We all know the story of The Little Mermaid. Created by Hans Christian Andersen and animated by Disney in 1989, this beloved classic has finally gotten the live action remake treatment. Over the years, I have come to tread lightly when it comes to these because I’ve been let down so many times (except for Aladdin which was brilliant). So while I was interested in seeing where they’d take one of my top five Disney flicks, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised with the film. The visual effects were stunning – yes there was a lot of CGI, but I wasn’t bothered by it. The vibrant colours of life under the sea was beautiful. I was completely transported away into this world that I almost wanted to pack my bags and become a mermaid myself!
The best part of the film, was of course, Halle Bailey. This is her film. All the people who were skeptical can step aside because she was born to play Ariel. She made the role her own while also incorporating bits and pieces from her origin. The facial expressions, mannerisms and her VOICE. Her fucking voice was perfection! When she sang Part Of Your World I had chills engulf my whole body and I never wanted it to stop.
In addition to Bailey, we had Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric who was a total clone of his animated counterpart. I was one of those little girls who had a major crush on Eric and to see him come to life like this was a treat. I thought the rest of the casting choices fit as well: Javier Bardem as King Triton was powerful though underused, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder was cute and ever so diligent towards Ariel and Awkwafina was laugh out loud hilarious as Scuttle. Unfortunately I didn’t care much for Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula as I’m simply not a fan of the actress herself. The stand out for me, however, was David Diggs as Sebastian. Every single moment of his was pure gold.
While they tried to bring this story into the 21st century, I didn’t care for many of the updates. The only new song I really enjoyed was Scuttle’s (though I might be biased because it had Lin Manuel Miranda written all over it). The added scenes didn’t really do anything to enrich what we already knew and the run time was a little too long.
All that being said, The Little Mermaid was much better than I ever thought it was going to be. Seeing this story come to life was a major nostalgia trip for me in the best way possible. I do think this is a step in the right direction for Disney going forward and hope it sticks.