The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Pictures. The 28th Disney animated feature film, it is loosely based on the 1837 Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. The film tells the story of a mermaid Princess named Ariel, who dreams of becoming human and falls in love with a human prince named Eric, which leads her to make a magic deal with an evil sea witch to become human and be with him.
The movie was credited for the renewal of the art of Disney animated feature films after a long streak of critical or commercial failure films produced by Disney throughout the early 1970s. It also began the era that was known as the Disney Renaissance. The Little Mermaid was released to theaters on November 17, 1989.
It had a theatrical stage adaptation of the film that was opened in Denver in July 2007 and began performances on Broadway January 10, 2008 starring Sierra Boggess.
Rebellious 16-year-old mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson) is fascinated with life on land. On one of her visits to the surface, which are forbidden by her controlling father, King Triton, she falls for a human prince. Determined to be with her new love, Ariel makes a dangerous deal with the sea witch Ursula (Pat Carroll) to become human for three days. But when plans go awry for the star-crossed lovers, the king must make the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter.
Why It Rocks
- It is the first film in the Disney Renaissance; therefore, it is also the first quality movie since The Rescuers and The Great Mouse Detective after a streak of movies that were mildly received by critics and audiences in the Bronze Age.
- Very interesting characterization and use of each character, like the entertaining crab Sebastian and the creepy sea witch Ursula.
- While the animation is as good as every Disney movie of that time, this movie in particular shows that great details were put into depicting under water movements.
- Like most Disney movies, it provides good entertainment for children and adults alike.
- Quality soundtrack that has some highlights, including the songs "Part of Your World" (and its reprise), "Under the Sea", "Poor Unfortunate Souls", and "Kiss the Girl".
- It features a carefully selected cast of voice actors, especially Jodi Benson, Sam Wright, and Pat Carroll.
- The heroic scene when Eric kills Ursula.
- It features excellently drawn and colored backgrounds, especially the underwater ones.
- The movie is hand-painted colored, amazingly showing that a great and passionate work was put into it.
- Sadly, this was the last film they made using traditional ink-and-paint (they used the technique only one more time for a Lilo & Stitch crossover trailer with this movie, and only as a throwback), as The Rescuers Down Under onward used digital ink and paint, but what a way to go out with the old-school technique.
- This movie, along with Beauty and the Beast was referenced in We Bare Bears' episode Shush Ninja, along with other movies like Singin' in the Rain, Titanic, and My Neighbor Totoro.
- The movie was released at the same day Don Bluth's All Dogs Go to Heaven was released.
The Little Mermaid received critical acclaim, earning praise for the animation, music, and characters. Review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film has a 93% approval score based on 70 reviews and an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's consensus reads "The Little Mermaid ushered in a new golden era for Disney animation with warm and charming hand-drawn characters and catchy musical sequences". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 88 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".