Movie Musical Reviews- #4: The Little Mermaid

Elric-san
Well, since this is a post series about musicals, Disney has to be talked about. I had a hard time picking, because there are plenty to talk about. However, I decided to talk about the one that kickstarted the Disney Renaissance and got Disney out of their dark age, The Little Mermaid. I watched this movie a lot when I was little, and I really loved it. What do I think now? Well...

Okay, so the story (for the very few who don't know it) revolves around our main character Ariel, a mermaid who is fascinated by human culture. However, her father disapproves of this because he is afraid of what could happen to his daughter. One day, Ariel sees a ship above water and sees what's on it. What she finds is Eric, a handsome prince. The boat sinks, but Ariel saves Eric from drowning and sings to him, and he falls in love with her voice. After a fiasco with her father, Ariel decides to go to a sea witch named Ursula, who has her trade her voice for human legs. Now Ariel must try to make Eric fall in love with her in three days or she will be captured by Ursula.

So, on the whole, the story is kinda predictable, but Disney romances usually are (not saying that it's a bad thing). The setup of the story is all right, it has a plot that doesn't do too much meandering (except with Sebastian and the crazy chef), but some things in the plot are underdeveloped, like the character chemistry (more on that later). Also, the plot can drag sometimes, like there are things that go on a bit too long, like the dinner scene or the bit with Vanessa (which needed to resolve much quicker in my opinion). But overall, the story is all right.

Now, the characters are where I get a bit ranty. First off, Ariel. I don't think Ariel is the worst protagonist in Disney history, but that doesn't change the fact that there are many written a lot better. Ariel is simply a brat. She complains about her dad wanting her to stay away from the surface when he just wants her to be safe (also, how does she breathe up there?), she makes stupid and irrational decisions over Eric, and in the end, she never gets punished for what she has done at all, she gets exactly what she wants. That's stupid! If a person or even a character makes a mistake, they need to learn from these mistakes. Ariel learns nothing. So basically, she'll be a brat who never learns her whole life. Look, I get that she's 16, and I know 16 year olds make stupid decisions. But if she's only 16, wouldn't marrying a guy she knows nothing about be another stupid decision? Speaking of which, Eric might be even worse than Ariel. Eric hears Ariel's voice and falls in love with it, and keeps searching for the girl with the magical voice. If all you know about a girl is she has a pretty voice, you shouldn't keep searching for her. For all you know, she is a mass murderer. I think one scene that really irks me is when Eric meets human Ariel for the first time. He thinks she's the girl with his mystery voice, but once he realizes she can't speak, he's immediately disinterested. What the hell? And he has to be convinced by his butler or whatever to consider Ariel as a potential love, then he hears the mystery voice and immediately goes to that. At least Ariel has the slight advantage in this argument because she was human obsessed already, Eric is just shallow. As far as Flounder and Sebastian, they get a few good lines, but I can think of funnier Disney sidekicks. King Triton, Ariel's father, actually is likable, because you can tell she's just a father trying to maintain his daughters, especially Ariel, and he truly feels sorry when he makes mistakes. Ursula, though, is the best character in the movie. She's one of my favorite Disney villains, because she's just fun. She's very calculating and knows how to manipulate people, making her an awesome bad guy. Also, she's voiced by Pat Carroll, who was also the voice of Jon's grandmother in Garfield specials from the 70's, so that's a plus.

The animation in this movie is quite good. I've always loved hand drawn animation, and this is some very high quality animation. The designs are very pretty and interesting, and it has some great shots. I especially love the design of Ariel's cavern. There's so much that's really interesting to see Ariel collected, and it's a very interesting place.

The music, as I'm sure you all know, is extremely catchy. I have these songs ingrained in my head and can sing them word for word. They are pretty well written (although Under the Sea can get annoying), and the score is pretty good too. The best song has to be Poor Unfortunate Souls. I love villain songs (Disney or not), and this one is no exception. I just love how Ursula is acting like such a fake nice person in the beginning and just goes crazy and bombastic at the end. Not the best Disney soundtrack, but still pretty good.

I feel like I could like this movie if our main leads were written better. Unfortunately, they're not, and the movie suffers greatly from it. I know plenty of people like this movie, and I'm not gonna pretend I don't see why, I do. But for me, it is highly overrated and the mains could use a rewrite.

Overall Score: 5/10

If you have any suggestions, feel free to tell me.

Comments

I did indeed love this movie a lot as a kid for its story presentation and its fantastic traditional animation and musical score, but I must say that ever since stumbling upon this website, I can certainly say that my opinions on certain characters have changed either a bit or significantly. I liked Ariel a lot when I was younger since not only was she beautiful, but she was also a female lead willing to pursuit her wishes to her heart's desire, but nowadays, I can understand why a lot of people now perceive her as nothing more than quite spoiled to say the least. I actually kind of hated Triton and Ursula a bit too back then, though now I like them more as characters since now I see Triton as a caring father like you said and now I see Ursula as one of the greatest Disney villains in history. I know this is a lot going into one comment, but either way, I'd say this is a good review as any other review of yours. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

I don't like Ariel now, but I did love her when I was little. I actually wanted to be a mermaid when I was little because of her. - Elric-san

7/10, some good elements - visitor

It does have good elements, but I just gave it a 5 because the main leads really annoy me. - Elric-san

It could have been a 9, but Sleeping Beauty had the same issue - visitor

Yeah, Sleeping Beauty had the most boring leads in a Disney princess movie. - Elric-san

Typical prince who has about 7 lines, aurors has 3 before she goes to sleep, Maleficent and The Fairies saved it from being bad. - visitor

Yup. - Elric-san

Beauty and The Beast, Moana, and The Princess and the frog had a good mix - visitor

Beauty and the Beast had the best mix to me. - Elric-san

That movie was perfect - visitor

It's the best Disney movie in my opinion. - Elric-san

I prefer Pinocchio for being a touch darker and things not always going ok. - visitor

I haven't seen that in years. - Elric-san

When Ariel lost her voice, why didn't she try to write on a paper piece to communicate? - TwilightKitsune

Cause she's stupid. - Elric-san

Because princesses always get tricked. - iliekpiez

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