The Little Mermaid

May 26, 202365/1005 min
Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem
Written by
David Magee(screenplay/ story) Rob Marshall and John DeLuca ( story by) Hans Christian Anderson ( based on the story by )
Directed by
Rob Marshall
Run Time
2h 15min
Release Date
May, 26th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

I get Disney’s whole remake of classics thing, the thinking of the best way to make money is by using something that made money before. Instead of a sequels, we are getting almost shot for shot, line for line remakes of thirty to forty year old films. Maybe it’s a cash grab, or maybe it’s a way to pull in a new generation to enjoy classics in a fresh way. With the last few it scales seemed to be tipping one way or the other. Something like Aladdin was terrible, on the other hand the recent Peter Pan & Wendy released straight to Disney+ had a fresh take on a old tale with surprising results. So how does The Little Mermaid the classic tale by Hans Christian Andersen remade from the 1989 animated version by Ron Clements and John Musker fare this live-action go-round?

Under the sea, Ariel (Halle Bailey) is one of the daughters of King Trition (Javier Bardem) she is always getting into mischief due to her obsession with the above world. So much so, that she actually yearns to be “part of that world”. And she gets her chance when she encounters Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) who gets shipwrecked and she decides to save him, while instantly falling in love with him. Trying to keep Ariel out of further trouble is her sidekicks Flounder the fish (Jacob Tremblay) and Sebastian the crab (Daveed Diggs) but after being repremanded by her father Ariel is tempted by his sister, the sea witch Ursela (Melissa McCarthy). She gives up her voice in exchange for a pair of legs and three days on the surface to get true loves first kiss.

Directed by Rob Marshall and written by David Magee this version of The Little Mermaid much like the previous remakes hinges on the performance of the leads. While Bardem stays within the lines of the animated version and McCarthy is deliciously devious, it’s newcomer Halle Bailey that holds it all together. She has the look and the voice and even more impressive was when her voice is taken away at the halfway point, she shines even brighter with her expressions and reactions. I also loved hearing Hamilton star Diggs as Sebastian who delivers a humors performance as well. There is also an attempt to give more of a backstory to the divide between the surface world and the ocean world, that was an interesting addition. But as usual most of the film is just a redoing of the animated film, where you see that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s still an enjoyable film overall and will surely make Disney a ton of money which will further prove to them that they should only hit the gas and try to make as many live-action versions of their entire animated catalog. Wether we like it or not.

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