Decades ago, musician Christina Aguilera recorded a pop version of the song "Reflection" for Disney's 1998 animated movie Mulan. Now, the singer is back with a new ballad for the upcoming live-action remake of the movie titled "Loyal, brave, true". Aguilera took to Twitter to share her excitement over the release of the single.
"Excited about announcing that the live-action movie @DisneysMulan is almost here! Now we can reveal this beautiful movie & unveil both the songs I recorded in English & Spanish. A very nostalgic moment. This movie started it all for me. #LoyalBraveTrue. video out tomorrow!"
The video for the song was directed by Niki Caro, who is also the director of the live-action Mulan. The song's visuals have been kept relatively simple, perhaps due to social distancing issues. They feature Christina Aguilera in the center of the frame, dressed in a makeup and dress ensemble influenced by Chinese fashion. A red background constantly changes and morphs to depict Mulan's journey towards becoming a warrior.
The music video has been welcomed by fans, but some have also deemed Aguilera's costume styling to be problematic. Many fans also maintain that the singer's new offering does not rise to the same levels as the original Mulan's "Reflection" song.
While the animated Mulan featured plenty of songs, Caro had stated that the live-action movie would do away with any song-and-dance numbers in favor of a more realistic approach to the realities of war while finding other ways to honor the remake's musical legacy.
"We don't tend to break into song when we go to war. Not saying anything against the animation - because the songs are brilliant and if I could squeeze them in there, I would have. But we do honor the music from the animation in a very significant way. That's all I'll say."
The Disney remake of Mulan has also garnered controversy over the political leanings of the lead star Yifei Liu, in connection to some statements she made on Chinese social media that came under a barrage of criticism.
Mulan is a reimagining of the legend of Mulan from Chinese folklore. The Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders. A young woman named Hua Mulan, driven by love for her family, signs up for the army in place of her elderly father. The rest of the story follows Mulan's quest to become a true warrior in the face of constant adversity, and earn the respect of the nation and her father.
Directed by Niki Caro, Disney's Mulan features a lead cast of Yifei Liu in her Hollywood debut role as Mulan, Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan and Yoson An as Cheng Honghui, with Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor. The film will arrive on Disney+ and in theaters Sept. 4.