Last week I went to watch the movie, Hua Mulan (花木兰) at the Spring Film Festival Gala Night. I missed about 10-15minutes of the first part of the movie because I was having dinner with friends, but was able to catch up to the part where Mulan first enters the camp. I loved the story. It’s definitely different from the Disney version, and is much suited to more mature audiences (late teens/young adults-onwards). The amazing thing about the movie is that it doesn’t skimp on action and drama, and doesn’t fail to include some bits of a romantic story. I wouldn’t compare it to the Red Cliff movie which is definitely one of the most thrilling Chinese movies I’ve seen so far….but this definitely is a movie that would still appeal to me.
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And the movie doesn’t fail to be Chinese as the ending portrays a love of country over one’s own personal love life. There are also many aspects that Chinese hold dear, such as filial piety, a love (not romantic) between brothers, love for country, and the whole glory in death while fighting. The values portrayed in this movie are really values properly exhibited in old Chinese movies, or when concerned with older Chinese cultures and traditions (古代的文化，古代的习惯，古代的中国).
I’d definitely want to watch this movie again. My dad missed out on watching the movie so he’s planning on buying a copy when he goes to Xiamen (厦门) soon. I’d like to find myself a copy too when I go back to Beijing. Oh what’s more, since my Mandarin is much more improved than before, I was able to understand the movie dialogue much better and even compared it to the English subtitles. Of course, definitely, dialgoue in Mandarin was much better than the English translations.
Also, the pick of using Vicki Zhao as the main actress was pretty good, in my opinion. Seeing her as a tomboy-ish sort of actress from previous movies such as Red Cliff and So Close, makes it more believable that she would pass of as a boy in a war army as compared to other popular actresses…based on what I’ve seen on some forums. I love Zhang ZiYi and Michelle Yeoh in movies like Memoirs of a Geisha, House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but it’s nice to see other popular actresses star in movies like this. After all, we can’t have the same actresses hogging the spotlight all the time.