Sponsored by Get Ready Comics and the beautiful Loungefly Disney Little Mermaid Ariel Live Action Mini Backpack

I’ve seen Disney’s live action Little Mermaid twice now.  The first time I was so in awe that I completely forgot I needed to write a review.  The second time, I took pages and pages of notes (It’s hard to write in the dark) but then realised I could review the film with four words:

Halle Bailey is Ariel.

That’s is.  Full stop.  Nothing else matters because from the second this woman enters the screen Ariel comes to live.  She is just, just, everything.  She takes a character that many of us have loved for the longest time and makes her more than, complete, living, breathing, human.  Every little glance, eye twinkle or smirk.  Then you hear her sing.  When she reached the bridge of Part Of Your World the first time I saw it, I sat up straight.  By the end I was crying.  The kids behind me in my second viewing gave the song a standing ovation.  I gave them a little clap too, rather than my usual ‘don’t you dare make noise during the film’ death stare.

For those who have spent their lives under a shell, The Little Mermaid is a story of a mythical sea creature, half human half fish, who wishes to be human.  She makes a deal with a sea witch to swap her voice for legs and so the story unfolds. It’s a old tale, dating back to Hans Christian Andersen in 1837.  In 1989 Disney turned the story into a lighter, children’s animation version that has become much loved.    The new live action version is somewhat darker than the Disney animation version, going back a little to its Hans Christian Anderson roots but is still child friendly (the original is seriously dark). 

Without giving away spoilers, I love that we are presented with a much more equal and realistic ‘love at first sight’.  Yes, it’s still there but it’s more than that and we finally get to know Eric (wonderfully acted by Jonah Hauer-King) more.  He’s fully dimensional complete with backstory (there’s a lot of backstories, I sense prequals, sequels and origin stories are a coming) and he even get’s his own subplot, song and teen angst.  I love him so much more as a character in this new version (He’s a dog dad so he’s always been a favourite for me). It presents a relationship that you really want to get behind and root for.  Slight spoiler, but for those expecting a wedding scene at the end, there isn’t one, I think to focus more on a realistic living after happily than a happy ever after.  The ending still felt very resolved for me, it’s just the start of their story (I’m back to sequels again, one can dream).

Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula is perfect (Who knew Sookie could sing).  She too is a fully dimensional character; a villain is a hero in her own story and Ursula fully embraces this. The character seems more unhinged than downright evil, which can be far more scary.  We can’t just write her off as the bad guy.   I feel very much that Melissa McCarthy could have her own Ursula series.  There are definitely untold stories regarding her, Triton and Ariel’s mother (I have theories, I can get into them if you want spoilers).

Loungefly Disney Little Mermaid Ariel Live Action Mini Backpack from Get Ready Comics
Loungefly Disney Little Mermaid Ariel Live Action Mini Backpack from Get Ready Comics

It wasn’t all completely positive for me.  Whilst I loved Sebastian and found him really cute, I thought Flounder felt a bit like an afterthought and was underused.  I also struggled personally with the first few scenes where Ariel is unable to talk. I didn’t feel like the film accurately portrayed the level of sheer frustration of being mute (sometimes I can’t talk), the animated version seems to do a much better job of this.  I’m also not a massive fan of the Scuttle Rap (sorry Lin-Manuel, all the kids loved it, it just made start singing Hamilton in my head) but these are all minor issues really.  It didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the film.

The film visually looks like one of those seriously high res under the sea documentaries.  I was half expecting Richard Attenborough to start talking to me about coral reefs.  It is visually stunning.  The Under The Sea number becomes an underwater ballet of sea creatures that truly embodies the beauty of what lies within our oceans.  There is an important message within the film about the necessity of keeping our oceans and coral reefs protected. 

From offset, the movie is very much about harmony, unity and the forces that can drive it apart.  Yet sometimes the greatest enemy is ourselves and our preconceptions of others.  Those who are different to ourselves. (Unless you’re a shark that is, they get a bad rep in this film. They don’t even get to be a part of Under The Sea.  Sharks are very misunderstood).   Sometimes you just have to bravely face unchartered waters (or Disney live action remakes) with an open mind and see where the journey takes you.  You may discover a path that you want to travel again and again (I will be going to see it for a third time).

Love Sarah x

Loungefly Disney Little Mermaid Ariel Live Action Mini Backpack from Get Ready Comics Cineworld Warrington