In the new, grand tradition of Disney live-action remakes adding an extra song for no other purpose than trying to land a Best Original Song Oscar nomination, Christina Aguilera has returned to Mulan with “Loyal Brave True.” It’s no “Reflection,” but at least the reveal includes some cool new footage.
A new special look at the film shows Mulan (Yifei Liu) through the eyes of her father, Hua Zhao (Tzi Ma). After Mulan runs away from home to fight in his place, Hua Zhao asks their ancestors for guidance and protection, telling them that she is “the loyal, the brave, and the true” warrior who will save their country. Only this time, Mulan’s guardian isn’t a tiny smart-mouthed dragon, but a powerful phoenix.
This Disney original is the latest in a string of modern musical updates. Mary Poppins Returns featured all-new songs, and Beauty and the Beast added a couple too. Even Beyoncé Knowles-Carter recorded a high-profile original song, “Spirit,” for last year’s The Lion King, which failed to win or even be nominated for an Oscar. Aguilera’s new song looks like it’ll fare even worse. It’s just all levels of “bleh.” Comes across an even less interesting version of “Reflection,” the song she originally sang for 1998's animated Mulan—don’t worry Mulan-ers, she’s also releasing an updated version of that.
Considering the film’s dedication to representation (at least in front of the camera), I was surprised they’d bring back Aguilera when they could’ve showcased a Chinese performer. Of course, there’s only one good reason for it: nostalgia. Disney also released a lyric video for the entire song, in case you were curious whether the longer version shows improvement over the snippet from the teaser (it doesn’t).
Mulan comes out on March 26.