The Little Mermaid is Disney’s live-action adaptation of the 1989 cartoon film of the same title. The story brings the beloved mermaid Ariel to life on the big screen as she yearns to explore the human world and all it has to offer. Along the way, Ariel is faced with the ups and downs of trading in her underwater adventures for land. Can the live-action deliver the same majestic splash as the 1989 animation?
At the heart of The Little Mermaid is Ariel, played by Halle Bailey, who wants nothing more than to see what life out of the water brings. Bailey gives an out of the “sea” performance as she achieves the character’s determined yet naive teenage curiosity with an unforgettable singing voice. Bailey’s performance is paralleled by the cast that includes Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. The robust talent of the cast delivers a remarkable experience that is heightened by the soundtrack. Composer Alan Menken returns to the live-action Little Mermaid after composing the award-winning score for the animated film. This time he is joined by songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda for a melodic spectacle.
In contrast to the captivating cast and score, The Little Mermaid’s visuals leave much to be desired with lackluster CGI. The CGI takes away the vibrant looks of the gizmos, gadgets, and nautical friends. Another element that feels lacking is the shortfall display of how absolutely terrifying Ursula is. The film would have benefited by adding more details to the sassy sea witch’s backstory or maybe Disney is saving this for another addition to the collection similar to what Maleficent did for Sleeping Beauty.
With nearly 35 years in between, The Little Mermaid revisits the classic and adds a flair that sparkles. The wave of nostalgia pushes away the film’s insufficiencies due to its outstanding cast and soundtrack earning it a top spot among Disney’s live-action remakes.
THE LITTLE MERMAID is in theaters on May 26th, 2023.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Ashley Bell (Contributing Editor) is an Orlando native who loves watching movies. Her favorite genres include comedies, thrillers and sci-fi.
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