Happy Mermaid week! It is finally the week many of us had been waiting for- the release of The Little Mermaid Live Action. I still can’t believe I am typing this- two weeks ago our family had the absolute honor of attending The Little Mermaid Product Launch Shell-ebration and catch an exclusive early screening to The Little Mermaid Live Action. If that wasn’t cool enough, the movie was introduced by Halle Bailey herself and well let’s say we loved her even more!
Growing up Ariel played such a huge part of my life. The roots ran deep somewhere between watching the movie come to life during Disney on Ice as a child or the fact that my mom says I had it on repeat for 1/2 of my childhood right to both my girls being absolute enamored by Ariel. This experience was amazing AND the movie- it is a must see!
*Before I hop right in-keep an eye for the portion of my review let’s talk about spoiler alerts. Seeing as this movie is a remake which did a great job of sticking to the original storyline, there aren’t any huge spoilers in general BUT if you want to watch the movie without any information-STOP RIGHT HERE!
The Little Mermaid Live Action: A Mom’s Review
Let’s Talk About The Little Mermaid Live Action Cast
The cast is AMAZING! Let’s start by talking about Halle Bailey’s performance as Ariel. Halle absolutely embodies everything Ariel is. Her voice, her personality, her beauty, and her mannerisms, she is the most perfect Ariel. I did not know it was possible, but Halle made us love Ariel even more than we already did.
Melissa McCarthy as Ursula is perfection. Have you ever watched a movie where the villain is played so well that you can’t help but like them? Well, that is basically McCarthy’s performance of Ursula. So good you can’t help but like her!
Javier Bardem as King Triton was someone I was VERY excited to see. I have been a big fan of his previous work and his performance tugged at my parent heart strings. There was something about the way you saw his pain at having to let his daughter go along with the way he wanted to protect her that was so relatable. I feel we get to see more of King Triton in The Little Mermaid Live Action and we love that!
Flounder, Sebastian, Scuttle
Now, our little friends; Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle were also nothing short of exceptional. Jacob Tremblay as Flounder was exactly what I envisioned for him, sweet and caring. Daveed Diggs blew Sebastian out of the water. He showcased an extraordinary rendition of Sebastian! My husband and I were so excited to see Awkwafina’s portrayal of Scuttle. We are both huge fans of her work and we loved seeing her bring Scuttle to life.
Now, the man of the hour- British actor, Jonah Hauer-King, left me rooting for Prince Eric’s ventures! Complete transparency, prior to the live action version Prince Eric was not on my “Favorite Princes List” (yes, I have basically everything Disney rated in my mind). However, he delivers a Prince Eric I feel relates so much more to Ariel’s goals. He isn’t just the prince she ends up with, he has goals and ambitions of his own.
Does The Story Line Change?
Rob Marshall’s way of keeping the core of The Little Mermaid while also modernizing it and adding so much more substance, value, and heart is truly to be admired. I sat enjoying a much more relatable version of a movie I loved as a child. I greatly admire the ability to relate to us who are adults now and our children at the same time.
There are a few messages and themes added to the additional love storyline of Disney’s 1989 Little Mermaid animated film. One of the themes that really hit home as my oldest enters her teenage years revolves around parents and learning to let go of our children, a struggle between what we want for our children and what they want for themselves. We see King Triton learn to navigate this internal struggle along with Prince Eric’s mother. Both parents had to ultimately let go of the dreams they had for their children to allow them to become who THEY are.
This version of the movie, to me, was more about the adventures both Ariel and Eric had, and the ways they had to navigate making them happen. For Ariel, this meant giving up her voice to Ursula to find Eric. For Eric, this meant taking off on additional adventures to explore the oceans- which is what his character wanted.
At the end we have the happily ever after we loved seeing in the 1989 version, however, addressing so much more while we get there. Not to mention, the bringing of two different worlds- the mermaid and the human world. The symbolism behind bringing two different groups of people together and acceptance is such an important topic in today’s world.
Let’s Talk About The Music
I feel there is no musical production that Lin Manuel Miranda touches that doesn’t turn to gold. The biggest takeaway when it comes to the music is that our favorites are still very much a part of the movie, with a few lyrical alterations to change the messaging to be more positive. However, he worked with Alan Menken, one of the songwriters of the 1989 film.
I love that the scenes for our favorite songs still embodied the same atmosphere and colorful scenes we remember from the animated film while and brought them even more to life.
What did my kids think of the movie?
My daughters are 13 and 6. My sons are both 3. Lia and Zoey were mesmerized with the film from the beginning. With the story line being so close to the animated film they still love to watch, they were able to follow along well and still be surprised at the few differences.
Now, my 3 year old boys were able to follow along as well. However, there were areas where I felt their focus was starting to drift only to be met with some sort of action sequence grabbing their attention once again.
All four of them loved it and were disappointed to realize the movie was not out yet to go watch again. Our family has tickets to catch it for the second time and we can’t wait!
My Final Thoughts
WOW! I did not realize I had so much to say. Yet, as I finish writing this I feel like I may have left some parts out. I’m going to say that is a good thing and probably less spoilers for you. Overall, the movie is one we cannot wait to be able to watch on repeat from home.
The cast truly did an exceptional job and brought The Little Mermaid to life to beautifully. The production as a whole was put together so eloquently and it truly shows. Representation is at the forefront of this movie, beyond Halle Bailey as Ariel, and it Disney did so phenomenally.
You will laugh, you will sing, and you may even cry- heck I did! My husband said if a movie can make you feel all the range of emotions- now THAT is a good one! Most of all, you will walk out with an incredible full heart.
Enjoy The Little Mermaid Live Action!