film review

Review | The Little Mermaid – 1989

Sometimes it can be very fun to re-watch an old Disney film. The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite Disney animated classics and after all these years I still enjoy the film. However, it is quite hard to write a proper review on a film you’ve seen so many times, and is well-known. But I will try!

For those of you who are not familiar with Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, I’ll give you short description. The Little Mermaid tells the story of the 16-year-old mermaid Ariel, who lives in the big blue sea along with her sisters and father king Triton. Ariel is very adventurous and loves everything that has to do with humans. She explores shipwrecks and collects everything she finds. Her best friend is Flounder, a little yellow fish who is less adventurous. The crab Sebastian is the king’s ‘advisor’ but also a musician. But after an incident, Sebastian has to babysit Ariel. little mermaid cave collection

As the curious girl she is, Ariel goes ‘up’ and meets a young handsome man, or even better, a prince. After a big storm she saves the prince from drowning and gets him ashore. Hopelessly in love with this prince Eric, and for some reason furious on her father, Ariel decides to meet with the evil sea witch Ursula. To actually meet Eric she gives up her voice for legs. This is for Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian the start of a huge adventure on land. Will Ariel find true love? Of course most of you know the answer is yes, but there are many obstacles to overcome.

Disney’s animated version of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, was quite succesful with two Oscars for best orignal score and best original song. The song to win an Oscar was Under the Sea, composed by Alan Menken and with the lyrics of Howard Ashman. Whenever I see Menken is involved with an other Disney film, I instantly feel the music will be great! Menken is also responsible for the amazing score of the films Pocahontas, Aladdin,  Rapunzel and both the animated version of Beauty and the Beast as the 2017 live-action version. This made me also extremely happy. It means we get more magical tunes during that film next year! The writers and directors of the film are Ron Clements and John Musker, who also directed Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog and upcoming Moana. So both men are quite known in the world of Disney. 

little mermaid sebastian 1 little mermaid sebastian 2

Under The Sea was song by Samuel E. Wright’s character Sebastian, and besides his singing I truly love this character. Sebastian, with his amazing facial expressions, is an amazing sidekick and overall a good friend to Ariel. The other members of the cast are Christopher Daniel Barnes as prince Eric, Jodi Benson as Ariel, Pat Carroll as the mean witch Ursula, Paddi Edwards as Ursula’s helpers Flotsam and Jetsam, Jason Marin as Flounder and Kenneth Mars as king Triton. Whenever I watch this film, or any other old Disney classic for that matter, most of the time I watch them in Dutch. But from the songs I know that the voices are very similar to each other.

The Little Mermaid has plenty of amazing songs, song by Ariel or Sebastian. And I love them all. During the song Under the Sea, the sea becomes so colourful and all the fish get exciting, it makes you feel happy as well. The first line, “The seaweed is always greener, in somebody else’s lake” is so recognizable with our very own world. It’s a line adults will recognize sooner than children, and that’s also a remarkable thing of Disney animations: for every different stage of life, there are hidden messages. Like the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Despite that The Little Mermaid is not made with computer but by hand drawings, the original way, the film still looks amazing to me. Of course things are way better in this modern time, but this classic is amazing without the use of special effects and stuff. little mermaid ariel en erikThe song Poor Unfortunate Souls, sang by Ursula the sea witch, is also more entertaining when you’re a bit older. When you think about it, the song is quite harsh against us women. Like the only thing men need from us is our beauty. As long as you keep quiet! Haha. Another funny character is the sea-bird Scuttle (Buddy Hackett) who thinks he knows it all. But a fork is not to brush your hair with! Actually the smaller roles, Ariel’s buddies, are more entertaining than Ariel or Eric. They just want to find true love..

Overall The Little Mermaid is a romantic comedy drama with some clichés, amazing songs, fun characters and of course a happy ending. Don’t let the old-fashioned way of animation hold you back, but watch it with whomever you want and you’ll definitely enjoy it! 

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