Mandarin-dubbed 'Mulan' out in S'pore on Sep. 18, 2020

'Four ounces can move a thousand pounds.'

Belmont Lay | September 15, 2020, 07:03 PM

If you feel or felt a bit uncomfortable watching the characters in Disney’s live-action Mulan speak in stilted. Chinese-accented English, you are not alone.

And good news to all who wish maybe the movie will be better in Mandarin.

Because a Mandarin-dubbed Mulan will be playing in selected theatres in Singapore from Friday, Sep. 18.

A Mandarin-dubbed version should correct some of the cringe factor.

Some of the original cast members involved in the dubbed version include Liu Yifei (Mulan), Gong Li (Xianniang), Jet Li (Emperor), and Zheng Pei Pei (Matchmaker).

Dialogue spoken by the other characters are also dubbed in Mandarin but those were not dubbed by the original cast members.

Dubbing an entire movie's dialogue would be an expensive enterprise, let alone for one that is not doing as well as expected with its US$200 million outlay.

Domestically, Mulan did okay as it grossed over S$2 million at the Singapore box office after staying at the number one spot for two consecutive weekends.

The Mandarin-dubbed Mulan is available at any these following cinemas in Singapore:

Cathay CineplexesAMK Hub, Cineleisure and JEM
Filmgarde Bugis+
Golden VillageSuntec City, Tiong Bahru, Bishan
Festive Arts TheatreOur Tampines Hub
Shaw Theatres Seletar, PLQ, Waterway Point
WE Cinemas321 Clementi

All the showtimes of the Mandarin-dubbed version can be viewed here.

*Spoliers ahead*

Converting Mulan into a full-fledged English-language movie by Hollywood resulted in nuances being lost.

Many viewers in China took offense at the translation of “四两拔千斤” (sì liǎng bá qiān jīn) into “four ounces can move a thousand pounds”.

This Chinese phrase came off as awkward as the original context was changed.

In the 1998 original, Mulan outsmarted everyone by using two golden weights to her advantage in climbing up the pole, which is quite literally an instance of “四两拔千斤”.

The live-action took out the element of Mulan’s wit as the exercise was changed into walking up a mountain with two barrels of water, something that could only be accomplished with brute force.

It is not known how dubbing such dialogue for 2020's Mulan in Mandarin would make the scenes better.

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Top photo via Mulan