Story at a glance
- The live action remake of "Mulan" is available on Disney+ for $30 with a subscription.
- The film’s debut, which was initially scheduled for release in theaters this summer, had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Activists are calling for a boycott of the film over tensions between China and Hong Kong, among other controversies.
Disney's long-awaited live action remake of "Mulan" is finally streaming on Disney+ after delays due to the coronavirus pandemic — but it’ll cost you.
The movie requires “Premier Access,” which costs $29.99, in addition to a subscription — which ranges from $6.99 for a month to $69.99 for a year. Some fans felt cheated by the additional price and otheras are saying they will simply hold out until it will be available to stream on Dec. 4.
Guess it comes out December 4th https://t.co/C2J2Xit9jG— Kirk (@diettrade) September 3, 2020
Now, the Milk Tea Alliance, a loose coalition of anti-Chinese imperialist students in Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Hong Kong, is calling for a boycott of the $200 million film altogether.
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“I’ve watched and loved the cartoon version since I was a small child but I can’t stomach going to see this movie after the statements from the actors,” activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal told the Thai Enquirer. “I am sure pro-democracy supporters in Thailand feel the same. It is strange to see the heroes not the big screen and realize they’re the villains in the real world.”
Last year, Crystal Liu, who plays Mulan, reportedly posted a message on the Chinese social media site Weibo, which translated as: “I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now.” In English, the post added: “What a shame for Hong Kong.”
The Chinese-born American actress also known as Liu Yifei was criticized for her support of Hong Kong police officers that have used disproportionate force against pro-democracy protesters throughout the ongoing unrest. Last November, the United States imposed sanctions against mainland China and Hong Kong officials considered responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong and passed a bill banning the export of certain types of crowd control munitions to Hong Kong police.
"It’s obviously a very complicated situation, and I’m not an expert. I hope this all gets resolved soon," Liu told Entertainment Weekly this week.
Mulan has always been about heroism, bravery, and sacrifice; and we already have countless stories like that in the real world. You don't need a fictional film that its actor didn't stand up for anything but police brutality. #BoycottMulan #MilkTeaAlliance https://t.co/waiINFFT8Y— beη️ (@benwonx) September 4, 2020
Meanwhile, activists have found a new Mulan — or "the real Mulan" — in Agnes Chow, an activist arrested this week under a controversial new Chinese security law. Chow has since been released on bail and has not received any formal charges.
“Arrested four times, this is the most horrific one” she wrote on Facebook on August 11. "The road is tough, everyone be careful and take care."
This isn’t the first controversy for the remake, which was heavily targeted to an international audience. Based on the Chinese folklore "The Ballad of Mulan," the remake was filmed in New Zealand and China and features a star-studded cast of Chinese actors and director Niki Caro, the second female director to direct a Disney film with a budget of more than $100 million. But as Americans protest police brutality back home and relations between the two countries remain tense, the politics of the film are complex.
The remake also cut Mulan's love interest Captain Li Shang citing 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," producer Jason Reed told SlashFilm.
But the move was a disappointment to LGBTQ+ fans, who saw Shang's relationship with Mulan's male alter ego Ping as bisexual representation.
“Li Shang in the movie, he became sort of an LGBTQ icon,” Reed told SlashFilm. “So there [was] a little backlash online when we weren’t casting a character named Li Shang. I was actually a little surprised but it made sense without full understanding of what we were doing in the story.”
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