Disney’s Reconstruction of the Traditional Chinese Heroine: a Comparative Analysis of the Three Mulan Movies

Author

Ewen Xiao * 1

1 Institute of Mass Communication, Shenzhen University

Corresponding Author

Ewen Xiao

Keywords

narration, Disney, heroine, Mulan, transculturation, adaption

Abstract

The legend of Mulan has been transmitted and remolded throughout China for hundreds of years. In recent years, this motif has also drawn significant attention from the US film industry. Three films are analyzed in this article: the Chinese Yu opera Hua Mulan [1], Disney’s animated version Mulan [2] and the most recent addition, Disney’s live-action version Mulan [3]. Under a cross-culture lens, the analysis compares three versions of the film to examine the transculturation and adaption of the narrative in reconstructing a traditional Chinese heroine. This paper concludes that to resist cultural hegemony and to attract a broader audience, Disney’s 1998 version transforms a typical Confucian heroine into an individualistic American heroine. Finally, it shall be argued that the 2020 version of Mulan espouses and shapes Mulan into a synthesized Asian-American figure.

Citation

Ewen Xiao. Disney’s Reconstruction of the Traditional Chinese Heroine: a Comparative Analysis of the Three Mulan Movies. CHR (2021) CHR ICEIPI 2021: 19-27. DOI: 10.54254/chr.iceipi.2021174.

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