As live-action version Mulan of Disney was released in September, it received bad reviews from audiences in China. The film was quickly accused of distorting Chinese culture and some compared it to going to a Western restaurant to eat Chinese food.
And recently, a new Chinese-made animated film, also featuring Mulan, was shown, seemingly trying to fix and prove something. It has a name Kung Fu Mulan, advertised in a poster is “Real China, Real Magnolia”.
Unfortunately, the movie turned out to be a tragic failure, even bigger than the Disney product itself.
Hailing from Gold Valley Films, this 3D animated film hit theaters on October 3, on the occasion of the “golden week” holiday celebrating the National Day in China. This is seen as a significant opportunity for domestic films, but it doesn’t seem to be of much benefit either. Kung Fu Mulan .
The main guard in Kung Fu Mulan.
Immediately after its release, the film received a series of negative reviews online. Just three days later, the movie was withdrawn from theaters.
“Someone made the movie Mulan, people exclaimed that they were defaming Chinese culture. Now the Chinese make a movie Mulan like this. I have nothing to say “, a comment on the film review page Douban wrote.
Kung Fu Mulan currently has a score of 3.1 / 10 on Douban based on more than 3,500 user reviews. This number is even worse than 4.9 / 10 Mulan new Disney acquisition, based on more than 213,800 ratings.
Producer Gold Valley Films did not comment. But the studio told Chinese media they were pulling the film out of theaters for “Not having enough resources to compete with other movies released during the holiday season.”
Like a Disney movie, Kung Fu Mulan Based on the original Chinese folktales, about a woman disguised as a man to join the army in place of her sick father. However, the timing of the film’s release and its production quality was relatively low, leading some to initially say that Gold Valley Films was trying to promote. Mulan of Disney, which the studio has denied.
“Mulan’s reputation from Disney has declined like this. What else must we help with?”, directors Kung Fu Mulan, Liao Guanghua, shared with the media in September. “We’re pretty confident about our movie and we believe it will surpass Disney’s new Mulan. Because what we do is a Mulan that perfectly matches the tastes of the Chinese audience.”
Kung Fu Mulan production began in 2015. Unlike the new Disney series, this Chinese film does not provide the superpowers of the main character. Instead, Magnolia possesses a special talent for martial arts. The producer also added a love story, for the protagonist to fall in love with the prince she wants to assassinate and eventually marry him.
Viewers don’t seem to like a romantic love story from a Chinese studio. They criticize Kung Fu Mulan for its ridiculous plot, including its romance and criticism of its crude expressive quality. Some people call the movie “a disgrace to Chinese animation”.
Disney’s Mulan is also seen as a flop this year.
Gold Valley Films is a little-known, Guangzhou-based animation studio founded in 2013. Kung Fu Mulan is one of its four major projects, listed on its website. The rest of the products have content parodies of famous Disney animated movies such as Frozen, Tangled, The Little Mermaid... These are called emulator filmmaking strategies, ie low-budget movies that are based on popular products.
Latest movie Kung Fu Mulan It has a budget of less than $ 15 million and after three days in theaters, it only grossed $ 1.1 million, according to a report from ticketing platform Maoyan.
China’s animation industry has been seeing explosive growth in recent years. While still losing to the US and Japan, Chinese animation is said to have hit a turning point with the release of Nezha (Na Tra) last year. That film is currently the second highest-grossing film ever in the country.
However, some movie-loving viewers say that Kung Fu Mulan is proof that Chinese animation still has a long way to go.