Among the many worries we’ve had with Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan, the biggest sticking point is what the filmmakers will do with regards to adapting the animated movie’s songs and singing sequences. After all, the only reason Mulan defeated the Huns was because of the masterpiece that is ‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.”
But while previous reports stated that Mulan will have instrumental versions of the animated movie’s songs, it appears the final product won’t even have that.
During a Q&A about Mulan (via Buzzfeed), director Niki Caro revealed that not only will there be no singing but there won’t be any songs in the film either.
As for why she made the choice to not include songs from the original animated masterpiece, Niki explains that the tunes didn’t fit into the “realistic” direction she and Disney had in mind for Mulan, saying “we don’t tend to break into song when we go to war.”
Okay fair, most soldiers don’t break out into songs like ‘A Girl Worth Fighting For’ when marching to battle against the Huns. But I’m pretty sure “realistic” battles don’t involve shape-shifting witches and phoenixes either so I’m not entirely sure what Niki’s definition of “realism” means in this context. Maybe it’s code for “no one can sing ‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You’ so we had to cut the songs.”
But having said that, Niki did say Mulan will “honour the music from the animation in a very significant way” though she didn’t elaborate further. That could literally mean anything from having orchestral renditions of original movie’s songs be sprinkled into the soundtrack to some background character playing ‘Reflection’ in the background.
To be fair to Disney and Niki Caro, there’s no way to make everyone happy with a live-adaptation of Mulan. There will be a contingent of fans who will be upset that the movie wasn’t faithful to the original animated film and there’ll also be a contingent of folks who will be upset that the movie was too faithful to the original. It’s a lose-lose situation really.
We’ll just have to see how the finished version of Mulan will look and how the titular heroine will defeat the Huns without the power of songs like ‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You’ when it comes out on March 2020.
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