“Under the Sea!” That’s where Disney took us in 1989 and kicked off the Disney Renaissance with “The Little Mermaid.”
The story based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale tells the story of Ariel, the princess of the sea and her dream of being where the people are. After trading her voice for a pair of legs, Ariel must get Prince Eric to kiss her to keep her legs and regain her voice. The story is simplistic, but Disney worked wonders in the animation and music to produce one of its best loved hits.
I can’t express how much I absolutely love this film. Everything about this film from the animation to the music is absolutely beautiful. This is in my Top 5 list of Disney films. This film is fun beginning to end. I, recently, held a bracket on my social media pages to determine which one of 64 Disney films my friends found to be the best and “The Little Mermaid” took the overall crown. I’ve never met anybody who has seen “The Little Mermaid” who doesn’t like it. It’s not everybody’s favorite Disney film. It’s not my favorite Disney film. But, it’s near the top.
The incomparable duo of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman produced some of the best music in the Disney canon. “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” are three bona fide hits that are almost impossible not to sing along with. Sebastian truly steals the show with his musical ability in this film. And, Ursula’s performance of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is both eerie and captivating.
Throughout the film, Ariel is a perfect representation of a teenager. When she tries to convince King Triton she’s not a child anymore by saying she’s 16, that resembled something I would’ve said at 16. When I was a kid and she said that, all I could think was “yeah, 16 isn’t a child.” As an adult, all I think is “girl, 16 is still a child, you need to listen to your father.”
Speaking of King Triton, he’s an excellent father figure. He has reason to fear the surface and wants to protect his daughters. When he discovers Ariel’s infatuation with land, he becomes understandably fearful and upset. His destruction of Ariel’s possessions is a moment of weakness but demonstrates how strong his fear is. And, when he calms down, he feels remorse for his actions. He’s a flawed character, but all of his actions come from a place of love. An argument can certainly be made that King Triton is the best parental figure in the entire Disney canon.
Again, I love this film. It’s wonderful start to finish. I hope it brings any new viewers the amount of joy it brings me. And, it helps you to be part of Disney’s world.
Ranking: 5 stars out of 5
What did you think of “The Little Mermaid?”