“The Little Mermaid Review: A Fascinating Leap in Disney’s Children’s Entertainment, Holly Bailey Shines as the Enchanting Water Nymph, Paving the Way with Novelty”
Artist: Hailey Bayley , Jonah Hower King , Davy Diggs , Awkwafina , Jacob Tremblay , Moma Dumezweni , Art Malik , Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy
Author: David Magee (based on the film of the same name by Ron Clements and Jon Husker, original story by Hans Christian Andersen)
Director: Rob Marshall
Producer: Marc Platt, Lin Manuel Miranda, John Di Luca and Rob Marshall
Release: 26 May 2023
Watch trailer of The Little Mermaid: 👉 CLICK HERE 👈
Disney’s long-standing tradition of transforming its own classical animated films into live-action adaptations using state-of-the-art technology commenced approximately two decades ago. Many of these adaptations even achieved astounding box office success, breaking remarkable records. Notably, the tremendous earnings of ‘Frozen 2’ and its predecessor, ‘The Lion King,’ surpassed the cumulative profits of all preceding live-action films. A live-action film entails the portrayal of actors assuming different identities on-screen, augmented by a layer of captivating special effects. Within this context, the focus rests upon a mermaid, whose tale centers around Ariel, the daughter of the sea’s monarch, spanning centuries. Initially published in 1837, this enchanting narrative later found mention in various television series. Russia produced the inaugural film adaptation of this captivating tale in 1976, capturing the attention of Walt Disney Studios, which subsequently released the animated film ‘The Little Mermaid’ in 1989.
Bua altered the narrative:
Disney’s latest offering, The Little Mermaid, is a visually stunning IMAX and 3D rendition of their original animated masterpiece. This time, the narrative deviates slightly from its source material, incorporating themes of fighting against apartheid. The responsibility of championing this cause falls upon the teenage Jal Pari, also known as Ariel, the story’s courageous protagonist and mother figure. Notably, both Ariel and her mother exhibit different physical appearances compared to the characters in the original film. Indira and Mala, the daughters of the sea king, make their presence felt early on in the story. Ariel, the youngest among them, possesses an insatiable thirst for adventure. Tempted by the world beyond the sea, she frequently explores sunken ships. Against all odds, Ariel defies her underwater existence, rescuing a prince from a sinking vessel and guiding him safely to shore. Yet, as she regains consciousness, Ariel retreats back to the depths. Meanwhile, her envious sister, who was once banished from society, yearns to seize the sea king’s scepter. She plots to exploit Ariel’s passion, manipulating her into transforming into a human in an attempt to claim the prince for herself. However, as the story progresses towards its epilogue, it gracefully returns to its original path.
The film became a bit tangled in its length:
Rob Marshall, in collaboration with screenwriter David Magee, takes the opportunity to expand the storyline. The original 83-minute film has now evolved into a captivating two-and-a-half-hour feature, although this extended duration could be considered its weakest aspect. Marshall has also enlisted the talents of Alan Menken, the esteemed composer of the original film who received two Oscars for his outstanding contributions. Menken graces the film with another exceptional musical score, including the enchanting composition “Under the Water.” This particular song possesses such mesmerizing allure that it alone could easily recoup the cost of an IMAX and 3D movie ticket. The film showcases an extraordinary and vivid world within the ocean, rarely witnessed on such a grand scale. However, it must be noted that the story delves into the darker aspects of the ocean, somewhat overshadowing its vibrant setting. The increased number of songs, while enhancing the musical experience, also contributes to a slight stretching of the narrative.
It’s a fantastic film for children:
Despite its imperfections, The Little Mermaid remains a captivating and enjoyable film for a delightful summer viewing, especially when enjoyed with children. The film holds a special appeal for young audiences, who will be fascinated by the captivating portrayal of the enchanting mermaid. Additionally, it serves as an important lesson for children growing up in the new century, highlighting the winds of change blowing through society. Hailey Bailey, a talented singer cast in the role of Ariel, delivers a remarkable performance, marking her first leading role in a film. Her involvement in the project signifies a bold step towards inclusivity, integrating black individuals into the mainstream. Bailey’s voice possesses a certain charm, and when she sings the iconic song “Part of Your World,” she powerfully conveys the desires, yearnings, and aspirations of a teenager through her vocal prowess and nuanced facial expressions. Her on-screen presence is truly captivating, adding to the film’s overall success.
The meeting of these four friends was incredibly frosty:
The meeting of these four friends is an absolute delight, reminiscent of the magic in Frozen. The three companions of Jalpari (Ariel) are equally captivating. Awkwafina, lending her voice to the character Jalmurgi (Scuttle), brings an astonishing liveliness to the role, sustaining the character’s vibrancy until the very last scene. Scuttle, a charming waterfowl, plays a pivotal part in the story. Jacob Tremblay voices Flounder, while Debbie Diggs lends his voice to Sebastian, the crab entrusted with the important task of being the mermaid’s protector, bestowed upon him by the King’s trusted advisor. The genuine wonder and sheer entertainment that emanate from this quartet are truly remarkable, particularly during the film’s climactic moments.
Given that the film is set in the early 21st century, it brilliantly employs all the advancements in live animation techniques. The crashing waves during a tumultuous sea storm send shivers down your spine, while the shark attack scenes in the deep sea are truly chilling. Furthermore, the machinations of the sorceress Ursula, who happens to be the king’s sister, evoke echoes of timeless folktales, where beautiful princesses are relentlessly pursued by wicked witches. The film masterfully combines these elements to create an unforgettable experience.
Oh water, your hue resembles this…
If you approach the film ‘The Little Mermaid’ with the intention of seeking pure entertainment, it certainly delivers. The film boasts breathtaking special effects that leave a lasting impression. Dion Beebe’s cinematography breathes life into every frame, particularly in the underwater scenes where a seamless blend of live-action and animated creatures creates a visually striking composition. Alan Menken’s music, as always, is exceptional, with the added delight of new songs composed alongside Lin Manuel Miranda.
While the climax of the film could have been stronger, and certain character dynamics, such as Rani openly criticizing the efforts of others, could have been handled with more finesse, The Little Mermaid remains a significant addition to Disney’s children-oriented filmography. Hailey Bailey shines in her first leading role, delivering an impressive performance. Overall, this film proves to be an interesting and entertaining choice for both children and their parents during the summer vacation.
Author: Sangeeta Verma
Sangeeta Verma is highly experienced professional with a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. With over 10+ years of experience in the field, Sangeeta Verma has established themselves as a respected blogger, film critic, and freelance reviewer. Their in-depth knowledge and understanding of the entertainment industry, coupled with their exceptional communication and writing skills, make them an asset to any project. Sangeeta Verma has a keen eye for detail, and their insights and analysis have been published in numerous well-respected publications. Her passion for the work is evident in everything she does, and committed to delivering high-quality content that engages and informs the audience.