The Little Mermaid is the latest live-action remake of one of Disney’s classic animated films from the 90s. The Little Mermaid is an empowering story for little girls and an indication that love transcends all odds. Disney has worked with Rob Marshall a few times in the past on Mary Poppins: Returns and Into the Woods, but this may be the best of their collaborations to date. He has transformed this classic into a new version that people are going to love and be singing along with
Ariel (Halle Bailey) is one of seven daughters of the king of the oceans, Titan. She is a mermaid who likes to explore and travel the oceans with her buddy Flounder (Jacob Tremblay) She defies her father who wants her to be more like her sisters. Her infatuation with the world above inadvertently makes her fall in love with Prince Eric (Jonah Hauser King) who is attracted to her siren song. She ends up making a deal with an evil witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) so she can be with Eric forever but things don’t necessarily work out for her.
Marshall has done a great job in the past bringing new songs and new life to Disney properties. In Mary Poppins Returns he brought a fresh spin on this character and her world with the help of Lin Manuel Miranda. He collaborates with him once again in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. All the classic songs from the original film are back. Alan Menkin’s Under the Sea, Part of Your World and Kiss the Girl are all reimagined for this movie. I still enjoyed them all once again.
Part of the original is that all the characters were animated so they were all voiced by actors. They did a great job but in this film, most of the characters are live-action actors with a few that are animated and voiced by popular actors. Sebastian is voiced by Dave Daveed Diggs, Scuttle was voiced by Awkwafina, and as Flounder was voiced by Jacob Trembley. They were very good but as in the original film the Sebastian character is great. Diggs does a great job voicing Sebastian this time around and his rendition of Kiss the Girl is an utter delight. I loved him so much. He was an utter enjoyment from the beginning of the movie to the end.
Those weren’t the only good performances though Halle Bailey was an absolute revolution as the title character Ariel. She owned this role from the moment she came on screen. Her singing was amazing but that is not a surprise since she’s in a singing group with her sister. Also ,Melissa McCarthy was menacing as Ursola. She brought her game to this villainous character. I also liked Javier Bardem as Titan. He embodied the king of the seven sees perfectly. Disney rarely gets it wrong as far as their casting goes. This time they got it right on the money once again.
The Little Mermaid had a unique style that made it beautiful to watch. The visual effects and the scenes under the ocean were done impeccably well. They were seamless as far as I could tell. I didn’t see the movie in 3D but If I had I’m sure it would have looked even better. It was a visual marvel as far as I was concerned. Marshall combined a lot of elements to make this film look and sound great. I’m sure people will enjoy it as much as I did. Especially mothers and daughters who may be looking for an alternative to the male testosterone of Fast X.
An issue im sure people are going to address is the fact that ariel is played by a Black actress instead of a white actress. My stance on that is this. Whoever is the best actress for said role should get the role no mater what race, creed or religion they may be. I though Bailey was perfectly cast as this iconic character and I can’t imagine anyone else that could play this character. Marshall and company cast the best person for the role and in the end that’s all that matters. I hope people will realize this while watching this movie.
Disney has had a good track record for turning their popular IP from the past into new versions in the last few years. Aside from the occasional dud most of their live-action remakes have been pretty good. This one is one of the better ones with The Lion King, Peter Pan and Wendy ,and Beauty and the Beast. It has a lot of good visuals, voice-over work ,and a lot of good songs. Reimagined from the previous film. Kiss the Girl was my favorite movie. The message is also a good one as well. It is empowering and gives viewers the idea that love conquers all. Which I can always get behind.
Dan Skip Allen