Disney’s original animated Mulan film from 1998 doesn't have a lot of fans in China. For many people, the film didn’t accurately portray Chinese culture and Mulan's appearance and character wasnt Chinese enough.

With the release of a new trailer for the live-action remake, though, Chinese cinephiles appear much more excited for the new Mulan, which stars the popular Chinese actress Liu Yifei. After the trailer dropped, the new film was the subject of top-trending topics on Chinese social media sites Weibo and Zhihu, where many users discussed their feelings about the trailer. 

“After seeing the trailer… I know that Mulan will probably be my favorite Disney live-action movie,” one user wrote on Zhihu. “Every line and every movement.”

“The fight scenes are so lit,” another Zhihu user said. “For the first time in my life I’m watching a video at 0.5 speed! I’m almost crying.”

However, not everyone has such high expectations. That’s in part because, despite her popularity, Liu Yifei is not exactly known for her acting skills.

“Fairy sister is still expressionless,” said one user on movie rating site Douban, referring to Liu by a common nickname used by her fans.

Mulan, one of China’s most famous heroines, tells the story of a woman who disguises herself as a man to join the army in place of her elderly father. (Picture: Walt Disney Studios)

One of the details that stood out most to Chinese netizens is the makeup that’s put on Mulan’s face as a matchmaker tells her about the qualities of a good wife. The makeup style uses paint on a woman’s forehead and is believed to be a popular look during the Northern and Southern dynasties (386-589 AD), when the tale of Mulan first appeared as a poem in China. 

Rather than evoke thoughts of Chinese history, though, some netizens had other things on their mind when they saw Mulan’s brightly-colored makeup. Some people found the red pattern painted over a yellow background on Mulan’s forehead looks a lot like the logo for Huawei, which is still caught up in the ongoing US-China trade dispute. That triggered a slew of memes poking fun at the strange combination.

“With a chrysanthemum between her eyebrows, Liu Yifei is utterly patriotic,” joked one Weibo user, referring to Huawei’s chrysanthemum logo. “She hasn’t forgotten to support Huawei, even when playing Mulan.”

Incidentally, one of the two lines Mulan said in the trailer added to the joke: “I will bring honor to us all.” Fans already thinking of Huawei were reminded of the company’s sub-brand Honor.

“Support Huawei with action,” says one meme on Weibo. (Picture: ZcwNly on Weibo)

While many people are impressed by the trailer, some have pointed out that certain details appear to be inconsistent with Mulan’s original story. One of the most talked about inconsistencies is that the trailer shows Mulan’s family living in a tulou, a type of building associated with the Hakka people in in what is now China’s Fujian province. Originally, though, Mulan was said to have been born in the Northern Wei dynasty, which controlled northern China.

“I don’t have anything to complain about, but I have one question: why is Mulan living in a tulou?” asked one person on Weibo, with many others asking a similar question.

Another Weibo user was ready with an answer, joking, “Because (the studio) hired a cultural consultant from Chinatown, and many in Chinatown are us Fujian immigrants.”

Then there were the users who reminded everyone not to take the film so seriously. 

“It’s an adaption of the animation...” a Weibo user wrote. “It’s not fun to see it as a historical drama.”