The original codirector of 'Mulan' loves the live-action remake: 'This is what all these Disney remakes should be'

Disney is releasing a live-action "Mulan" on July 24.Jasin Boland/Disney
  • Disney's live-action "Mulan" is scheduled for release on July 24 after being delayed several months.
  • Insider caught up with Tony Bancroft, codirector of 1998's animated "Mulan," at the film's world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California in March.
  • Bancroft told Insider he "enjoyed it far more" than he expected and praised director Niki Caro on a job well done.
  • "This, to me, is what all these Disney remakes should be," said Bancroft of the film being reminiscent of the original, but being original enough to stand on its own.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Early social reactions for Disney's upcoming live-action "Mulan" have been extremely positive. The new film also has the backing of one of the codirectors of the original 1998 animated movie.

"I really enjoyed it far more than I expected, and I always came in pretty hyped," Tony Bancroft told Insider at the world premiere of "Mulan" in March.

Bancroft and his twin brother Tom, who animated the fan-favorite dragon Mushu in the original movie, told Insider last fall they were interested in this remake more than others because it didn't look like a carbon copy of the animated film.Advertisement

"I've seen all the trailers and I found them all very intriguing," said Bancroft. "But seeing the movie in the flesh was a very emotional experience for me, obviously because of my past history with 'Mulan.' Towards the end, and right at the end, I started to cry, actually, I could admit it. Not only because it had an emotional ending to it, but also because I love Mulan so much and I just want to see more of her."

Tony Bancroft reunited with original "Mulan" codirector Barry Cook (on the left) and "Mulan" producer Pam Coates (on the right) at the film's premiere.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

The 1998 film followed Hua Mulan who took the place of her father in the Chinese army to fight the Huns. She disguised herself as a man in order to protect her father.
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Here's a look at Mulan in the original 1998 movie with Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy.Disney/"Mulan"

The new film, which stars Liu Yifei in the titular role, still follows Mulan going off to war. But it adheres closer to the 300-word poem, "The Ballad of Mulan." The short poem, from the fifth or sixth century, describes a strong, confident young woman who fought for her country for 12 years before humbly returning home. The film doesn't contain a cartoon dragon, and, unlike the original, the new "Mulan" isn't a musical. Instead, there are clever nods to the original film's score throughout the live-action version. Advertisement

Here's Mulan in battle in the live-action movie.Jasin Boland/Disney

The film worked for Bancroft because of the subtle nods to the original and larger changes it made.

"I thought [director] Niki Caro did a great job of bringing Mulan to life, to real life here in live-action," said Bancroft. Advertisement

Director Niki Caro and Liu Yifei are seen on the set of "Mulan."Jasin Boland/Disney

"It was still very reminiscent, I feel like it has things for the fans that they're going to really like, but it feels unique," he continued. "This, to me, is what all these Disney remakes should be. They should be one-part nostalgic and reminiscent of the original and two parts, all-out original, let's go in a different direction. And I feel like Niki Caro and the Disney team really did that with this one."

We'll have more on Bancroft's spoiler-filled reactions to the film after the movie's release.Advertisement

Insider's full review of "Mulan" will be online when we're allowed to share it. "Mulan" is currently scheduled for a July 24 release, postponed from its original March 27 release. Read the original article on Insider
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