In Niki Caro and Disney’s live-action version of the ancient story, a young woman rides off to war and discovers herself.

在妮基·卡罗和迪士尼改编的真人版古代故事中,一名年轻女子骑马去打仗,并发现了自我。


Feet flying, Mulan enters her new movie with speed and wit. She’s a tyke when she first appears, chasing a protesting chicken. When it takes flight, so does Mulan, by scampering over roofs and all but dancing in the air. The bird is one of the few things that elude her during this otherwise less-than-buoyant epic, which tracks Mulan as she transforms from an unruly daughter into a masculinized warrior in the name of family, nation and those twinned imperial powers called China and Disney.

飞檐走壁中,敏捷机智的花木兰进入了关于她的新电影。当她第一次出现的时候,还是个淘气鬼,追着一只倔强不服的小鸡。当它飞起来的时候,木兰也在屋顶和所有东西上面上蹿下跳,就像在空中跳舞。在这部不那么轻松的史诗巨片中,木兰以家族、国家,以及天朝和迪士尼这一对帝国的名义,从一个任性的女儿变成了一个男性化的战士,这只鸡是为数不多躲避她的事物之一。



As in that earlier movie and the original ballad, this “Mulan” is set in motion by love and predicated on a valiant deceit. Shortly after the story kicks in, invaders attack. The emperor (an almost unrecognizable Jet Li) sends out emissaries with the demand that each family send a man to help defend China. Concerned for her father (Tzi Ma), a disabled veteran, Mulan furtively takes his place — as well as his armor and sword — running off to protect him and the country. She tames her hair, binds her breasts, joins the emperor’s forces and soon distinguishes herself while bunking, training and fighting alongside men who remain remarkably oblivious to her deception.

就像早期的电影和最初的民谣中一样,《花木兰》以爱为起因,以勇敢的“欺骗”为基调。故事开始后不久,入侵者发动了攻击。皇帝(几乎认不出李连杰了)派出使者,要求每家出一名男子帮助保卫华夏。出于对残疾退伍军人父亲的关怀,木兰偷偷地顶替了父亲的名额,也拿走了父亲的盔甲和宝剑,奔赴战场保家卫国。她剪短了自己的头发,绑紧胸部,加入了皇帝的军队,并很快脱颖而出,与那些对她的女儿身毫不知情的男人睡在一起,一起训练和战斗。



The movie glides over some of its squirmy issues while Caro busies herself marshaling all its many whirring parts. As a director, she tends to overshoot and overcut, sometimes to distraction; she fusses up one conversation with swooping shots from different angles. But she handles both intimacy and action capably, even if she’s a bit too fond of long shots that emphasize the smallness of the conscxts. (The movie was filmed in New Zealand and China.) Over time, the bright palette she deploys in the opening subsides though it never fully fades into the dun hues that typify many contemporary war films. Despite the death toll and corpse-riddled landscapes, this remains a preternaturally sunny, pointedly bloodless PG-13 affair.

在卡罗忙着整理所有那些嗡嗡作响的部分时,影片略过了一些棘手的问题。作为一名导演,她存在过度拍摄和过度剪辑的倾向,有时会让人分心;她从不同角度俯冲拍摄的手法,搅乱了一个谈话的场景。但她能熟练地处理亲密关系和动作,即使她有点太喜欢拍摄强调应征入伍的士兵人数少的长镜头。(这部电影在新西兰和中国拍摄。)随着时间的推移,她在影片开头运用的明亮色调逐渐消退,但从未完全消失为暗褐色这一许多当代战争电影惯用的典型色调。尽管死亡人数众多,尸横遍野,但这仍然是一部非常阳光、不太血腥的PG-13级电影。

The movie takes on gender more boldly than it handles warfare. Early on, before Mulan leaves home, there’s a brief, lively scene of her galloping on her horse alongside two hares, an image plucked from the original ballad. The motif appears at the close of the ballad when Mulan — after returning home and resuming her feminine identity, her other masquerade — is visited by old comrades. Seeing her, they express shock that they didn’t know she was a woman. She responds to their surprise with a question that ends her story on an expansive, philosophical note: “But when a pair of hares run side by side/Who can distinguish whether I in fact am male or female?”

这部电影对性别的描写比战争的描写更加大胆。一开始,在木兰离开家之前,有一个短暂而生动的场景,她骑着马和两只野兔一起疾驰,这个形象来自于最初的民谣。主题出现在民谣的结尾,木兰回到家里,恢复了女子身份,来拜访的老战友发现其真实身份。看到她,他们震惊不已,他们一直不知道她竟然是个女人。她用一个问题来回应他们的惊讶,这个问题在故事的结尾以一种广阔而富有哲理的方式结束:“但是,当一对兔子并排奔跑时,谁能区分我是雌雄呢?”

Who indeed?! One of the lessons of Mulan’s tale is that women and men aren’t simply equals, but are finally indistinguishable when and where it counts: on the move, on the run, in the heat of the battle. Caro makes the same point in scenes that show Mulan rising to the occasion again and again, whether she’s shooting an arrow, twirling a weapon or executing some fancy riding that is so fluidly staged that it makes you long for more. If anything, the movie could use much more of Mulan in action, particularly when she faces off against an enigma, Xianniang (the great Gong Li).

谁能真正区分?!《花木兰》的故事带给我们的感悟之一是,男人和女人并不是平等的,无论在何时何地都有区别:在移动中,在奔跑中,在激烈的战斗中。卡罗在花木兰一次又一次地挺身而出的场景中也表达了同样的观点,无论她是在射箭、挥舞武器还是表演一些非常流畅的骑乘动作,这些都让你渴望做得更好。如果要说有什么不同的话,那就是这部电影可以更多地使用花木兰的动作镜头,尤其是当她面对一个谜一样的人物——仙娘(了不起的巩俐)的时候。

Xianniang is the movie’s most vibrant creation and an original addition to the Mulan chronicles. Although her hauteur and flowing costume bring to mind Maleficent, Xianniang is effectively a rather-more stern stand-in for the wisecracking dragon (Eddie Murphy) in the animated film, one of those cutesy Jiminy Cricket superegos who pal around with Disney heroes. Despite her double life, Mulan has soldier friends and one justly anemic romantic prospect (she’s at war, dammit), but no one gets into her head like Xianniang does. She gets in yours, too, partly because Gong is such a charismatic presence — a virtuoso of physical quietude, she inexorably draws your gaze — though also because she’s playing the only character graced with real mystery.

“仙娘”这一角色是影片中最鲜活的创作,也是对花木兰故事的原创补充。虽然她那高傲飘逸的服装让人想起玛琳菲森,“仙娘”是动画电影中爱说俏皮话的龙的一个更为严厉的顶替者。尽管木兰有双重生活,她有军人朋友和一个毫无生气的浪漫前景(该死,她正在打仗),但没有人能像仙娘那样进入她的头脑。她也能出现在你的电影里,部分原因是巩俐是一个魅力超凡的巨星,她难以抗拒地吸引着你的目光——虽然也因为她扮演的是唯一一个真正神秘的角色。


From the moment she appears it’s hard not to wish the movie were more about Xianniang, who — from her shape-shifting to her gold headgear (à la “The Assassin”) and talons — suggests a more complex vision of women and power than this Mulan offers. Xianniang is unfortunately saddled with the main villain, B?ri Khan (Jason Scott Lee), whose name and grimace evoke Genghis Khan, the Mongolian ruler who conquered China. The scholar Louise Edwards has noted that over time, Mulan has gone from fighting for an ambiguous country to fighting unambiguously for China. Here, she is up against a largely faceless enemy whose headscarves read as Orientalist fantasies.

从她出现的那一刻起,就很难不希望这部电影更多是关于仙娘的,从她的变形到她的金色帽饰(类似于《刺客》)和利爪,她展现了一个比木兰更复杂的女性和权力的形象。不幸的是,仙娘与大反派鲍里·汗(杰森·斯科特·李饰演)为伍,他的名字和鬼脸让人想起征服中国的蒙古统治者成吉思汗。学者路易斯·爱德华兹指出,随着时间的推移,《花木兰》从为一个含糊不清的国家而战,变成了为中国而战。在这部电影里,她面对的是一个基本上不露出面孔的敌人,他的头巾被解读为东方主义的幻想。

One pleasure of Xianniang as a character is her ambiguity, that she seems beyond the masculine-feminine dualism forced on Mulan, who goes from being prettied up as bride material to suiting up in a man’s army and then something else. Mulan’s metamorphosis is complicated, to the movie’s credit. Whether she navigates gender satisfyingly is yet another question, one that will be best answered by the girls and women who yearn for more characters that look like them, speak to them. Some will find it here; others will take this story and run with it: they will wear its costumes, play with its dolls, and they will rewatch, rethink, remake this tale until it becomes a perfect reflection of their desires.

作为一个角色,仙娘一个有意思的地方是她的模糊性,她似乎超越了强加在木兰身上的男女性二元论,木兰从打扮成漂亮的新娘到变装加入男性的军队。至于她是否能很好地驾驭性别角色,则是另一个问题,而女孩和女性则会对这个问题做出最好的回答,她们渴望看到更多像自己的角色,并与之交流。有些人会在这部电影里找到这个,其他人则会入戏并代入角色:她们会穿上戏中的服装,跟角色玩偶玩,她们会重新观看,反复思考,重塑这个故事,直到它完美地反映了自己的愿望。