The Little Mermaid
Directors: Ron Clements and John Musker
Voice Talent: Jodi Benson, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Buddy Hackett, Rene Auberjonois
Released: November 17, 1989
Best Original Score (Won)
Best Song - "Under the Sea" (Won)
Best Song - "Kiss the Girl" (See above)
After watching Waking Sleeping Beauty, I decided to return to my childhood and watch some of my favorite animated Disney movies again. I'm starting with The Little Mermaid because it's one of the first movies I remember seeing in the theaters, and, of course, one of the first Disney movies I remember seeing.
I remember reading the Hans Christian Anderson version around the time I was in middle school and being horrified by it because it was definitely not the Disney version. It was a lot more twisted and sadistic. For instance, the sea witch cuts off the mermaid's tongue and the mermaid dies in the end. Yeah, if Disney had made it like that, I think a lot of children would have been scarred for life!
However, this is a much more happier story (duh, it is Disney, after all). We meet Ariel, a feisty sixteen-year-old mermaid who longs to be "part of that [human] world". She has a secret cave where she keeps all her treasurers from the human world, which she's found from shipwrecks. She has to keep it a secret because her father, King Triton, does not want their world interacting with the human world and forbids Ariel from going to the surface (although they kinda have to because mermaids are half-human, thus they are mammals and need to BREATHE!) and tells Ariel, "You will do what I tell you as long as you're living under my ocean!" which I thought was a great line.
So Ariel asks Ursula the Sea Witch to give her legs and Ursula tells her she will as long as Ariel gives her her voice in return. Ariel has three days to get the Prince to fall in love with her, if she does she will remain human forever, if not, Ariel will become one of Ursula's little sea creatures and become a prisoner forever. So, like a total dolt, Ariel agrees and signs the contract.
I have to say, for someone who has never walked in her entire life, Ariel sure got used to having legs pretty fast! Sure she was a little skittish at first, but, by golly, she soon learned how to be steady and walk on her feet!
One of the funniest scenes of the movie is when Ariel is eating dinner with Eric and his father and sees a fork on the table and starts combing her hair with it. In an earlier scene in the movie Scuttles (the seagull) tells Ariel that it's used for human's hair. That scene always makes me laugh. I mean, she's combing her hair with a fork at the dinner table! Speaking of Ariel's hair, the animators were going to make her a blonde because there was an unwritten rule that all mermaids are blonde, but decided to make her have red hair because it would compliment nicely with her green tail and it looked better "under water". Plus she matches Sebastian!
This movie has a great soundtrack, as is evident by its Oscar wins for Best Song and Best Score. I mentioned this before in my Waking Sleeping Beauty review, but it bears repeating because it's so outrageous: Part of That World almost didn't make it into the movie! That's one of the most important songs in the movie! It's the song where Ariel wants to be human and asks burning (haha) questions such as, "What's a fire, and why does it, what's the word? Buuuuurn!"
And of course, everyone knows Under the Sea, the song that everyone connects to this movie. It has a great island/calypso beat and sounds like it should be playing nonstop at an island resort theme park or something. I also feel like I should be sipping on a pina colada when I listen to it. I love this song; it always makes me smile. My favorite line is "What do they got? A lot of sand! We've got a hot crustacean band!"
Kiss the Girl is also another great song - that Sebastian sure can sing! I like how the little sea animals are create the music in the background. The songs in this movie are very catchy and hold up well. Despite a few flaws, the whole movie holds up quite well itself. But then again, this film was a big part of my childhood, so it's hard not to like it.