The Little Mermaid (1989)

This Disney Classic number 28 has to be one of my favourites. It just seems to be one of those classic films that captures a fantasy children want to wrap themselves into. I don’t know any female of my age or younger who doesn’t love this movie; I’m not saying that I don’t know any males, however, because I’m sure there are many who loved this film as well; the film just seems to base itself onto the emotions of one particular girl, which therefore younger girls seem to see connect with more easily.

Ok, so to begin with, this is a Disney film so of course there is random break outs of song, expressing their deepest thoughts and desires; telling the audience what they want out of life. So if you hate singing, then this is a no go; and probably most Disney films are to be honest… However, one of the best things about this film, in my opinion, is that the songs are so varied yet capture emotions and moods brilliantly. They are songs which people can sing along to because they embarrassingly know all the words. Classics from “Kiss the Girl” to the powerful “Poor Unfortunate Souls”; they are all songs for children to enjoy.

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“Under the sea” there are hopeful mermaids and orchestrating crabs, with a bunch of other creatures for children to love and appreciate. ‘The Little Mermaid’ is based around a young mermaid, the youngest daughter or King Triton (voiced by Kenneth Mars) of the sea (ie. protective father no.1). And her name is Ariel (Jodi Benson). She’s an explorer. Wants to be involved with human things. Obsessed with living outside of the water. Some may say she’s “adventurous”, other’s venture into the possibility she’s being “dangerous”. Either way she wants to do what she wants to do; besides as Sebastian says “children got to be free to lead their own life”. Overall, we get the gist that Ariel is one who dreams big and she wants to follow those dreams, and this is what we witness. Beginning with her letting down of not only Sebastian, but most importantly her father.

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There are of course many other fun characters for children to love. There is the one true love, the human Ariel falls for, Eric (voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes). While Eric is under stress of getting married for his Kingdom, he tries at anything to only find the one he loves rather than a woman of wealth. Oh yeah, if I didn’t mention, Ariel happens to fall for a Prince. Prince Eric. Eric is truly a character for young girls to create dreams off, Disney once again delving into this idea of the perfect soulmate. Now let’s not forget the villain, you can’t have a film without one, especially a Disney film! The villain is introduced in the shadows, the audience being told right away that she is the one to watch out for, of course it’s been put this way as it is a children’s film. And also because of this again, every part of the villain’s plans is told to the audience so they can expect everything; the one thing she wants is Triton’s “undoing”. Who is the villain? Well it’s the sea witch. Ursula (Pat Carroll). And she definitely gets a hold of Ariel in a binding of a legal agreement. Ariel gets legs, Ursula gets her voice. Therefore, the plot. Additionally, friends of Ariel are characters that the audience just have to love. Whether it be the faithful fish, Flounder (Jason Marin). Or the seagull who believes he knows everything of the human world (such as the use of a “dinglehopper”), Scuttle (Buddy Hackett.) Or even, my favourite, Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright), the crab.

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The animation is brilliant to enjoy even now-a-days. Yes, it’s not as good as some Disney classics made more recently, but I think that it is excellent, the animation is captivating for the children to lose themselves into this fantasy world. The whole essence of the film is very colourful, whether the lighting is changing due to mood or just the vary of colourful fishes in the water. The audience knows when things are going to go wrong (this is a children’s film, as I’ve said before). This is due to, 1) the lighting of the film becomes considerably darker. But this is done very cleverly, that you don’t really notice that it’s happening, the audience being more delved into the plot of the film. And finally, 2) the weather gets bad and stormy; pathetic fallacy is used significantly in this film, as alike to most other Disney’s.

Disney of course being moralistic, ‘The Little Mermaid’ encourages children to follow their dreams. But not only does this message get put across, there is the most important one, King Triton’s lesson, a lesson for a father, making the film delve into an enjoyable family film. I feel Ariel is actually a character that doesn’t learn much of a lesson, however this of course doesn’t make a difference on the theatrical enjoyment of the film.

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I would obviously recommend this brilliant Disney Classic, it truly is one to remember and I don’t think I know anyone who at least hasn’t heard of it! It is one of the best Disney Classics and of course Ariel is a part of the princess Disney crowd. Children will look up to her character and aspire to dream to the full, for this is what Disney is for. Besides, if there are people out there hoping to be a mermaid, you are not alone, for one of my flat mates is one of those people too. But don’t be making deals with the sea witch that will never go down well.

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3 thoughts on “The Little Mermaid (1989)

  1. thecoolkat1995 says:

    It’s definitely one of my favorite Disney princess films. Nearly everything about this movie works. The soundtrack by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken is beautiful, the animation is incredibly dynamic, the story’s ambitious, the villainess, Ursula, is very charismatic, and the main character, Ariel, is very relatable – she’s likable in a lot of ways, but just flawed enough that she doesn’t come off as this perfect person.

    You’re right that Ariel doesn’t change that much over the course of this movie. She learns that her actions have consequences that can affect more than just herself, but not much besides that. I think it works because the point of this movie is that people keep trying to force Ariel to be something that she’s not, to the point of her father hurting her in one scene, and it’s the people around her that need to learn to be more accepting of other people’s individuality (similar to Belle in Beauty and the Beast).

    Liked by 1 person

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