Disney's Live Action Mulan: Accented English

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mrsmig

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Ummm...because they cast Chinese actors who speak English with their natural accent?

I'm assuming you're objecting largely to the narration that backs much of the trailer. The actress speaking is Cheng Pei-Pei. Here's an interview with her, from 2015. As you can hear for yourself, the accent is not a put-on.

I can't imagine that you're objecting to the studio using Chinese actors to portray Chinese characters...
 
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Snitchcat

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Ummm...because they cast Chinese actors who speak English with their natural accent?

I'm assuming you're objecting largely to the narration that backs much of the trailer. The actress speaking is Cheng Pei-Pei. Here's an interview with her, from 2015. As you can hear for yourself, the accent is not a put-on.

I can't imagine that you're objecting to the studio actually using Chinese actors to portray Chinese characters...

Heh, yes, I realised that after I posted my reaction and vent.

I have no probs with the cast's natural accents. I'm more offended by the appropriation.

But I'm an anti-fan of Disney. Go figure? >,<
 

mrsmig

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Can you elaborate on what you mean by "the appropriation?"
 

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Can you elaborate on what you mean by "the appropriation?"

The original animated version took the basic story and imposed Western values and characteristics on Chinese history.

This remake is still appropriating Chinese culture and history despite claims that the live action film is closer to actual history. I'm still too mad to be coherent.
 

mrsmig

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The original animated version took the basic story and imposed Western values and characteristics on Chinese history.

This remake is still appropriating Chinese culture and history despite claims that the live action film is closer to actual history. I'm still too mad to be coherent.

Agreed.

Having said that, I think Disney is trying to "do better" with the live action version but still sell tickets to their core audience; e.g. the audiences (largely Western) who saw and enjoyed the original animated feature. It's a hard line to toe, and I expect they'll end up pleasing no one.
 
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Snitchcat

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Oh, and the claim that "Hua" is more authentic than "Fa" is bullshit. The former is Mandarin; the latter is Cantonese. Both are dialects of the Chinese language.

Mandarin has been the official Chinese language for approx. 200 to 300 years. Mulan's history took place during the reign of Wei from 386-534 AD. It is not inconceivable that the language spoken may have been Mandarin. However, Mulan is from the Northern Wei Empire which would suggest that Mongolian had more influence than Manchurian.

In that era, filial piety ruled. Ladies did not go to war and certainly were not discovered as female during service if they did. Or there would be some remnant information available. Mulan herself was not discovered female till after the war, when she had returned home.

There are also plenty of versions of Mulan's story. But of all the versions I've read (Chinese), they agree that Mulan herself was not discovered female till after the war, when she had returned home. This was thrown out the window by Disney.
 
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Snitchcat

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Agreed.

Having said that, I think Disney is trying to "do better" with the live action version while still trying to sell tickets to their core audience; e.g. the people (largely Western) who saw and enjoyed the original animated feature. It's a hard line to toe, and I expect they'll end up pleasing no one.

I read somewhere that this remake is an "apology" to Beijing for the animated version. Can't find the link yet.

The gripe with the accented English is that I am sceptical Disney could not find anyone Chinese with an American or English accent with decent martial arts skills. The fact that the English is accented and the film is targeted towards a mostly Western audience makes me question Disney's intent to be... inclusive or "apologetic". Chinese accented English has ever been the butt of racist jokes. I'm surprised no one I've seen so far has mentioned the racist aspect of the accented English.
 

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Heh, I had pretty much the opposite reaction, Snitch!!:ROFL: :Hug2:I LOVED that the characters have Chinese accents, lol, 'cause it doesn't make much sense to me for them to have US or British accents. If they were to have US accents, I dunno, it would feel very US-centric...? And the accents sound natural, not forced into a mocking, gross stereotype, so it felt more authentic to me... I was actually quite bothered by the British accents in CRAZY RICH ASIANS. I was like, "WHY YOU GUYS NOT SPEAKING SINGLISH?? YOU THINK YOU TOO GOOD FOR SINGLISH IS IT??"

I also always hated how the animated version had Fa instead of Hua. It felt like a choice made to pander to Western audiences, because Fa is easier to pronounce than Hua, and we always read her name as Hua Mulan in class.

Now I'm very curious to see how my family and friends will react to the live action film. I wonder if they'll be annoyed by the accents or not, hmm...
 

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The accent thing is always a thing -- there are movies about Germans in Germany with American actors using British-ish accents, that movie about Scottish people in which everyone is putting on an accent and then Sean Connery is supposed to be Spanish or something. There's anything with Daniel Craig in which he's not supposed to be British. It's always going to annoy someone, but it'd seem to me if people are speaking like themselves and meant to be the ethnicity they are that'd be.... good?
 

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I'm wary of this movie for several reasons but like that the Chinese-speaking actors were allowed to use their natural accents.

The Disney live-action Beauty and the Beast, conversely, should not have been British. The anti-French jokes in that movie were especially grating after Disney blocked the distribution of a French-made Beauty and the Beast movie the previous year.

Beauty and the Beast is one of the reasons I'm wary about this new Mulan movie. Disney is likely to use Chinese biases as an excuse for its decisions. Chinese productions (from what I've watched) are better at portraying female warriors who run counter to American stereotypes for women than they are not making homophobic comments in queer situations. Despite how important Disney's animated Mulan has been for many children for providing the best (if problematic) representation for transgender and bisexual characters in mainstream movies, I'm expecting Disney to be painfully clear that Mulan is a woman and No homo! with the excuse that it makes the movie more authentically Chinese.

Meanwhile, the production team at Disney is doing nothing to boost the Chinese retelling of Mulan already available to English-language audiences. (For example: the adult-oriented show, Mulan: Rise of the Warrior.) It's as if that could imply the original story doesn't belong to Disney.

I'm a little sick the games that company plays.

But, anyway, the actors' accents didn't bother me at all.
 

Snitchcat

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The accent thing is always a thing -- there are movies about Germans in Germany with American actors using British-ish accents, that movie about Scottish people in which everyone is putting on an accent and then Sean Connery is supposed to be Spanish or something. There's anything with Daniel Craig in which he's not supposed to be British. It's always going to annoy someone, but it'd seem to me if people are speaking like themselves and meant to be the ethnicity they are that'd be.... good?

Ordinarily, I'd agree that being one's ethnicity is good. I'm just annoyed that it would crop up in a non English film written by an American-only writing team (at least the animated version had a Taiwanese Chinese writer).
 

Snitchcat

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Heh, I had pretty much the opposite reaction, Snitch!!:ROFL: :Hug2:I LOVED that the characters have Chinese accents, lol, 'cause it doesn't make much sense to me for them to have US or British accents. If they were to have US accents, I dunno, it would feel very US-centric...? And the accents sound natural, not forced into a mocking, gross stereotype, so it felt more authentic to me... I was actually quite bothered by the British accents in CRAZY RICH ASIANS. I was like, "WHY YOU GUYS NOT SPEAKING SINGLISH?? YOU THINK YOU TOO GOOD FOR SINGLISH IS IT??"

I also always hated how the animated version had Fa instead of Hua. It felt like a choice made to pander to Western audiences, because Fa is easier to pronounce than Hua, and we always read her name as Hua Mulan in class.

Now I'm very curious to see how my family and friends will react to the live action film. I wonder if they'll be annoyed by the accents or not, hmm...

LOL. Definitely opposite reactions. I also balk at fake American accents used in Chinese films.
 

Snitchcat

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Disney is likely to use Chinese biases as an excuse for its decisions. Chinese productions (from what I've watched) are better at portraying female warriors who run counter to American stereotypes for women than they are not making homophobic comments in queer situations. Despite how important Disney's animated Mulan has been for many children for providing the best (if problematic) representation for transgender and bisexual characters in mainstream movies,

I'm expecting Disney to be painfully clear that Mulan is a woman and No homo! with the excuse that it makes the movie more authentically Chinese.

I call total BS on Disney's part here. Authentically Chinese? How? Just because it was not talked about or recorded in Chinese history (that's going back 6000 years of written records) doesn't mean that it didn't happen. But if they're going for authentic, they need to look up the euphemisms and codes that people used for being gay, lesbian, bi, trans, in Ancient China. And I could have sworn one of the Emperors was gay, though I may be mis-remembering that.

(For example: the adult-oriented show, Mulan: Rise of the Warrior.) It's as if that could imply the original story doesn't belong to Disney.

I've actually ignored that show. And it's also not available "in my country".

If you all would like to watch a version that's closer to history and actually in Mandarin, I recommend "Mulan": https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1308138/?ref_=ttpl_pl_tt

Look for the review by dvoon-missy-mcmuffin. It's long, but this reviewer does give a nice description of what to expect from Mulan -- it's more along the lines of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in that war is not the point of the film.
 

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