Remember how I was doing that series where I watched all of the animated Disney movies and reviewed them? Oh yeah. It had probably slipped your mind, just like it (apparently) did mine. It's been almost two years since the last one. But I do want to finish the list, so I'm going to try to get back on track. I actually watched The Little Mermaid about six months ago with the intention of reviewing it then, but I was watching with two little girls, so you can imagine it was difficult to jot down notes. This past week I finally took the time to watch it again.
I really loved The Little Mermaid as a kid. I was born in 1991 so it was one of those Disney movies made between the late 80s and mid-90s that was prominent during my childhood. I remember lots of mermaid-themed merchandise (like an indoor play tent and a little table with chairs). But it's not one that I've watched often as an adult, so I was curious how I'd feel about it.
My main thought about this movie now: Wow, Ariel is really annoying! I know she's only supposed to be like 16 years old, so I guess she has the angsty teenage thing going on. But she really just comes across as a spoiled brat. She's the youngest daughter, and apparently the favorite of her father, since the other sisters are given no personalities at all. And even though Disney princess movies are well known for featuring love-at-first-sight/"instalove," it seems worse in this one. Ariel doesn't even know Prince Eric. She sees him once (not even having a conversation with him, mind you) and becomes obsessed. Then the next thing you know, she's risking everything for the chance he might like her.
Disliking Ariel so much now might have tainted my opinion of the film a little. But I still ended up enjoying it. The supporting characters are so interesting and entertaining that it makes up for Ariel and Eric. My personal favorite is Scuttle, the seagull voiced by Buddy Hackett. He is such a goober, and he cracks me up. Sebastian is also hilarious. And Ursula is so creepy...she reminds me in a way of a deranged, underwater Cruella De Vil. Surprisingly there aren't many well known actors among the voices. (Though apparently Jim Carrey auditioned for the voice of Prince Eric? What? Ha, maybe then Eric would've been a bit more interesting.)
The music in The Little Mermaid is amazing. Of course it is, because it's Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who wrote some of my favorite Disney songs. Honestly, I love all of the songs in the movie. (And now I'm sure I'll have them stuck in my head for days.) I had never noticed it before, but the chef's song reminds me of Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast. The tune sounds similar, but then they're both sung in heavy French accents so that could be part of it. :)
The animation is nice, though for me it's not one of the most memorable aspects of the film. I have to admit that Eric's oceanfront castle is pretty beautiful! And the Kiss the Girl scene is visually lovely, too. The dramatic scene at the end is done really well. Of course I know how everything turns out, but it was still intense!
I'll probably always enjoy The Little Mermaid for nostalgic reasons. And despite Ariel's obnoxiousness, it is a good film. Even if it's not a favorite, I can still respect that it was the beginning of the "Disney Renaissance" and all of those 90s Disney classics. :) I've read that Disney was planning to adapt this story as far back as when Snow White was released! It took a long time to happen, but I think it came at the right time.
Up next is one I've never seen before: The Rescuers Down Under. I'm having trouble finding a copy of this one, but I think I've finally found a way to watch it. So hopefully it won't be too long now! :)
How do you feel about The Little Mermaid? Does Ariel win the "Most Annoying Princess" award or should it go to someone else?