Tag Archives: Jason Scott Lee

My Thoughts on: Mulan (2020)

After waiting 9 additional months (thanks COVID), I have finally seen Disney’s reimagined Mulan while visiting home for Christmas and I’m pleased to report I liked it just as much as I thought I would.

It’s no secret that I have extremely mixed emotions where the live-action Disney remakes are concerned (the fact that most of them are inferior to the original doesn’t help). But from the moment I saw the first teaser, Mulan felt different. It felt to me like Disney had finally hit the right balance of new and old, such as I hadn’t seen since Maleficent in 2014 (despite the title that is very much a remake of Sleeping Beauty and you all know it). My curiosity was definitely piqued by the film appearing to draw on traditional Chinese martial arts films (wuxia is awesome), so I was super excited to finally check the film out with my mom like we’d always planned.

In case you didn’t know, this new Mulan is really, really good. As with any other Disney remake, there are story beats that come directly from the animated original, but they’re switched up just enough in this film that they’re actually an improvement. One of my favorite details is that the songs of Mulan (one of my favorite sets of songs in the Disney renaissance), make a subdued comeback in the form of spoken dialogue. I absolutely loved this, it was great to hear mentions of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and “A Girl Worth Fighting For.” Hopefully the many Disney fans upset (like me) about Mulan not being a musical were appeased by this, I know I was.

But my favorite part of this film has to be the witch. This is not something I thought I would say a year ago. When it was announced that a witch was being added to the story, I thought it was a stupid idea, but that was before I realized that this wasn’t your stereotypical witch. The witch in Mulan is cool! In fact, she’s so interesting, I would almost demand that Disney make a prequel about how the witch got to be who she is, I can tell there’s a huge story there. Of course she’s designed to be a foil to Mulan, showing what our heroine might become if pushed down the wrong path, and I really liked the obvious similarities between the pair.

Another thing I liked? Jason Scott Lee as Bori Khan. He is a huge improvement over the animated villain Shan Yu, as we now have a much more defined reason for why Bori Khan wants to kill the Emperor. Also, I wanted to mention him because Jason Scott Lee also played Mowgli in Disney’s FIRST live action remake of The Jungle Book in 1994, and I thought it was really cool to see him in a Disney movie again.

Also, while I’m still upset that Li Shang is absent from this film, I AM okay with how Disney kept in a potential love interest for Mulan anyway. I say potential because nothing has officially happened by the time the credits roll, but it’s more than obvious that a sequel is being set up, and I would be more than happy to watch one.

One final note: the scene were Mulan finally embraces the truth of her identity as a female warrior is so powerful, it made me cry. Those are the kind of moments I live for in movies, and Disney hit the nail on the head with this one.

Mulan is definitely one of the best Disney live-action remakes the studio has made to date and I would be more than happy to see Mulan’s story continue in a future film.

Let me know what you think about Mulan in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Reviews

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Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

When Disney released a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book last year, many seemed to have forgotten that this was the second live-action version of the story that Disney had ever made. The first was released in 1994 and stars Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli, Lena Headey (aka Cersei in Game of Thrones) as Katherine and Cary Elwes as Boone. I for one, can never wholly forget this film because it has a number of disturbing moments in the second half, one of the most disturbing coming in the Monkey City.

Unlike the animated film, where the Monkey City is just a pile of crumbling ruins, this version is not only loaded with treasure, but is also filled with booby traps of all kinds. Mowgli is forced by Boone and his compatriots to lead them to Monkey City so they can help themselves to the treasure (despite Mowgli’s warnings that the city is dangerous). By the time they get inside the city, most of Boone’s henchmen are dead, but a hunter named Buldeo (who incidentally left Mowgli’s father to die at the beginning of the film) is still alive and he is relentlessly pursuing Mowgli, intent on killing him. But this is complicated because Wilkins (another associate), accidentally shot him in the leg shortly before he was mauled to death by Shere Khan.

Limping all the way, Buldeo seemingly has Mowgli cornered in a sunken pavilion, when a stray shot unexpectedly causes a decoration to burst out of the wall, pouring salt out on the floor. This trips a chain reaction, where more and more decorations burst out, spilling more and more salt, and the reason why becomes clear; as the salt spills out, the roof of the pavilion is slowly lowering, meaning Mowgli and Buldeo are caught in a trap! Mowgli is able to leap out of the pit to safety, but Buldeo is hampered by his wounded leg and must hobble for the stairs, but he is caught in the growing streams of salt.

I’m convinced it is salt and not sand because the material causes Buldeo intense pain in his wounded leg (and salt is very bad for open wounds). Also, this was supposed to be a fantastically wealthy city, so it makes sense to me that the people who built these traps could afford the luxury of using salt as part of the mechanism. All this time the ceiling is slowly but surely descending, to Buldeo’s mounting panic as it becomes clear he will NOT be able to get out in time. By the end, he is futilely pressing against the ceiling in an attempt to stop the inevitable…with a final scream the ceiling clamps down on the floor, entombing Buldeo forever in that small pit, where he will quickly suffocate (unless that salt fills up the space first).

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This scene terrified me as a child, because I would have nightmares of being trapped in that kind of a situation. To this day I can’t believe this film is ONLY rated PG because, in no particular order, we have: a man drowning in quicksand; a man being mauled to death by a tiger, people being shot, falling to their deaths, etc. But of all the deaths, Buldeo being buried alive in the Salt Trap is by far the most disturbing of all. I’d actually nearly put this scene out of my mind but I’m glad I remembered it so I could share it with all of you.

What do you think of the Salt Trap in this film? Does it disturb you? Can you believe they put this in a movie for kids? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it.

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more Disturbing Disney see also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5 The death of Bambi’s Mother

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

Disturbing Disney #18: The Queen’s assignment for her Huntsman

Disturbing Disney #19: Cinderella’s dress is destroyed (1950)

Disturbing Disney #20: Quasimodo is crowned ‘King of Fools’ (1996)

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