Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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The Little Mermaid

Film #232


A mermaid princess makes a faustian bargain with an unscrupulous seahag in order to meet a human prince on land.

Year 1, Day 232

BEFORE: With today’s film, I’m testing the waters of unfamiliarity (literally and figuratively). The Little Mermaid is a film I have seen before, but unlike the previous two, I have little to no recollection of what happens other than the song “Under the Sea”. As has been the case with other film I’ve previously seen, I may end up remembering more than I thought but going into this viewing, I’m expecting it to me more like a first-viewing with no nostalgia factor than pretty much knowing what’s going to happen.

AFTER: I’ve been taking a lot of heat in my suite for my ratings on these animated films (especially the Mulan rating) and The Little Mermaid may add to this controversy. It’s my least favorite this far with many more questionable moments than engaging ones.

Continuing with the good characters, Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright) and Ursula (Pat Carroll) make the list. Both are supporting characters but each brings something special to the film. Sebastian brings some great comedic relief and is responsible for the most important story developments. Ursula is a great villain and I would go so far as to call her the best one out of the three films in the chain so far. She has just the right amount of evil and cunningness to equal a deceptive and secretive character, one which allows for twists and interesting developments.

Story wise however The Little Mermaid ranks as the worst so far. The setup and bulk of the film are just haphazard and raise more questions (more head-scratching “Why did that just happen” moments than actual questions) then engrossing scenes that just fly by. The biggest one that got a large reaction from everyone, including myself, is Ariel’s Jodi Benson) age at a mere 16 who falls head-over-heels in love with Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes) who is much older. Most of my other questions revolve around temporal events. For example, the passing of Ariel’s three days, the almost instantaneously development between Prince Eric and mystery woman, and the equally short denouement. The film just felt overly compressed, moving from scene to scene with little to no elaboration as to why something just happened. You’ll see the action, but you won’t really understand why it’s happening.

The Little Mermaid doesn’t have any special connection with me. Even the song “Under the Sea” wasn’t that familiar to me so it truly was as if it was a first viewing. While it had some great characters, including a fantastic villain, the rest just fell short of the classic Disney film you hear so much about. I wouldn’t recommend putting it high on a watch list but I also wouldn’t shy away if someone suggested it for a movie night.

RATING: 3 out of 5