For those of you who didn’t want to get sucked up into the hype, controversy, and overall discourse surrounding Disney and its recent live-action remake of the classic The Little Mermaid movie, your time has finally come. Not only did the movie start streaming on Disney+ earlier this month but all that hype and controversial discourse has completely shifted to Disney’s next live-action Disney Princess film – Snow White.
This is good news for everyone who was interested in checking out the new mermaid film but didn’t feel like getting wrapped up in the fanfare. It’s finally safe to watch 2023’s The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey as Ariel from the comfort of your couch and form your own opinion.
Here are a few things I thought about during my first watch though to get you inspired, with only mini spoilers!
Halle Bailey’s Little Mermaid Remake
Without having watched the 1989 animated version in a few years, I have to say the live-action seems to stay pretty true to the ultimate storytelling presented. Yes, Princess Ariel is black, there’s a lot of CGI, and some new songs, but there are also clear shot-for-shot recreations that are undeniably stunning!
Honestly, I wasn’t truly hooked until Ariel sang her siren song to an unconscious Eric on the shore. Halle has a beautiful voice and nails each Part of Your World section, but I felt like I wasn’t really connecting with the character until that moment.
To me, one of the best parts of this live-action remake is the beautiful visuals – from CGI, to on-location shoots, to sets, to costumes, and props! It truly is mesmerizing! I wish the energy I felt from those aspects were filled in elsewhere.
I love that this film made a point to flesh out Prince Eric as a character and offer us some sort of backstory. That was a welcome addition to the story presented in 1989. He’s got his own song too! Felt a little too modern in style for me, but still entertaining! HE SAYS THE TITLE OF THE MOVIE TOO. Listen for that! Not to mention he also has a sweet relationship with Grimsby.
I actually thought Daveed Diggs’s Sebastian was pretty adorable.
Ariel’s sisters get more screen time and we even learn a little about coral reefs. Cool, cool.
Melissa McCarthy as Ursula is very fun with expectedly great comedic timing. Why she calls King Triton (her brother in this version) “daddy” though is beyond me. The whole “Poor Unfortunate Souls” scene is pretty epic.
The movie only seems to get better the further in it gets! When the film first came out, fans went crazy over Jessica Alexander’s killer performance as Vanessa (AKA the evil sea witch in human form), and I agree, she’s great! I will note that the singing voice Vanessa uses comes from Ursula’s magic shell necklace, and is, therefore, Ariel’s voice. So it’s still Halle Bailey singing.
I love Lin-Manuel Miranda, but that “Scuttlebutt” song was pretty rough. I would put a pillow over my head too, Ariel.
Without giving too much more away, I’ll just say that Halle Bailey and Jonah Hauer King (Prince Eric) have such great chemistry and were a pleasure to watch.
Overall I really enjoyed the live-action interpretation. Is it the best thing Disney has ever done? Of course not. Is it better than the original? Well, I suppose that’s up to you to decide…
When you finally give it a watch, let us know what you think in the comments!