The Little Mermaid has some amazing visual sensations at the beginning, involving repeated transitions from below the water to above the surface. That is where the technological features of the film are the most enchanting. After that, Ariel’s voice provides much of the magic.
This newest version of The Little Mermaid is not animated like the original 1989 version, it’s a remake of the Disney classic with actual people and a lot of CGI. There are many characters who provide moments of exhilaration in the film. Ariel is played by Halle Bailey, Prince Eric is played by Jonah Hauer-King, Ursula is played by Melissa McCarthy, King Triton is played by Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs is the voice of Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay is the voice of Flounder, and Awkwafina is the voice of Scuttle.
Those who love the original
version of The Little Mermaid will recall that Ariel is a mermaid living below the sea. She has a fascination with humans and a burning desire to know of what it is like to live on land with humans. Ariel’s father, King Triton, is protective of her and prohibits her from leaving her home in the sea. Her crab friend Sebastian tries to be an advocate for her, but Ariel feels that the world around her is a disappointment and she is full of despair. But when Ursula comes around all that changes.
Ursula is a sea monster and she makes a deal with Ariel to trade her voice for human legs so Ariel can see what life is like out of the sea. Once Ariel is on shore she believes she has found her love, Prince Eric. But she is torn with a range of questions. Can she continue to be dishonest about not being a human? Can she trust Ursula? Is her world below the sea in danger? Are her sea creature friends Sebastian and Flounder safe? Fans of the earlier version will know the answers.
Some of the joy I found in this film came from a number of spectacular and exhilarating tunes written by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Jacques Oftenbach, including Under the Sea and Part of Your World. But my enjoyment was even more from reliving the original film, only with with actual people instead of animated characters.
Ariel wanting to feel loved gives The Little Mermaid much of its vibrant energy. The film also shines in the connecting of friendships in a magical world. The sea is full of wonders, and The Little Mermaid gives viewers many reminders of the joys we’ve all experienced with Disney films.
The Little Mermaid is a classic for kids and families, and it’s one that will give many Disney fans an enjoyable movie experience. It is also one where adults (including myself) can be reminded of the Disney wonder from our younger days. Because it’s not animated like the original, there’s not necessarily a lot of nostalgia, but it is a positive experience. Three stars for The Little Mermaid.