Disney’s new live action adaptation is getting a lot of heat online for more reasons than one. The movie, which recently premiered on Disney+, the studio’s own streaming platform, firmly sits at 76% on Rotten Tomatoes (which means it’s Certified Fresh) but has a surprising 56% audience score.
So why are a majority of people displeased with the film? From the initial announcement of the live action adaptation of the Disney classic, the project has received a lot of backlash. From the exclusion of the original animation’s memorable songs and characters (remember, we don’t get Mushu or Shang in this one), to the production team’s desire for a more “realistic” version of the tale, to the lead actress Liu Yifei’s controversial Weibo post supporting the Hong Kong police and police brutality against protesters back in 2019, the many road blocks seem to have ultimately affected the film’s reception once it became available online. Not to mention, you'll need to pay an additional $30 to watch the movie on top of your Disney+ subscription.
But if Mulan’s previous controversies aren’t enough, a tweet points out in the film’s credits that Disney thanked numerous Chinese government agencies for filming in Xinjiang, China. In the reports of CNN, New York Times and Washington Post, Xinjiang is known to house massive detention camps where Uighur Muslims, a Chinese ethnic minority, are being repressed and the said government agencies Disney credits actively take part in various human rights violations.
According to CNN, “The US State Department estimates that since 2015 as many as two million of the Muslim-majority Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities have been imprisoned in enormous re-education camps in Xinjiang.” While NY Times' in depth article states that “human rights activists and legal scholars have called the crackdown in Xinjiang the worst collective human rights abuse in China in decades.” Both news agencies have reached out to Disney for a comment but they have yet to respond.
Meanwhile in China, the live action received a mixed yet still underwhelming reviews, according to Todayonline.com, with an average viewer rating of two to three stars out of five. Though a number of netizens and even celebrities do find the film enjoyable—Reese Witherspoon, for one, has expressed her love for the movie on IG stories—the hashtag #BoycottMulan is gaining a lot of traction on Twitter (yet again) and might tip the scale for failure at the digital box office.
Guess this version of Mulan won’t bring honor to us all.