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8 classic scenes from Disney’s Mulan that deserve the live-action treatment

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It's Mulan's 20th anniversary today, and to celebrate, we're recounting the moments we can't wait to see in 2020's live-action reboot.

Director Niki Caro (The Zookeeper's Wife) promises to bring an epic sweep to this classic story of a Chinese girl (Liu Yifei) who disguises herself as a warrior to fight the Huns. Here are eight unforgettable moments from the original Disney animation that demand the live-action treatment.

1. The attack on the Great Wall

The 1998 movie began on a dramatic and forbidding note as Hun villain Shan-Yu (voiced by Miguel Ferrer) launched his assault on the Great Wall of China. Given how dramatic and menacing Shan-Yu was in hand-drawn form, we can only imagine the possibilities offered by live action and a bigger budget. The character isn't listed in the credits for the new movie, so maybe we can expect a new, even more formidable villain.


2. The visit to the matchmaker

One of Mulan's funniest scenes occurs when the title character (Ming-Na Wen) is taught etiquette by the fussy matchmaker (Miriam Margolyes). As the scene gets hilariously out of control, it makes us wonder how Caro will interpret Disney's characteristic physical comedy in her new version of the story. Here's hoping the light-hearted scene is still in place, and the story hasn't gone completely dark on us. Plus, we're hoping scene-stealing bug Cri-Kee will make some kind of an appearance.

3. 'Reflection'

Mulan was the movie that helped put pop supremo Christina Aguilera on the map, all as a result of this stirring ballad that informs us of the character's identity crisis. We don't know yet if the new movie will even feature songs, although given the recent likes of The Jungle Book remake maintained a musical link with their animated heritage, it perhaps isn't out of the question.


4. Mulan's transformation

The most pivotal moment in the original Mulan will no doubt strike an even more resonant chord in this era of #MeToo and #TimesUp. Forced to disguise her gender in a bid to blend in with the patriarchy, Mulan adopts the persona of a man in order to battle the threat of the Huns – although we know that the courage has been within her all along. Key to the scene's impact is, of course, Jerry Goldsmith's powerful, Oscar-nominated score, blending electronics with Oriental instrumentation – the composer of the new film, yet to be announced, has a lot to live up to.


5. Meeting Mushu

You can't have a Mulan reboot without the character's loyal sidekick, right? As voiced by Eddie Murphy, dragon Mushu remains one of Disney's most entertaining sidekick characters, although whether his comical nature will fit in with the live-action nature of the remake remains to be seen. As with Shan-Yu, there's no actor credited with the role of Mushu – surely he has to turn up? That said, given Mulan is based on an enduring legend from Chinese mythology, maybe director Caro will draw more from that and skew towards a somewhat more serious tone?


6. The avalanche

The original Mulan continues to take the breath away in terms of its animation, directors Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft sweeping us into an era of myth and legend. One of the most spectacular scenes comes when the quick-thinking Mulan outwits the encroaching Hun hordes by triggering an avalanche, saving the lives of her allies and setting in motion a beautifully animated (and scored) scene. Just think of the possibilities of such a scene under Caro's direction.


7. The final showdown

One of the greatest takedowns of any Disney villain comes during the climax of Mulan – not that we need to remind all you fans. The plucky title character, now devoid of her masculine garb, outwits the ferocious Hun baddie by working with Mushu to blow him up with a firework, a tense scene that really gets the adrenaline flowing. Again, it remains to be seen how the baddie's demise will be rendered in the live-action remake, but it's sure to be spectacular.


8. A father's love

Regardless of how much the new version of Mulan might differ from the original, we'll all be upset if it isn't centrally rooted in the relationship between Mulan and her father. It remains one of the most tender and affecting parental depictions in the history of Disney, and the profundity of the final line (we don't need to remind you of what it is) underlines the scope and emotion of the story. Fingers crossed this intimate human focus will be maintained, even if the scope and sweep of the story is wider than we expect.

Which of your favourite Mulan scenes do you want to see rendered in live-action? Tweet us your choices @Cineworld. The movie is released in March 2020.