When we’re watching the latest blockbuster at a Megaplex theater, we look forward to the trailers of upcoming movies, and it’s among the reasons why we continue to patronize movie theaters even with the advent of streaming services. For 2019, we’re big on women empowerment and we’re not disappointed because there are two flicks that we’re excited about. We’re talking about Mulan and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, both of which are part of a hugely successful movie franchise.
Yes, we have high expectations but that’s to be expected. Both, for one thing, are Disney movies and Disney being Disney, we can’t help it.
Walt Disney Pictures produced the blockbuster animated flicks, Mulan, which children and adults loved for its engaging storyline, its strong female character, and its soundtrack. We loved the singing, especially Mulan, because the songs were relatable and catchy, as well as Mushu whose wisecracking ways added levity to an otherwise serious theme.
The 2019 Mulan isn’t animated but a live action flick so there are significant differences between its predecessors. According to sources, for example, the live action flick will have a more serious approach as befitting the story. Such an observation can also be made from the trailers released by Disney so far – there are battle scenes and martial arts displays but there are no Mushu and no singing.
We would miss the songs and Mushu, of course, but we also like that Disney decided to give Mulan a live action treatment. There’s something inherently appealing about watching actors portraying their roles to perfection so much so that the audience becomes transported to another age and time.
In Mulan’s case, it’s the time when China was still ruled by an emperor. Mulan, of course, isn’t actually a confirmed historical figure but a well-known Chinese legend that represents female empowerment.
In the Mulan legend, the Emperor of China issued a decree that each family must put forth a man to serve in the Imperial Army as part of the empire’s effort to prevent the invasion of China by the Northern tribes. Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an elderly warrior, dressed up as a man and volunteered to take up her father’s place in the army. But her family doesn’t know what she did and it’s a decision that may well get her family into trouble.
But Mulan isn’t your typical sheltered girl either! She isn’t just beautiful but she’s also determined, spirited and skilled in martial arts, as well as quick on her feet. She overcomes the challenges that come her way during training and battles, and she comes out a heroine.
Talk about being the underdog and coming out on top!
Mulan stars Liu Yifei, a Chinese-American actress chosen from among hundreds who auditioned for the role, in the eponymous role. Other actors include Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jason Scott Lee, and Jet Li, to name a few.
The film is schedule for theatrical release in the United States on March 27, 2020.
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil
Disney is known for putting a unique spin to fairy tales and we loved its treatment of the Sleeping Beauty story in Maleficent. We even think that casting Angelina Jolie in the title role was a genius move! Jolie made Maleficent more human and less villainous, a character whose innate goodness wasn’t destroyed by the betrayal of the person she considered her beloved friend and lover.
Of course, Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora was also a great move. Fanning has an air of innocence combined with strength of character about her, not to mention that she’s such a beautiful young lady. Her young blond beauty contrasts nicely with Jolie’s worldly brunette beauty, a juxtaposition that works well onscreen.
As in the 2014 original movie, the 2019 sequel puts Maleficent and Princess Aurora at odds albeit for a different reason. While Maleficent hated Princess Aurora before, she now loves her too much and it’s causing issues in their relationship.
Princess Aurora has also grown up and prepares to be queen. Amidst the tension in their personal relationship, the moors and the magical creatures within are being threatened by new adversaries. Maleficent and Princess Aurora must set aside their personal differences and form new alliances with others to fight their common enemies.
The film comes out on October 18, 2019 in the United States. Suffice it to say that we’re counting the days!
Disney’s proving itself to be a titan in the worldwide movie industry and its uncanny knack for making movies that depict strong female characters is contributing to it. We love that Mulan isn’t a love story and Maleficent is a love story of a different kind, but both are about women who chose to make their own way in this still male-dominated world. We are sure to watch both movies and we’re expecting our family and friends to come along for the ride, too.