After much anticipation and some balking at the steep streaming price, the live-action Mulan film has arrived on Disney+. Despite more than twenty years of nostalgia banked since the original animated Mulan‘s release in 1998, the film hasn’t had a smooth arrival. Like so many other shows and films, it suffered a delayed release due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now that it’s arrived, however, renewed calls are being made to #BoycottMulan.
The calls to boycott the live-action Mulan aren’t new, by the way, they actually stem from over a year ago. They began when the film’s lead actress, Liu Yifei, voiced her support of the Hong Kong police. According to The Guardian, Yifei posted on Weibo in August 2019, writing, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Yifei has more than 65 million followers on Weibo, and also added #IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice and a heart emoji to the post.
Essentially, her words were viewed as controversial at best and supportive of police brutality at worst. While the events of the past year have probably clouded out a lot, the clashes between pro-democracy protestors and police in Hong Kong have been hard to forget. At the time of her comments, the Hong Kong police were being accused of human rights violations and clashes between police and protestors were getting increasingly violent.
Now, people are calling for a boycott of Mulan with renewed focus. As well as Yifei, Mulan actor Donnie Yen is also being criticised for not supporting pro-democracy protestors more vocally. It remains to be seen how this could affect the film’s reception. If you’re on the fence, perhaps just watch the original? It’s the only one that has Mushu after all.