, based on the short story by Ted Chiang, is a really interesting movie as it looks at issues that are not usually covered in science fiction or indeed movies in general. It is a fascinating look into language and its role in shaping culture and society but also what happens when the unknown actually happens and how do we respond to that. While I loved Arrival its one of those movies that I think will be quite polarising as you may indeed find it either meditative or ponderous, I myself fall into the first camp.

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