I have just watched the new (or rather the non-animated version) of Mulan with my 6-year-old. One of the interesting things that I have come across was that it seems that she has problems understanding the movie as compared to the animation. It got me thinking, perhaps there is something interesting worth exploring here.
The Magic of Animation
Right off the bat, I think it is likely that most people would find animation a bit more attractive as compared to life-action shows. Take the many iterations of real-life action movies made from animes. I'm sure you would agree that the anime is much better.
While that logic applies really to the adults, children may have their minds better stimulated while watching animations as compared to real-life action shows. There's research in this. We used to forbid our children to watch any animation for longer than half an hour until they turned three. There was some research in this area that it affects the development of the brain through over-stimulation.
While this is a likely situation, there is another possibility.
The Dialogue and Storyline
I don't know about you, but I found the dialogue in the movie of Mulan a bit more complex as compared to the animation. Perhaps they were trying to appeal a different audience? I mean they did have other characters too. I mean, I would prefer that the falcon remained a falcon instead of a witch.
However, I think that may have caused some confusion for a 6-year-old since this is not exactly the same Mulan that she was used to. We all go into any situation carrying with us prior experience and knowledge. This prior experience may have affected her pre-conceived notions of how the show is supposed to be. That, or it is possible that...
The Movie was not That Great
Alright, now this is a bit of a subjective bit. I think that some people may have found the show appealing. I was personally rather stoked that IP-MAN (Donnie Yen) was in it. Heck, even Jet Li was part of the cast. So that got me wanting to watch this movie.
However, the movie did not have the same magic as it has in the animation. Perhaps it was just the expectations or preconceived notions that I brought to the viewing of the movie.
That being said, I would still recommend that you give it a watch. Who knows? You may have a different view than I in terms of how good the movie was. If I were to score it, I would score it at a solid B+ . But, don't take my word for it, give it a go and tell me what you think.