‘The Little Mermaid’ swims to cinematic success

WALT DISNEY STUDIOS | COURTESY

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Combining beautiful cinematography, stunning singing, and a colorful cast of characters, Disney’s live action “The Little Mermaid” far exceeds expectations and will enchant even the sternest of skeptics. 

The discourse surrounding the release of the “The Little Mermaid” in May 2023 took social media by storm for months prior. Some groups expressed disapproval of Ariel’s race in the live-action, feeling that she should have been a white character like in the original 1989 version. However, after watching the movie, it’s clear that making Ariel a black character is a minuscule but positive change in the original storyline that is bringing diversity into Disney’s works. Disney has been including more diverse characters recently, such as Moana in the movie “Moana” and Joe in the Disney Pixar movie “Soul” — it’s an appreciated change of pace that is important for people of color because of how rarely they see themselves represented on the movie screens.

Because of all the discourse surrounding the movie, my thoughts while watching the movie were plagued with race in mind. I was excitingly overwhelmed with how much diversity was shown in the movie, as the movie showed all seven daughters of the sea as a different race. This small detail could make many kids of color feel special since they are so underrepresented on TV. Representation and inclusivity are important for all kinds of individuals to feel that they are seen by others.

Cinematically, this movie was absolutely beautiful. The shots filmed underwater showed the beauty of the ocean, and the attention to detail in the underwater scenes was thoroughly done. Although Ariel’s mermaid outfit could have been a little more detailed, but as well her human outfits were flawless.

When it comes to the differences with the original animated version in 1989, this remake had some distinct changes. Despite the obvious being the inclusion of different races through Ariel and her other sisters, the sisters’ backstories were completely erased. In the original, there is a song that essentially lets the sisters talk. In the remake, it seems as if the sisters are only there to show viewers that Ariel has siblings instead of being separate important characters. This makes me wonder if Disney has future movie plans to dive into these sister’s backstories and personalities because I truly want to see who they are and I’m sure other fans of this movie would appreciate that as well.

Another change that I noticed is that Ariel was the one that killed Ursula in the end. However, in the original, Prince Eric is the one that leads to impaling Ursula. This remake having Ariel impale Ursula gives it a twist and portrays Ariel as a strong female character. It’s also incredible to see a princess defeat her villain in a movie since we usually see a “knight in shining armor” or a prince that saves the princesses. There are surely more plot differences, but this is the biggest one that stood out to me.


Some of the songs are also different in the remake from the original, and this change made the movie stand out in the way it did. Halle Bailey’s stunning voice in the song “Part of Your World” gave me goosebumps in the movie theatre, and is even better than the original version.

Halle Bailey did an incredible job playing Ariel – she was the perfect person for the role. Her voice is stunning, angelic, and heavenly. Melissa McCarthy’s performance as Ursula is runner-up for my favorite in the movie, with her character’s subtle comedy making all her scenes memorable. Despite being known for her comedic roles, McCarthy played the villain’s role flawlessly. Jonah Hauer-King also played Prince Eric’s role perfectly as well and really brought a lot of charm and compassion to Eric’s character.

Despite the drama this movie caused, “The Little Mermaid” seems to be doing extremely well, grossing $413 million to date. I give this movie a 9/10 and recommend it to anyone that wants to see an old Disney fairytale include diversity extremely well.


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  • Uh. The movie still needs to make an additional $200 million to break even. It isn’t a success. At this point the movie is sinking harder than the Titan submarine.

    Please learn how to read box office returns before writing about them.

  • A movie need to do 2.5 his production budget to breakeven. With a 250 millions, TLM need to make 625 millions! Still in red waters

  • We took our daughter and she was not impressed, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I feel like Walt would be rolling over in his grave! Disney is not what it used to be. Usually the “woke” doesn’t bother me, but this is too much, and Disney is quickly losing us as fans, my wife has been really upset because she LOVED everything Disney, and couldn’t wait to share it with our kids. We have taken 4 Disney Cruises over the last 4 years, this year we have booked a different cruise line, and will be going mid August around our sons birthday. Until Disney dials it back, we’re not supporting them.

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