Review: The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid Ariel and Eric

By Renate Engelbrecht

Tuesday, May 23

The latest version of The Little Mermaid is what I call a proper revival of Disney’s Oscar®-winning animated musical classic we’ve all watched more than once. Yes, the amazing live-action movie has been reworked from John Musker and Ron Clements’ The Little Mermaid screenplay. Finally you can watch it in cinemas nationwide and see how brilliantly they’ve captured the timeless story. In fact, long-time fans are bound to feel a whiff of nostalgia.

Ariel exploring the things of people

What’s The Little Mermaid about?

For those who haven’t watched the classic animation, the film is set in the 1830s and tells the story of Ariel, an 18-year-old mermaid who yearns for a life above the sea. Ariel is the youngest child in King Triton’s underwater kingdom. Fascinated with the world above the surface, she breaks her boundaries constantly – to her father’s frustration, of course. Eventually, she goes up to the surface, where she is spellbound by the ways of those with two feet. The amazement soon turns to anguish when a storm causes Prince Eric and his men’s ship to crash, forcing them to abandon the ship by jumping overboard. Ariel saves the prince from drowning and evidently falls in love. Finally, she makes a deal with Ursula the Sea Witch, sacrificing her beautiful voice in exchange for being able to walk on land.

Ariel singing

A story written long ago

The film was inspired by the tale initially written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837. It features fantastic music and excellent visuals. In fact, the visionary filmmaker and director, Rob Marshall has created an incredible backdrop with a beautiful, photorealistic world under the sea. Movie watchers will feel as if they’re drawn into the underwater world Ariel reluctantly calls home.


The Little Mermaid underwater

What about The Little Mermaid’s characters?

While the mermaids themselves appear much more whimsical in the live-action film than in the classic animation, characters like Flounder, Sebastian and Scuttle are just as quirky and lovable, if not more. They all come with their own unique personalities and some additional and very relevant sayings suited to the modern day.

Prince Eric

The twenty-three-year-old Halle Bailey owns her part as Ariel and as Marshall puts it: “…the voice was simply angelic.” Actor, Jonah Hauer-King from A Dog’s Way Home plays Prince Eric in the film. While Spanish actor, Javier Bardem makes his mark as King Triton, Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids plays the cruel sea witch brilliantly.

Ariel and Eric

Sing along to ‘Under the Sea’ once more!

The soundtrack is as catchy as ever and features classic hits like Under the Sea and Kiss the Girl. Songs feature music from Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, with new lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Tremendous amounts of hard work and dedication has gone into making the live-action version of The Little Mermaid. Ultimately, it paid off and I was certainly glued to my seat from start to finish. The visuals of the waves, the underwater colours, shapes and movements, the detail to the merfolk’s tails – it’s all very impressive to say the least.

The Little Mermaid castle on the island

In the end The Little Mermaid is an enchanting tale that will delight the whole family with bright colours from the deep blue ocean, great sing-along songs and even some lessons to be learned.


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