Students have mixed reactions over ‘Mulan’ controversies

By Catherine San

Disney released its live-action remake of “Mulan” on Sept. 4, but Seton Hall students have mixed reactions on whether to watch due to recent controversies surrounding the film.

Tanmay Patel, a sophomore financial mathematics major, said he will not be watching the movie due to the latest news surrounding China’s internment of Uyghur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang region. 

“I’ve heard that Disney used the assistance of government agencies that are complicit in the modern-day Holocaust,” Patel said in reference to the movie credits thanking government entities in Turpan, which is one city where camps are located.

Patel said he believes boycotting the film is part of a larger conversation.

“I [plan] to tell everyone about this fact to do my part against companies choosing profits over morals,” Patel said. 

Before the film’s release in the U.S., #BoycottMulan trended on social media as Yifei Liu, the actress portraying Mulan, expressed support for Hong Kong police over protestors during pro-democracy demonstrations. Negative feedback continued to pour in after the news broke out that parts of the film took place near the internment camps.

In addition to the current events surrounding production, Patel said he will also not be watching the movie due to “massive story changes” in comparison to the 1998 original film, including the absence of well-known characters, such as Mushu and Li Shang.

Sakina Nathoo, a sophomore elementary education major, also shared her thoughts on the film’s controversy.

“I was really excited to watch this movie until I heard about how close they were filming to the concentration camps,” Nathoo said. “The fact that these big companies and celebrities are doing nothing to raise awareness or help in any way is very off-putting, to say the least.”

On the other hand, students like Vicelle Juanites, a sophomore economics major, found the content of the movie to be enjoyable despite the controversies.

“Of course, there were some scenes that were added and taken away compared to the Disney animation version,” Juanites said. “I was a bit sad that they didn’t include any of the songs because I think that it adds to every scene.”

Some students have chosen to watch the film in support of the creators. 

“The main reason I wanted to watch it despite knowing it wouldn’t be the best is because it’s important to show support for Asian representation,” Catheryn Duarte, a freshman biology major, said. “If it doesn’t get good support, it looks like people don’t want more representation, which isn’t true at all, especially being Asian myself.”

Like Juanites, the changes that came with the adaptation affected Duarte’s overall opinion of “Mulan.” 

“I understand they wanted to make it original, but they took out a lot of what made people love ‘Mulan’ in the first place,” Duarte said. “It was just too different that it didn’t remind me of the original ‘Mulan’ I love.”

Lyla Bugarin, a junior public relations major, said she felt that students should make the decision to watch the film for themselves.

“I did some research [and] while there are a lot of problems that surround the production of the movie, I will watch it for myself and see what it’s all about,” Bugarin said. “People have their own reasons for boycotting the movie, but as always, proper research must be done for you to reach your own conclusion.”

Catherine San can be reached at catherine.san@student.shu.edu.

Author: Catherine San

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