Disney is currently enjoying huge success with its live-action Beauty and the Beast, with the movie set to easily make $1 billion at the box office. Previous live-action remakes have also served the House of Mouse well, including Cinderella and The Jungle Book. With more remakes lined up, including The Lion King and Dumbo, Disney certainly seem to have faith that their most popular animated movies can successfully be reborn in live-action format.
Mulan is one such remake in the works, with Niki Caro (Whale Rider) already lined up to direct. First released in 1998, Mulan was well-received, earning Academy Award nominations and grossing over $300 million at the worldwide box office. As with most Disney movies, its soundtrack was a key part of the film, with songs such as 'Reflection' and 'I'll Make a Man Out of You' now widely regarded as Disney songbook classics. Therefore, it was a big surprise when Caro recently said in an interview that the live-action Mulan would not be a musical.
Caro has now clarified her comments, speaking to the LA Times. While she initially said that from what she understood there wouldn't be any musical numbers, she has now explained that no decision has been made on music at all:
“I don’t know where that’s come from. We’ve never talked about songs, and no decision has been made.”
Possibly Caro was altering her stance following an intense backlash over her initial comments, which she described as "getting trolled." But it's easy to see why her initial remark provoked such a strong reaction. Fans want to see a recreation of the animated classic in live-action format, with near enough the same dialogue, costumes, and yes, songs, as the original. This is especially true when the soundtrack makes up such an important part of the movie.
Then again, maybe Caro's initial comments were taken out of context and really, no decision has been made just yet. In either case, it's a pretty safe bet that behind the scenes, many conversations about the inclusion of music will be taking place. Certainly Beauty and the Beast is proof that a live-action musical is something moviegoers still enjoy, and to that end, the songs used in The Jungle Book also worked incredibly well. Both movies added to their animated counterparts, but succeeded in capturing the spirit of the originals even with new songs, dialogue and characters added in.
Mulan is a tale that can be told without being a musical, of course, but the point is that with the songs included, it goes from being a good story to a great one - and with the right casting, Disney could enjoy another huge success. It's good to know that there is light (and possibly music) at the end of the tunnel.
Source: LA Times
- Mulan (2020) release date: Mar 27, 2020