Reality Check: Mulan’s Unhappily Ever After

If there’s one thing we can count on when it comes to classic Disney fairy tales, it’s the “happily ever after.” Snow White gets her Prince Charming, Simba reclaims his kingdom and even the Toy Story gang finds a new kid.

We expect the magic and the love, but do we ever expect Disney movies to be realistic? Nope, absolutely not.

This is probably why animation storyboard artist Jeff Hong has gathered quite a bit of attention for himself with his series called “Disney Unhappily Ever After.” In the series, Hong puts beloved Disney characters through a reality check. The characters endure various environmental, social and even political circumstances that we face as human beings.

Just take a look at Hong’s re-imagined image of Mulan. The threat to her country is no longer the Huns. Instead, Mulan sports a surgical mask to remind us of the dangerous smog conditions in China.


Hong very powerfully reminds us that just last year, the city of Harbin had air pollution that was 40 times higher than the international safety standard set by the World Health Organization. These extreme conditions have caused children as young as 8-years-old to get lung cancer and netizens have even begun to imagine how the deteriorating air quality will affect human survival.

By using Disney characters, Hong very successfully points out the realities of our own world. “The idea just popped in my head to put Disney princesses into environments that they wouldn’t be associated with,” Hong told The Huffington Post. “Once I started putting them together, I realized a lot of social issues that are always important to me could be woven in as well. I think that’s what has made it really successful and a bit controversial as well, so I’m glad it has started debates and discussions on the issues of racism, animal abuse, drugs, etc.”

Check out more of “Disney Unhappily Ever After” below and visit the official tumblr here.

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