When Mulan and The Witch spent more time flirting than fighting!
Oh come on, you knew I just had to write about this one if you have seen it. No, not because of all the politics surrounding the movie but because of the elephant in the room that everyone seems to ignore like the plague – Mulan and The Witch (AKA Xianniang)’s relationship!
But really, what’s new?
From what I understand, and I guess I need to get that out of the way first, I know nothing about Mulan, be it the animated movie or the Chinese legend, which from what I hear it is so special they have an elementary hymn about it so for me, nothing of my thoughts have to do with the originals! I went in this one without any prior sensibilities and if I am honest, most of the time I do that for every movie. The only exception is The Handmaiden, because it is based on my favourite book ever – Fingersmith, so of course I went in with some expectations but even then, even with all the changes made, I didn’t care afterwards! Yes, I had a breakdown about the changes before I watched the movie but when the trailers started to hit, I forgot all about those sensibilities!
Anyway back to Mulan, from what I understand key things were changed and one of the big ones being The Witch, who was non-existent in the original story. There were other changes but I don’t give a tick about them! I will touch upon another because it concerned Xianniang and that is the Phoenix, which I hear was replacement for the Dragon from the animated? Which apparently had to do with it being voiced by a black actor who was a no-no for the Chinese catering that Disney was doing?
Shit is messed up but again, I try to leave the politics out of the fiction stories and only get involved if the real people are involved not the story and the characters. Anyway, I am mentioning the Phoenix because in the movie that thing did absolutely nothing! I have no idea why it was in the movie! But I am mentioning it because they could have made it work! It would have made the existence of Xianniang better accepted but really, just like in my case, she was the best thing about the movie and if I think like this, common sense suggests others did too!
Let’s talk about her first, shall we? The Witch, played by actress Gong Li, could have easily been the highlight of the movie, if she isn’t already. First scenario being that she could have been the Phoenix, or should have become it in the end! She is already the emotional coax in Mulan’s life by first challenging her beliefs and then helping her become her true self and let’s not even get to the best impact she had! She is a Witch, can transform in different animals, though her preference seems to be an Eagle and really, either being the Phoenix that was supposed to be the light of Mulan that shown her way, which Xianniang actually did on the physical level as opposed to the spiritual level that the mythic beast did, her becoming it when she dies, and thus keeping the belief of the life cycle of the phoenix, could have totally made sense and worked!
Another point where she could have worked better is if she was the Antagonist. Really, it makes absolutely zero sense why her character was the character they chose for her to be. She was so powerful that she made the real antagonist look like a side kick! She could have literally killed Mulan 1000 times over but not only was she physically challenging she also challenged Mulan on the psychological level and could have made for the better villain, especially if they left the emotional impact in. That would have been a villain never before seen, who is so emotionally attached to the hero that there would have been no victory in defeating her!
But instead all the worst possible decisions were made for this movie! I totally understand the no or little love it is getting but I have watched the movie six times already. Not, not fully, are you crazy?!! I only sat through the whole thing once because I wanted to catch all the parts I would have to revisit later and it turned out that there was quite a few and all of course had to do with The Witch!
Yeah, all other five times I saw the movie I was just skipping to the Mulan/Xianniang scenes, obviously! In fact, I am thinking of getting the bluray too just to watch those scenes again over and over!
Why has it taken me so long to write about this? Well, it’s because the internet failed me once again! I was waiting for some fics to show up of these two but while there are indeed a few fics based on the movie, all are about the Dude and Mulan, which is really funny to me because the chemistry between Mulan and Xianniang was a millions times better than those two’s!
But again, no surprises there! Gone are the days when fan fiction was written to provide what wasn’t provided and give us unconventional ships that were too scary for the writers to go all out on in the original stories! I was really sure there would be fics of Mulan and The Witch but the joke was on me!
It’s really sad because Mulan and The Witch’s scenes all commanded a fic to expand on them. Whenever they were on screen you couldn’t help feel the attraction! Seriously, someone struck out on this one so hard! If a fic writer is reading this out there, please give us some Mulan/Xianniang fics! I beg of you!
Seriously, I am not kidding! These two were really something! The first time they meet Xianniang is all but playing with Mulan and when Mulan manages to get a hit in, you can see how proud she is of herself, almost showing off. Heck, when Xianniang had her in a hold, no one missed the way she cleared a bang out of her face, surely! And the way she knew right away that Mulan wasn’t who she seemed and was bent on learning who she was only to be disappointed in Mulan’s constant lies, seriously, all the signs were there!
The second time Mulan was breaking down after being rejected because she was woman and without even intending to or knowing it, The Witch actually comforted her and once again helped her to forge forward to her true self like she had done their first meeting where she was the reason that Mulan stopped hiding herself and come out as a woman. In the second meeting, while it seemed like a seduction to the dark side, that wasn’t actually what The Witch was trying to do. She was trying to not only give Mulan somewhere to belong, something lost to her when she was young, but was going to make a world where other girls like them could be accepted, even though her methods would probably have been wrong.
But in that second meeting, there too was some flirting going on. The Witch touched Mulan like twice, the second time being proceeded by her once again clearing Mulan’s bangs away from her face and let’s not get started on the sword thing…Seriously, that was so hot and then there was Mulan totally not resisting looking at Xianniang’s lips!
Then on towards the third meeting we go and again, just like the first two, this one too deserves a whole fic dedicated to it! In that Mulan bursts through the throne room ready to warn the Emperor and giving her services as protector only, the Emperor (played by Jet Li FFS!!!) had already been abducted and in his place is The Witch, decked up in royal golden robes which were of her own making given that they had bord-like designs! She can literally conjure anything! Seriously, it was a joke how so over-powered she was compared to anyone else. The fact that she was a slave makes no sense to me!
Anyway, Mulan’s reaction at seeing Xianniang on the throne was frikkin priceless! Leaving all the inuedos of her pledging her loyalty to Xianniang and kneeling to her, it was once again a heartfelt moment between the two where Mulan does concede that they are alike as she asks for Xianniang to help her save the Emperor. The Witch does show her they way a la the Phoenix and again showing how so stupid the writers were to miss the chance of making her be the it, or turn into it after her supposed fate!
Then the final scene of the two comes and I am surely not the only one who was shouting, KISS HER YOU FOOL! Speaking of that, I heard that there was supposed to be a kiss scene in the movie that was cut out and I for one was sure it was between Mulan and The Witch! Queue the surprise drums when I found out it was to be between Mulan and Dick! Like, are you for frikkin serious!?!! Those two might as well have been the planned marriage that Mulan was trying not to get into in the first place! Literally no chemistry at all! She had as much chemistry with him as she had with the other army boys!
Anyway, back to the matter at hand, When Mulan gets to where the Emperor was being held, the superficial villain fires an arrow towards her which The Witch takes for Mulan, sacrificing her life to save Mulan!
Alright stop right there! Look, there are a lot of reasons why I can’t sit through this movie fully more than once and one of them is stupid decisions like this one! One of the things people hate about Mulan is that Mulan was made ‘The Chosen One’. She has superhuman powers so to speak and we have seen this prior to this where enemies were firing arrows at her left and right and couldn’t even get a piece of hair off of her! The arrow fired towards her at the end was so far away and she wasn’t even on the horse so unless the villain had a super power of magic arrows that don’t miss, I doubt he could have hit Mulan! Xianniang had absolutely no reason to take that arrow for Mulan! Her death was in vain!
But since it happened, let’s not dwell on that and rather on what actually happened. The first thing that hit me, obviously other than my favourite character being killed off in such a stupid way, was the way Mulan reached out to catch a falling Xianniang. I don’t know why but that action really hit me in the soul! Furthermore, she held Xianniang during all her last moments and didn’t let go until long after she was dead! And the moment they had, Mulan probably wondering why Xianniang would give her life for her and The Witch finally having someone who understood her and accepted her for herself and nothing else, something not even her family did…
God, who is cutting onions in here?!!!
Like seriously, the fact that there are no fics of these two, the fact that the writers screwed up on the possibilities of The Witch, the fact that one could just gender bend The Witch and all would be shipping the two instead of the non-sensical canon ship…It’s just sad that this all could be corrected a lot of ways!
Oh well, I guess I should be happy that I am the only one or one of the few that see this gem of a relationship and it’s magical existence! I will forever continue to come back to these two and I am sure down the road other will see the light and finally give us those fics. Let’s be honest, not a lot of people have watched this. I am sure most are waiting for broader availability in December.
Anyway, that is all. As for my general though, I hated everything else except the cinematography. The action and the editing was the worst offenders! Casters should apologise to Jet Li and Donnie Yen for putting them in this movie!