The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid
Original title:The Little Mermaid
Director:Rob Marshall
Running time:135 minutes
Release date:26 may 2023
The 1830s, in the waters of a fictional Caribbean island. Ariel, the youngest daughter of King Triton, is a beautiful, spirited young mermaid with an adventurous temperament. A rebel at heart, she is constantly drawn to the world beyond the waves. During her escapades on the surface, she falls under the spell of Prince Eric. Although mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel feels she must follow her heart. She enters into an agreement with Ursula, the terrible sea witch, granting her the power to live on dry land, but without suspecting that this pact puts her life - and her father's crown - in danger...

Mulder's Review

The live-action remake of Disney's classic The Little Mermaid caused quite a stir before its release. However, once the film is finally available, it's hard to understand why it caused such a stir. While this remake fails to capture the timeless magic of the original cartoon - but let's be honest, what live-action Disney remake does? - it remains functional, family-friendly entertainment. Unfortunately, it's hampered by unconvincing CG animation and uncomfortable dives into the strange valley, but it's saved by Halle Bailey's winning performance in the lead role.

Director Rob Marshall, with screenwriter David Magee, known for his work on Mary Poppins Returns, and Lin-Manuel Miranda as co-producer and composer alongside original composer Alan Menken, strive to recreate the spirit of the original animated film. Daveed Diggs and Awkwafina bring comic energy to their strangely realistic characters (a crab and a bird respectively), Javier Bardem embodies the protective father figure as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy delivers a spectacular and impressive performance as the sea witch Ursula.

1989's The Little Mermaid marked a turning point in animation, introducing audiences to a magical underwater world populated by mermaids, charming princes and wicked sea witches, all accompanied by magnificent melodies by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. The film revitalized Disney as a studio and set new standards for modern animation. This live-action version attempts to remain faithful to the original story, but some subtleties are lost along the way.

Unfortunately, the film's main problem lies in its excessive length, which stretches the 84-minute animated story into a 2-hour 15-minute feature. The extra songs are forgettable, and some of the set elements are superfluous. Despite this, the film does offer some extra moments between Ariel and Prince Eric, and the chemistry between Halle Bailey and Jonah Hauer-King is an entertaining addition to the romance that didn't exist in the original film.

The cast is solid overall, with Halle Bailey perfectly embodying Ariel and capturing the essence of the character with her voice and charisma. Melissa McCarthy also stands out in the role of Ursula, bringing a touch of glamour and menace. However, the live-action special effects sometimes leave something to be desired, particularly in the underwater scenes where the animated characters lack realism.

The Little Mermaid is a film that will appeal exclusively to Disney fans, but fails to recreate the unforgettable experience of the original animated film.  This adaptation is certainly functional but bland. Fans of the original film may be disappointed by its lack of magic and charm. While some elements, such as Halle Bailey's performance, are appreciable, the film fails to match the exceptional experience offered by the original animation.

The Little Mermaid
Directed by Rob Marshall
Screenplay by David Magee
Based on Disney's The Little Mermaid by Ron Clements, John Musker, The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
Produced by Marc Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John DeLuca, Rob Marshall
Starring Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, Art Malik, Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy
Cinematography : Dion Beebe
Edited by Wyatt Smith
Music by Alan Menken
Production companies: Walt Disney Pictures, Lucamar Productions, Marc Platt Productions
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release dates : May 8, 2023 (Dolby Theatre), May 24, 2023 (France), May 26, 2023 (United States)
Running time : 135 minutes

Viewed May 29, 2023 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 4 seat A18

Mulder's Mark: