Transmedia: Americanized Chinese Film–Mulan

Mulan is a musical action-dramedy feature film produced by Walt Disney in 1998. This animation adapted from a real story: the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan which is a typical hybrid cultural production. Based on the original version, Disney also created some new plot and characters for entertainment in their own American-style. Like Muxu, a small dragon who is very cowardly but he also helped and encouraged Mulan at the end.


In order to satisfy the audience’s address about the oriental fantasy, this film is inundated with a plenty of traditional Chinese elements, like the calligraphy drawing in the start scene, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall etc.

According to the culture values, Disney change the filial piety and compliance in Asian values qualities into feminism and individualism which is rather popular in Western culture. For example, Mulan change her personality from elegant manners to undisciplined behaviors. Especially in this film, she abandoned the traditional quality and image of a Chinese woman and even become more independent and intelligent in this film rather than the legend.

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This is an animation for children, so Disney use many humanized designs to change and cover the dark side. For example, this is a typical story about the war and battle, but we didn’t find any bloody scene. The director used the avalanche to destroy and demolish the final enemy instead of fighting scenes with weapons. They choose to use the white snow to cover brutal war. The last example is the death of Khan, the antagonist, he turns into the colorful fireworks and disappears in the middle of the night sky. At the end, Mulan returned to her female identity and married to general Li was the highly recommend part. “Prince and princess get together at last”. Obviously, this is the American faire tale’s happy ending which is not exist in the legend version


written by Xi Chen



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