Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” has been a subject of controversy since it was first announced; however, its release has provided an experience full of fun and joy and finds itself just as magical as the original cartoon.
The film follows Ariel (Halle Bailey), the fun-loving, red-headed mermaid who has a curiosity about the human world above her. After saving Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) from drowning, Ariel makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) in which she will give up her voice in return for human legs so she can reunite with the prince and finally experience life out of the sea.
Though the story is familiar to most, the cast is impeccable.
Bailey’s performance as Ariel equals that of Jody Benson, the original voice of Ariel in the 1989 animated movie. She gives a show that is familiar to long-time fans of Ariel and inspiring for new fans: Bubbly, full of emotion and fun.
Bailey’s singing voice is immaculate. Her renditions of the film’s original tracks are beautiful, fitting her perfectly and opening the audience to a refreshing yet familiar take on Ariel.
The ambiance of the film hypnotizes the crowd, especially with the musical tracks “Part of Your World” and “Under the Sea.” Daveed Digg is a wonder in his role as Sebastian, and his rendition of “Under the Sea” is full of energy that brings joy to the audience.
Three original songs have been added to the film, as well. Two are sung by Bailey and Hauer-King, allowing previously unseen emotions of each character to finally shine through. The last sung by Awkwafina in her role as Scuttle, the loveable yet almost always wrong seagull.
Ariel’s “For the First Time” is a fun, upbeat lyrical piece that lets Bailey’s voice shine at its full potential, and Eric’s “Wild Uncharted Waters” is a poetic piece of melodic and lyrical genius that Hauer-King absolutely stuns in.
Awkwafina’s role as Scuttle is highlighted in “The Scuttlebutt,” giving a deeper look into the familiar bird audiences know and love.
Despite the magic found in the songs and brightly colored scenes, the film did seem to include many darker moments, almost making the movie feel a bit too serious and losing its fun nature in some moments.
However, these darker moments – despite their shift in tone – allow older fans to still find enjoyment in the film, as they all have resolution and allow the characters to have a growth that many Ariel fans have found in adulthood.
Many critics have brought up the diversified changes within the film, some calling the film too “woke” and “black-washed.”
However, the “political correctness” argument seen before the film’s release is forgotten now that it is on the big screen.
The diverse casting brings no changes to the story, with each cast member finding the spotlight throughout the film. Being able to see such a diverse cast allows the new generation to find the same enjoyment their parents and grandparents found when watching the original film.
Young children often resonate with characters they look and act like them, and the live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” brings this to them, showcasing familiar characters with the same loveable aspects as their originals under a new light.
“The Little Mermaid” overall gives the audience a ride on a familiar magical journey and teaches a very innocent lesson: Anyone can be a mermaid.
Written by Jasmine Hightower, Entertainment Editor. Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.