Is Disney's Live Action version of The Little Mermaid a winner?
The Little Mermaid
Walt Disney Pictures
It is finally here! One of the most controversial movies of the year. To me that is a pretty funny statement. The movie that is causing so much chaos this year is a fairytale about a mermaid. Not a movie about war, injustice or anything uncomfortable, but a mermaid. Some of the controversy is because Disney keeps remaking "live action" versions of some of the best animated movies of all time. Not all of those "Live "action renditions have worked. For me personally, I really only want to see a remake of something I love if there is a reason. For instance, the live action version of Cinderella was a big win for me. Disney gave us enough of the original movie that made us feel nostalgic and at home and then they gave us more storyline that we could get lost in. They gave us something new! I don't want to see a scene-by-scene adaptation of a movie that is already good. Why do that? Ok, let me get myself together. Did this "Live Action" work? For me it did.
For one, there was enough actual "Live Action" for it to be considered a Live Action film. You have actual live sets, props, people and actions to fit into that category. The symmetry of the live action seems fairly seamless, when you get to the CGI/Animation part of movie you feel whisked away to the magical place you remember as a kid. Bright colors, fun music and fanservice is what Disney is good at and they brought it in hoards to this film. Ariel and her sisters tell a story of their own without saying anything. Each sister looks different and is from another place, all coming together for their father's celebration. This gives a feeling that there is another story behind the story being told. I like that mystery; I created my own story in my head on why each sister would be so different and I think you should too. The casting of Javier Bardem is probably one of my favorite castings from this movie and there are several. He really captures what I think King Triton should be as a character. A loving yet stern father who has the weight of ruling the ocean and being a father to so many daughters on his shoulders. Bardem has a way of using his eyes and the flection of his voice so well in his acting. Playing this character is no different, I feel more than a 2-dimensional King Triton, he is more than his animated counterpart and that is important to this story.
Another controversy what how some of the characters looked from Flounder to Sabastian. I was one of those people that hated the flat looking flounder CGI from the first trailer. It works! For this movie we are in a more real looking ocean. In those surroundings flounder is a flat fish and it didn't bother me at all. Sabastian still feels like the annoyed crab that has to double time it to get around and it works. There are two things that don't really work for me. One is Prince Eric's Song. I was not that surprised, because I didn't like the Beasts song in the Live Action version of Beauty and the Beast Either. But it would have been cool if it was a bop. Sadly, the other thing that didn't work for mt was Ursula. Ursula is this overexuberant character that we all love and we should hate. But she is so BRILLIANT. Melissa McCarthy should have been a good cast for this character. She is fun, not afraid of being weird and different, what happened? She played it safe. Ursula went from a boisterous supervillain to a bland plate of pasta. All the texture and no taste.
Is this the Little Mermaid from my childhood? Some of it. Is it a movie that a younger audience is going to love whether they have seen the original or not? Yes. Like is said in the beginning, It Works! There is enough difference about it to make give it a reason for being. There is enough from the original movie that we can sing along to our favorite songs and remember when we were a kid and get caught up in the magic. Is it perfect? No. Is it the best Disney movie ever, No? Is it a fun movie to go see with your kids or other Disney lovers for a little bit of fun and adventure? Yes.
Director: Rob Marshall
Producer: Marc Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John DeLuca, Rob Marshall
Writer: David Magee
Release Date (Theaters): May 26, 2023 Wide
Runtime: 2h 15m
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Production Co: Walt Disney Pictures, Lucamar, Marc Platt Productions
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital, Dolby Atmos, DTS, Dolby
Aspect Ratio: Digital 2.39:1