Once upon a time, Disney Studios seemed to put out a classic animated movie every year. Those who grew up during Disney’s renaissance of the ‘90s have stories, songs, and memories that have stuck with them over the years.
With movie technology advancing at a rapid rate, filmmakers now have the skills to tell these stories without using a single drawing. Now that Disney has announced its plans to create a live-action version of “Mulan,” the company has a huge opportunity to make something special.
What separates “Mulan” from most other Disney classics is that its not a prototypical fairy tale. The main character doesn’t need to be saved by a prince and isn’t reduced to a mostly useless role when danger is involved.
Instead, Mulan is a brave protagonist who fights to protect her family and country. Not only does she succeed at both, she also manages to change perceptions of what a woman is able to do. In a time where female equality is a hot topic, what better role model could there be for young girls?
The new movie can also make big strides in portraying diversity on-screen. Since the story is based on a Chinese legend, actors of Asian descent who aren’t normally picked for prominent roles could be given their big break.
“Mulan” joins a new movement by Disney to bring some of its most famous characters to life.”Cinderella” and “Alice in Wonderland” have already been re-told and “Maleficent” treated fans to a spin on “Sleeping Beauty”.
As you might expect, all three of those movies went on to be highly successful. The key to their success has been the unique combination of innovation and nostalgia.
People like new ideas and changes, even when those changes aren’t very significant. The smallest tweak to a character or story can almost always create new interest. Nostalgia is powerful in that it mentally takes people back to a different time or place. Disney has a big advantage with its access to creative minds and worldwide fan base.
If Disney can follow their own formula, they have a chance to tell a compelling story to both fans of the original and a new audience.