The live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid FINALLY premieres tomorrow! And, boy, have the seas been rough approaching this movie’s release to theaters. There’s been backlash and internet fervor since Halle Bailey was announced to star as Princess Ariel in 2018, the CGI characters were widely criticized as soon as their designs hit the ether, and people who watched it early leaked clips to the public.
A police station in Texas literally called the CGI flounder “a crime.” Hopefully, this is all in good fun, because reviews for the film seem to be pretty positive. I mean original Ariel herself, Jodi Benson, not only praises the remake but has a cameo in it! Director Rob Marshall has indicated he wants his version to be more adult and make sense in a more real way.
This brings us to Scuttle, played by Awkwafina.
You may notice that the original animated Scuttle and the live-action CGI version bear a resemblance to each other but are certainly not the same type of bird. Both have mostly white feathers, but the animated has orange feet with a white head, while the CGI has black feet, black tipped wings, and yellow feathers surrounding the eyes. Luckily the Dinglehopper remains.
Plus the CGI Scuttle is underwater? Wait, what?
Here’s what Rob Marshall told Indie Wire about the change:
I wanted to make it that Ariel had never ever been to the surface. Ever. That was the goal for me. She’s never broken that rule, [so that helps] raise the stakes for that moment when she finally does it…But then I realized, well, Scuttle, how does she know everything that’s up there? We decided to make her a diving bird so that she could come down and Ariel could meet Scuttle in the water and get all that information there, not above.
We looked at different ones. There was a cormorant, there was a gannet,” Marshall said. “They stay underwater for many, many minutes and then go back up. We looked at all the different versions of what they looked like. It just seemed so fun and wonderful and it just fit Awkwafina more. We liked it so much more and so I chose to do that, but it’s really important.
So there you have it. Scuttle’s new species is a diving bird – the Northern gannet, and if you ask me, it makes sense. If the live action remake seeks to be more mature and dramatic, it can’t rely on the suspension of disbelief given to the animated original.
Do you have your theater tickets for this weekend to see The Little Mermaid? Just prepare yourself for that Northern gannet to rap.