Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” live-action is not worth the hype



“The Little Mermaid” does a good job of incorporating aspects from the original film, but the animations fall a little flat.

Julia Rich, Reporter

Translating a cartoon into a live-action film is always a bit of a challenge, and Disney’s live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” is no exception. Many of the original elements were featured including the songs and much of the dialogue, but the combination of the poorly executed underwater scenes and underdeveloped plot was a letdown.

The most noticeable aspect of the film within the first few minutes is the visual quality of the characters while they were underwater. CGI-generated technology and green screens created the underwater scenes for this live action. For the animals in the film, the use of this technology worked. The animals looked very lifelike and were an accurate representation of the animals from the original movie. However, for the people underwater, especially Ariel’s sisters, the characters looked very computerized and cartoonish.

For the most part, the film was enjoyable to watch. Halle Bailey did a great job embodying Ariel as a character, especially being able to convey her emotions during the scenes where she did not have a voice. It was also refreshing to see Black representation in a film that had previously had a mostly white cast. 

Another aspect of the film that was entertaining was the music. From watching the original 1989 version of “The Little Mermaid” as a kid, being able to hear songs like “Part of That World” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls” was definitely nostalgic.

With these songs, the film was able to hit all of the major plot events from the original movie. However, as this movie is a live-action, I feel that the story had to be more fleshed out to make it more believable, considering the context of watching real people act it out. For example, when Ariel saved the prince from drowning, the next time we see the prince he says he has to find the girl who saved him. To me, this seemed kind of random. I would have liked to have seen the prince having dreams of Ariel and then coming to the decision that he wants to find her instead of jumping to that conclusion right away. 

I felt similarly for a lot of other scenes. It seems that the plot did not have a chance to develop to the same extent that I would expect from a live-action remake. It seems like the producers spent too much time on the special effects rather than focusing on the plot. In order to properly give the storyline justice, I think the movie either had to be two parts or had to focus less on the beginning of the story.

There is one famous scene in the original that the live-action left out where the chef almost cooks the crab Sebastian. There was a great music number in this scene which I think could have added more of a whimsical and fun element to the movie.

The target audience for this film is younger children, however, there were many scenes in the film that would be scary for kids to watch. The fact that this was a live-action made the scenes with shark attacks and shipwrecks even scarier. If you go to see this movie with younger kids, I would be wary depending on the child.

Towards the end, the story felt a little rushed as the movie ended without many explanations. I would recommend this movie for anyone who has seen the original and wants to revisit childhood memories, but overall, many of the plot elements were confusing and not cohesive enough for a live-action film.