Changes create a new experience

Movie Review: The Little Mermaid


TV Insider

A live action version over 30 years later still amazes Disney fans around the world.

We’ve all heard of the Disney version of the classic story The Little Mermaid, where Ariel gives up her voice in exchange for legs to be a part of the human world. The original animated film was released in 1989, with Jodi Benson as the voice of Ariel, but in 2023, a new Ariel has reached the surface.

Halle Bailey is the new star in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid, alongside castmates Jonah Hauer-King (Eric), Melissa McCarthy (Ursla), Daveed Diggs (who voices Sebastian) and Jacob Tremblay (who voices Flounder), with special appearances by Simone Ashley, Awkwafina, Noma Dumezweni and Jessica Alexander.

Unlike other live-action remakes, this particular film has experienced an extreme amount of controversy in the media due to the change in the ethnicity of the main character, a controversy that detracts from the story and, perhaps, a more concerning message in the film. “I hope this Little Mermaid scandal doesn’t overshadow the rest of the movie,” said writer, producer and comedian, Trevor Noah, comments. “It’s a beautiful story about a young woman changing her core identity to please a man. Let’s not forget that people.” Looking at the bigger picture many other fans have agreed along with Trevor Noah’s statement.

No matter what controversies have surrounded the film, it was a delight to see the film the first weekend it was released. The theater was filled with Disney fans, from children dressed in their Princess Ariel costumes to adults just looking for a highly- talked about movie.

Although similar to the original animated film, there were slight changes: additional songs, changed characters and enhanced scenes. One of the biggest changes was the different cultural representations in Ariel’s sisters. Being a TikTok addict, I’ve seen thousands of videos about users being positively emotional with this change, basically crying, “My younger self is overjoyed”.

Despite this, the film overall was good, but I felt it lacked color. Besides the Under the Sea musical scene, the rest of the film was mainly neutral or dark colors. I wish director Rob Marshall continued with the classic Disney fashion of bright colors to entertain the viewers’ eyes.

At times I felt the added songs and scenes were unnecessary, and that sticking with the same songs and scenes might have enhanced the film, but they also added a new cultural angle to the movie and gave viewers vacation vibes during town and castle scenes.

Nevertheless I can speak for all viewers when I say Halle Bailey has an amazing voice.

To conclude, the live-action version of The Little Mermaid was a good watch. I appreciated some additions to the film while questioning the logic of removing some of the original songs and scenes. I would not go see the motion picture again in the theatres and would instead wait until it comes out on Disney+.