The Little Mermaid Review

The Little Mermaid is one of the classic Disney animated movies that I grew up watching. It was a story of wonderment, belonging, and family. It did not matter who you were, there was something about Ariel that you could connect to. To this day I still get a little teary eyed whenever i hear her sing “Part of Your World”. Yes, that song still has some power over me.

Recently Disney has been remaking a lot of their classic animated movies into live-action. While the results are hit or miss, The Little Mermaid is not a bullseye, but it fairs well compared to some of the other live-action remakes. Yes, we know that people were upset about the casting. Yes, we saw that people were upset about the look of Flounder and yes, we know that there were a few new songs that might not be as memorable as the original songs. Let’s look into these points and break them down.

n: (L-R): Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Giles Keyte. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

First of all, Halle Bailey is Ariel! Full! Stop! Until we get scientific evidence that mermaids were of a certain complextion this argument is over. Halle’s voice is spectacular and while it will be compared to the original, they are their own voices and they both are amazing. When she is voiceless her facial expressions show the joy or pain that she is feeling with ease. Halle brings a style to Ariel that was missing from the 2-D character. Seeing Ariel fully rendered helps the viewer see more of what is being expressed and make you feel more for her. I am not sure if we will see the subsequent sequels made into live-action movies but if we do it would be great to see Bailey reprise her role.

(L-R): Scuttle (voiced by Awkwafina), Flounder (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s look at the animation. This is a live-action remake of an animated film. If they were just to CGI the animated characters people would probably complain that the characters looked too cartoony. The live-animated look would have been too distracting for viewers and they might have been turned away from watching the movie. It is a thin line that the animators face and they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Flounder was around for the first half of the movie and then pretty much became a background character for the other half of the film. If we want to talk about one of the characters that looks off, let’s talk about Sebastian’s eyes.

All the familiar songs are in the movie and Melissa McCarthy does a great job of redoing “Poor Unfortunate Souls”. In my personal opinion, I felt she was underused. There were two songs added to the movie. One sung by Prince Eric, “Wild Uncharted Waters” and one sung by Scuttle, voiced by Awkwafina, “The Scuttlebutt”. Now were both songs needed, not really. Prince Eric’s song serves only to tell his story and how he is longing for something more that the island has for him. “The Scuttlebutt’ is a double-time rap track that Scuttle raps to update Sebastian and Ariel on what is going on with Prince Eric’s hunt for the “missing girl”. It’s cute but just feels out of place. Again, these are only my opinions on these songs.

Final Thoughts: The Little Mermaid is an excellent addition to the new line of live remakes of Disney’s animated movies. The movie has the same charm as the animated one but there are a few tweaks here and there for today’s audience. Hallie Bailey is the star of this version and her voice carry’s the songs to another level. Melissa McCarthy is underused as Ursula and it would have been great to see more of her on the screen. Overall, The Little Mermaid deserves to be seen on the big screen to enjoy this new journey under the sea.

Kid-Friendly: The movie is the live equivalent of the animated film. There is nothing here that they have not seen before. The eels might be a little scary for younger kids and seeing Ursula in her final form might be too much.

Violence: The movie does not have any violence in it. The closest we get to anything violent is during the final confrontation between Ariel and Ursula.

The beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure, “The Little Mermaid” stars singer and actress Halle Bailey (“grown-ish”) as Ariel; Tony Award® winner Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton,” “Snowpiercer”) as the voice of Sebastian; Jacob Tremblay (“Luca,” “Room”) as the voice of Flounder; Awkwafina (“Raya and the Last Dragon”) as the voice of Scuttle; Jonah Hauer-King (“A Dog’s Way Home”) as Prince Eric; Art Malik (“Homeland”) as Sir Grimsby; Noma Dumezweni (“Mary Poppins Returns”) as Queen Selina; with Oscar® winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” “Being the Ricardos”) as King Triton; and two-time Academy Award® nominee Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” “Bridesmaids”) as Ursula. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters, and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea, and while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.

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