I have a love hate relationship with this movie. I love the animation style and some of the things that it does but others I don’t. If you don’t know the synopsis for Disney’s Little Mermaid, go ask your neighbor because I am not holding back on spoilers.
So, what I don’t like first. I don’t like the way that Ariel does not learn anything except that you shouldn’t trust everyone.I don’t like how Eric sounds so boring. When he cries Ariel’s name when she is taken by Ursula, it sounds like he doesn’t care about her and is just saying her name. You could dub Eric’s cry and make it sound like someone is saying oatmeal more passionately for crying out loud! He is more in love with the girl with the “God glow” that his mystery girl has. Plus, he always talks in a monotone, no matter what. Then, Ariel doesn’t even read the contract or try to do anything else to communicate with Eric but through some horrible charades. But, the thing I hate most of all is the fact that there is no true growth from our main character. Ariel is not the one who grows, it is her father that grows and we don’t see enough of that.
Now for what I love. I absolutely love the way that the animation lets even the few silent (or nearly silent) moments feel like it conveys everything. When A character moves, it tells you who they are. When King Triton comes in you feel how grand it is. You feel like he is really the big man, the one in charge. I love how his other daughters (Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella and Alana) all have expressions showing how much they love their father, how worried/happy/confused they are for Ariel when they see she has found love.(This is a tangent here but I only like the third Little Mermaid because I saw more of her sisters.) I love how you can see what Ariel is thinking and feeling when she looses her voice. I love the music, especially the villain song (but then again who doesn’t love it). I love how after destroying the grotto (Ariel’s cavern full of stuff), Triton regrets it saying, “What have I done? Oh, what have I done?” and how Triton saves Ariel when Ursula has her. I love how at the end, Triton lets go of her because she loves Eric and the land so much. (I am glad he gave her clothes too.) I love how Flounder is the cautious (although cowardly) clutz that tries to keep Ariel safe but still stands beside her because she is his BFF. I love the scene with the cook where he tries to kill Sebastian. (Although, I don’t get why Sebastian is not having constant PTSD attacks from that experience.) I love how the battle is animated and Ursula killed.
I wish we could see more of Triton’s struggle to accept Ariel, come over his racism, and let his youngest daughter go. I wish we knew why Ursula wanted control of all the world’s oceans. But, what can you do when you have only so long. Either way, although the things I don’t like but me, I enjoy the movie a great deal.