The Little Mermaid Review

Cast: Haile Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem

Director: Rob Marshall

Genre: Adventure, Family Fantasy, Musical, Romance

Release Date: May 26th


A young mermaid makes a deal with a sea witch to trade her beautiful voice for human legs so she can discover the world above water and impress a prince.

The Little Mermaid is Disney’s latest Live Action offering following on from the original 1989 animation adaptation. Ariel (Haile Bailey) is a carefree mermaid princess living Under the Sea and is the youngest daughter of King Triton (Javier Bardem), she is fascinated with the human world above her, much to her father’s disapproval. She collects treasures from the human world and keeps them as trophies, and wants to one day experience life outside the ocean. After saving Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) from a shipwreck and developing romantic feelings for him, she develops a determination to be with him in the human world. Her father strongly disagrees and forbids Ariel from ever leaving the sea. The conniving Sea Witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) makes a deal with Ariel to trade her beautiful voice for human legs so that she can experience the human world and love. But what will happen, when Ursula has other ideas?


Walking into this movie, I had very little hope because I was under the belief that Disney tends to financially gain by churning out and recycling as many of our beloved childhood cartoon movies as possible to have little or no lasting memorable impressions. Already adding to the negative media criticism of the casting choices and the realism of the sea creatures, it was going to take a lot of persuasion to change my mindset. The opening 10 minutes were visually dull and flat, and the CGI was very difficult to be convincing, the main characters looked like they were added in after the film was made. It was clear to see that CGI and VFX were going to be core and central to the movie, which was worrying. As soon as my eyes were adjusted, I began to get slowly drawn into this fascinating marine world. The screen explodes with colour and the movie becomes alive when hit songs such as Under the Sea and Kiss the Girl start to play. The film is very true to the original animation with some songs that are so catchy that you will not have control of your feet (excuse the pun). The Scuttlebutt song has been on repeat in my head for the last six days and has most certainly left a lasting impression.

Director Rob Marshall is no stranger to Disney, but this would be his first Animation to Live Action feature. As mentioned already, there was always going to be negative public and media criticism of his casting choices. But he does not fail even slightly, well maybe a little towards Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King). I felt he could not match his performance with his co-stars, or maybe he was so outshined by the powerhouse performances of Haile Bailey and Melissa McCarthy, that he never stood a chance. Ariel (Haile Bailey) is incredible in this movie, every time her presence is seen and her expressions of movement and song are witnessed, you can not help but have a smile on your face. Equally Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) is a perfect casting, she has everything including the evil and cunning attitude needed to play such an iconic character. Fan Favourites like Sabastian (Daveed Diggs) and Flounder (Jacob Tremblay) get the job done as likeable characters, but Scuttle (Awkwafina) steals the show among the trio for her witty humour and very memorable song The Scuttlebutt.



Disney has succeeded with this latest Live Action adaptation, and it doesn’t just throw pretty princesses, colour, and music at our young audience. It is very warming to see that the use of words and communication is very apparent in this film. Peppered with very thought-provoking quotes, like “people speak a lot of words, but never really make sense”. I admired the use of that In throughout the movie, it will get kids thinking. The Little Mermaid had me smiling and toe-tapping throughout, with some near-eye-watering moments. With a little long run time of just over 2 hours, it never loses the attention of the audience and you are completely invested from the opening 10 minutes. Children are going to adore this movie.

Overall: 7/10

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