The Little Mermaid (1989)

Once upon a time, Disney was churning out hit-after-hit. They created some of the most enjoyable movie-music experiences that were adored by children and adults. We were introduced to a wide variety of Princes and Princesses who sang us through the film and instantly became role models. Traditionally, most of the Princesses that we met were facing some problem at home or in life that would inevitably lead them to meet the Prince who would save their life. Oh, and they were also all humans. Then, Disney surprised us all with a Mermaid Princess who longed for the land, but lived under the sea.

Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian sing about why life in the sea is and isn't better.
Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian sing about why life in the sea is and isn’t better.

Ariel (Jodi Benson) is the mermaid daughter of King Triton (Kenneth Mars), who rules the sea! She is best friends with Flounder (Jason Marin) and is reluctantly “friends” with Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright) the crab. Being the daughter of the King, Ariel is kept under constant surveillance and isn’t allowed to do much of anything. She spends her days exploring shipwrecks and obtaining human objects that she adds to her secret collection. More than anything, though, Ariel wants to go on land and live the humans do. She wishes to walk and dance around. Unfortunately, her being a Mermaid prevents that.

That is, until Ursula (Pat Carroll) the evil octopus offers Ariel a chance to become human. The catch, is that Ariel must trade her beautiful voice. Hastily, Ariel accepts and finds herself washed up on shore and graced by the presence of Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes). Despite her inability to talk, Eric is still charmed by Ariel and begins to fall in love with her. This impending love may be put at risk due to Ariel’s lack of voice and Ursula’s evil plans! Only time will tell if things will stay the same or revert to how they once were.

Never trust an evil octopus with eels as pets. It doesn't end well.
Never trust an evil octopus with eels as pets. It doesn’t end well.

If I had to guess how many times that I’ve seen this movie, I’d wind up at a number like 100. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I loved the movie when I was a child and then even as I grew up, I still enjoyed it. When my little sister stumbled upon the film, she watched it almost every day for months. I would always hear the familiar songs and the lovely dialog. After a while, I had memorized the film forwards and backwards. Whenever it comes on, I can’t help but watch and enjoy it once more.

The Little Mermaid is a perfect example of a Disney film that will survive the ages. The music is a nice blend of Caribbean and ballads and the easy-to-memorize lyrics make for a fun sing-along. The fact that half the movie involves the sea and Mermaids makes the film even more fun, because we don’t often see much of Mermaid’s in popular culture. The story isn’t just about love and the advantages and disadvantages illustrated in the film represent the feelings that a lot of people will experience (perhaps not the desire to be another species, but you never know). Plus, the animation on this film looks better than half the stuff we see these days, so that always helps.

At the end of the day, everybody needs a Prince Eric in their lives.
At the end of the day, everybody needs a Prince Eric in their lives.

What I think a lot of little girls love about Ariel is the fact that she’s not your “average” Princess. She’s not a human! She lives her life in the sea and she has a tail that looks really cool. I see countless Ariel costumes when Halloween rolls around and all the girls love the tail. My sister was Ariel at least twice and loved the way it looks and she loved pretending like she was swimming in the Ocean. The added bonus of Ariel’s amazing voice also inspires little girls to sing like she does and I think that’s a pretty important thing. Ariel is a great role model to little girls and her reliability as a teenage girl will even connect her with older audiences. Whenever someone mentions their favorite Disney Princesses, Ariel is always towards the top of the lists.

It’s very hard to watch this film and not enjoy it. The look and feel of the Ocean and the singing will have you immediately hooked. Now, The Little Mermaid is being released on Blu-Ray for the first time. The film will not only look better, but the sounds will be clearer and crisper. In a time where animated films are hit-or-miss, I think that this release is going to be helpful for a lot of people. I still on the VHS of this film and haven’t been able to watch it in a while and I’m actually very excited that it’s out now. If you’re looking for an enchanting time with the family, The Little Mermaid will provide entertainment for all. I mean, who doesn’t want to live under the sea?

The Little Mermaid Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE4MpsB1lew

 5 STARS!!!

5 / 5 stars     

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