In this no-spoiler review of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, we discuss what the live-action film did right. Fans of Disney’s animated film will be pleasantly surprised when the film opens on May 26th. There is always a little bit of fear when a live-action adaptation of a beloved animated film comes out. Many fans will ask themselves, “What are they going to do with the story?” “Are they going to make changes?” “Are the characters going to act differently?” But I think fans of the original Little Mermaid are going to be pleasantly surprised.
The casting of Ariel
One of the biggest things they did perfectly was casting Ariel. The Little Mermaid stars singer and actress Halle Bailey as Ariel. There is no one else who could play this role. Halle Bailey embodies Ariel’s entire persona with her mannerisms, the costuming, the way she is styled, and with her singing. She is all the things I loved about Ariel, joyful, youthful, cheery, and such a sweet character.
When Halle Bailey sang “Part of Your World” I was left completely emotional. The tears just started coming down. A wave of emotions and nostalgia from my childhood came rushing back. The way she sang it just really hits you in your heart and in your soul. It was completely beautiful. I doubt anyone could ever complain about Halle Bailey’s singing because it is phenomenal. She did such an amazing job capturing Ariel’s beautiful soul and spirit.
The casting of Prince Eric
Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric was completely charming. Although he does put his own twist on the character he was still the sweet and adorable Eric that we come to love from the animated film. Hauer-King’s version of Eric was a little and his own person.
When asked, actor Jonah Hauer-King said that “Eric is kind and compassionate
and adventurous and spirited.” He goes on to tease “But when we first meet him, he’s actually quite lost. I don’t think he knows who he is, and there is a kind of churning, restless spirit in him. That is why he’s so drawn to the sea; because he is drawn to the unknown and what’s out there and not just what’s in front of him.”
The casting of Ursula
Two-time Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy is Ursula, the cruel and vindictive sea witch, half-woman/half-octopus, who has been banished by King Triton for her misdeeds. As the sister of Triton, she plots her revenge and dreams of one day ruling the sea herself. Melissa McCartney was surprising and phenomenal as Ursula.
Ursula as a character is very emotive and expressive with her face. McCartney doesn’t capture as many of the facial expressions from the animated movie as I would have hoped. However, she does nail it with the singing, her acting her ability to portray anger, and being so demanding.
“I never thought I would get to play such a wildly iconic villain,” says McCarthy. “She is delicious and she’s a broad, and in fact, I always picture her in my head as holding a martini and a cigarette. She’s so dishy and conniving, and yet I will always feel for her because she’s the outcast and she didn’t start off bad. I think she’s been alone in her lair for so long with her eels Flotsam and Jetsam, that she’s gone a little batty,”
The casting of Sebastian
Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs is the voice of Sebastian, a crab who serves as the advisor to King Triton and is forced to serve as Ariel’s guardian. Anxiety-ridden and a bit of a cranky crustacean, deep down he has a soft spot for Ariel.
“Sebastian is a very serious crab who takes his job very seriously,” says Diggs. “He’s really the only one Triton goes to for all his big decisions and advice.”
When I originally watched the trailer, I was a bit skeptical because I wasn’t sure how the live-action animals and fish would translate onto the big screen. Upon finally being able to watch the film I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Sebastian. Daveed Diggs brought this character to life in such an amazing way. Sebastian was witty, of course, he was a nervous wreck. The way that Daveed Diggs interpreted Sebastian is even better than the original animated counterpart. I think Sebastian will be a fan favorite.
The film is visually stunning
This film is 100% absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend checking out the film in 3D. It is completely worth it. I know there were a lot of complaints when the trailers came out because were concerned with how dark the teaser trailer looked. I can tell you right now, please wait until you watch the movie to make any judgments. Because the way the story is translated on the big screen is breathtaking. Especially in 3D, you could almost feel the ocean waves coming at you.
If you are seeing it in IMAX or any other Premium Large Format theaters, you’ll be happy to know that the images were crystal clear. And then the colors were just like a rainbow, an explosion of color all over. From the sea life to the characters, the way that everything just came together was just absolutely amazing. The visuals made it feel real and you will not be disappointed.
It is a great family fun!
The kids are going to absolutely love it. Sebastian, Flounder, and Scuttle have hilarious interactions. It was so funny and so cute. Flounder was so adorable. Visually Flounder left a lot to be desired but the voice acting from Jacob Tremblay is fantastic. You really buy into the relationship he has with Ariel.
The Little Mermaid is Disney’s best live-action adaptation
The live-action movie holds up strongly against the animated original. They were able to capture the core essence of the cartoon. It’s basically the same story. There are some creative liberties here and there. As well as a few small changes, but it’s nothing major.
The biggest thing that they did differently from the animated version was incorporating new songs. Some of them I liked, others not so much. However, those changes do not distract from the story and they fit well into its narrative. I think that this is one of the best live-action movies that Disney has adapted. It is faithful to the original and you can tell they took their time to really make sure that everything was right.
When I was a little kid, The Little Mermaid was the first movie that I remember going to see in the theater. I really think audiences are going to love this film. I know that it’s going to be emotional for a lot of people. So just make sure that you go watch it, and give it a chance. It’s a really beautiful movie.
Advance tickets are now available for purchase at Fandango or wherever tickets are sold. This includes tickets for “Disney’s The Little Mermaid Early Access Screening” taking place on Wednesday, May 24 nationwide. Now fans, communities, and organizations can arrange group bookings and theater buy-outs by visiting: tickets.