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The Little Mermaid (movie)

Walt Disney Pictures' 1989 animated film based on the classic story.

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  • Oct 14, 2006
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Until recently, I hadn't seen The Little Mermaid. My family and I went to Disneyworld for the first time in August 2006, and seeing the live Little Mermaid show--as well as the preliminary sketches for Ursula at the Disney Animation Studio--piqued our interest in this classic Disney tale.

My son became smitten with Ariel and as soon as the Platinum edition came out, we bought it!

The re-colored version is FANTASTIC: they show the before and after pictures and the difference is amazing. Instead of a washed out pumpkin color, Sebastian is now a vibrant red/orange crustacean!

The Backstage Disney disc is especially fascinating. The writers, directors, animators, and voice actors were intereviewed for this Plantinum disc, providing some fascinating insights into what went into making The Little Mermaid.

For example, I was surprised to find that Jeffrey Katzenberg was pushing for Part of Your World to be eliminated from the movie. (Honestly, can you IMAGINE this movie without that signature song?!) Apparently, the movie was screened before some youngsters and an anal little girl dropped her popcorn in the front row. She bustled around--ignoring the film--so she could pick up the popcorn.

An equally anal Katzenberg took that as a sign that the song was boring and should be removed from the movie--even after the animators and others BEGGED him to keep it in. The man who did the animation for that incredible scene begged Katzenberg, too, and earned it a stay of execution. And it's a darn good thing, too!

There are additional fascinating bits of information in the Backstage disc, including:

*How many expected Ariel to be blonde, but because Splash with Darryl Hannah was just released they wanted to do something different. Apparently, there was quite a fight between blonde and red--but red (thankfully!) won out!

*There was another full-length song written before Poor Unfortunate Soul called "Silence is Golden". We get to hear how the song sounds--sung by, if I'm not mistaken, composer Alan Menken!

*A brand new shade of green was invented just for Ariel--called, appropriately, "Ariel Green".

*How Jodi Benson's daughters ask her to sing Part of Your World--every other night before bedtime!

I also enjoyed hearing about Hans Christian Anderson (although his bio is a sad one), from those involved with the Disney movie as well as the curator of the Anderson Museum in Odense, Denmark.

There are other great extras on these 2 discs, including a video of Ashely Tisdale (High School Musical; Suite Life of Zach and Cody) singing "Kiss the Girl", the animated short "The Little Match Girl" (what a tear jerker!), a virtual adventure on a theme park ride (that was, sadly, never built) created by Disney Imagineers and much more.

We have both the Plantinum version of the Little Mermaid, as well as the soundtrack, and we LOVE IT. I highly recommended this movie for both kids and adults; the colors are eye-popping, the story compelling (and much gentler than the Anderson version), and the songs SPECTACULAR. In fact, next to Beauty and the Beast, this is my favorite set of Disney movie songs.

(We just got back from shopping, my son has a brand NEW DVD...but guess what he just put in once again? Yep...The Little Mermaid!)

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More The Little Mermaid reviews
review by . December 09, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Okay, here are things that everyone knows: Disney has the world's strongest animation canon. One day, they might end up relinquishing it to Pixar, but Disney comes packed with so much history and longevity that that day is still a little ways off. For seeming eons, Disney animated films were just about the only game in town. Well, around the 70's and 80's, they got a bit too cocky and began producing a lot of celluloid trash. Finally, with them losing ground in the 80's to the onetime animation …
review by . January 22, 2011
Like Beauty and the Beast, I don't think this movie is quite as good as everyone says it is. Don't get me wrong, it's still fantastic and I have great respect for what it did for Disney, I just don't really adore any Disney princess films that aren't Aladdin. For those of you who don't know, Disney wasn't doing so well for around a 20-year period. They were making movies, but they weren't doing so well. This would also be a great time to point out that Don Bluth …
review by . December 10, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great Disney animation     Cons: none     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. The Little Mermaid is a great animated movie, as is almost every other movie Disney has done. The story is one many can relate to in some ways. Who has not at one time or another wanted to be someone or something else, in this case a mermaid wants to be a human and live on land. She runs into trouble when she makes a deal with the evil …
review by . October 15, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
THE LITTLE MERMAID signalled a new renaissance for the Disney animation department. Following the lean years of "The Black Cauldron" and "The Great Mouse Detective", the animation department was within a heartbeat of ringing it's death-knell, when in 1989 a little mermaid swam into cinemas and into the hearts of a generation of moviegoers.    Based on the bittersweet Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, the story of mermaid Ariel (voiced by Jodi Benson) and her quest to become …
review by . October 10, 2006
Unless you've been under a rock for the past twenty years, you're probably familiar with the story of Disney's "The Little Mermaid." Briefly, it's a tale of forbidden love. A young mermaid (Ariel) longs to live topside with a young man called Eric. Alas, her father doesn't want her going above the water because he worries about what might happen to her. Throw in a bad deal made with a sea witch (the diabolically funny Ursula), a singing hermit crab, a friendly fish and a whacked-out seagull, and …
review by . October 06, 2006
This, in my opinion, is the movie that saved Disney from fading out of existence, as we know it. Before the `Little Mermaid' there had not been a blockbuster Disney animated feature for years (specifically not since the `Great Mouse Detective') while `Oliver and Company' was released the year prior to this it was following the old formula and was not, to my knowledge, particularly successful.    'The Little Mermaid' revived the breathtaking beauty of the classic Disney films …
About the reviewer
Janet Boyer ()
Author of The Back in Time Tarot BookandTarot in Reverse. Co-creator of theSnowlandDeck. Hall ofFame/ VineReviewer; Freelance Writer/Reviewer; Blogger; Professional Tarot Reader/Teacher; Lover … more
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From the moment that Prince Eric's ship emerged from the fog in the opening credits it was apparent that Disney had somehow, suddenly recaptured that "magic" that had been dormant for thirty years. In the tale of a headstrong young mermaid who yearns to "spend a day, warm on the sand," Ariel trades her voice to Ursula, the Sea Witch (classically voiced by Pat Carroll), for a pair of legs. Ariel can only succeed if she receives true love's kiss in a few day's time and she needs all the help she can from a singing crab named Sebastian, a loudmouth seagull, and a flounder. The lyrics and music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are top form: witty and relevant, and they advance the story (go on, hum a few bars of "Under the Sea"). Mermaid put animation back on the studio's "to do" list and was responsible for ushering Beauty and the Beast to theaters. A modern Disney classic.--Keith Simanton
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