Mulan stirs up many controversies regarding politics and culture

Mulan has returned to the big screen for the first time in 16 years in a live-action remake of the Disney film. Mulan was released on Disney Plus September 4, 2020 and has pulled in 11.3 million dollars thus far. Even though the film is turning a profit, it has become very controversial since its release. The political undertones of the film and the additional fee on Disney Plus to access it has led many viewers to boycott the newest addition to the Disney universe.

Doubts about Mulan began long before the movie was released. In 2019, Liu Yifei, the actress who portrays Mulan, vocalized her support of the Hong Kong police. Hong Kong has been experiencing pro-democracy protests for many months, and the police who are tasked with settling these events have been known to treat protesters brutally. Yifei’s comments irked many would-be viewers, who began the hashtag #BoycottMulan in response to her comments. 

During the film’s production, it was noted by many that while the film’s on-screen talent was Asian, those behind the scenes were not. The director, four writers, composer, set designer and costume designer are not of Asian descent. While it is not impossible for people to create a film centered around a race that is not their own, the fact that Asian culture is extremely prevalent in Mulan caused some raised eyebrows at the film’s production team. 

Dissatisfaction with Mulan continued when the film was released. In the credits of the movie, viewers noticed that Disney thanked eight governments in Xinjiang, a Chinese province in which parts of Mulan were filmed. Many audiences were disturbed by the fact that Disney worked alongside the Xinjiang government to produce this film, as this province has forced millions of Uighur Muslims into concentration camps. Since Disney’s thanks to Xinjiang was located at the end of the film, many viewers did not realize the partnership between the two entities existed until after they had paid Disney Plus’ additional fee to watch the movie.

The additional cost of Mulan has upset viewers as well. The movie was released to Disney’s streaming platform, Disney Plus, which provides subscribers with unlimited Disney content for about seven dollars a month. However, to watch Mulan, audiences are required to pay $30 for the film on top of their monthly subscription fee. Since Disney Plus is a platform that allows free streaming for one price, the additional cost is out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, Disney has managed to reap a handsome profit from Mulan, even with the additional fee and political controversy.