The Little Mermaid is Disney’s latest live-action project, following Cruella (2021), Pinocchio (2022), Peter Pan & Wendy (2023). .
The work is adapted from the cartoon of the same name, which resonated when it was born in 1989, which is a film associated with the childhood of many generations of viewers. The content is both inspired by Andersen’s classic fairy tale about mermaids.
As soon as it was published, the work received mixed opinions around the main character’s creation. The first appearance of the black mermaid received a lot of criticism from the loyal audience of the original. However, some opinions also support Disney with a bold new direction.
Content faithful to the original
Compared to the original, the content of the movie version has not changed much. The film is still about the mermaid Ariel (Halle Bailey), who is the youngest son of the sea king Triton (Javier Bardem).
The main character is the colored mermaid Ariel (Halle Bailey)
Living under the ocean, Ariel is passionate about singing and possesses a captivating voice. But she has always felt a lack of freedom and has a special interest in the terrestrial world. The grip of the king’s father made the mermaid become suffocated, wanting to escape.
One day, Ariel accidentally discovered that Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) was in an accident, so he saved him from death. After that, it was she who fell in love with him.
In her weakness, she is lured by the witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) to change her voice to gain human-like legs. From there, Ariel goes ashore to explore the new world and find a way to conquer the prince’s heart.
Besides the plot, the characters’ personalities have not changed much. Ariel is still a mischievous and dreamy mermaid. Prince Eric is gentle and always friendly to everyone.
The emotional relationship between the two is gently built, suitable for the main audience of the film, which is children. Dramatic elements are cleverly placed so as not to spoil the film’s message.
Some notable changes
Based on the old plot, the crew tried to change and add some spices to refresh the classic story. Typically, Ariel appears with a different shape compared to the original.
Mermaids have a youthful appearance and are close to modern audiences. The character impresses with colored skin, dreadlock hair – typical of African people – instead of having white skin and red hair.
The mermaid has a change in appearance compared to the original
Besides, the filmmakers also incorporated feminist messages. Ariel left the ocean not only because she wanted to pursue love. More than that, what she is looking for is “life purpose, freedom and dreams” – as the heroine Halle Bailey shared with Edition magazine.
The director focused on the visuals, bringing the work with beautiful, eye-catching frames. The $250 million budget was poured into the special effects. CGI effects play an important role in building familiar characters in the animated version, such as Sebastian the crab or the Scuttle seagull.
The underwater scenes are meticulously built and detailed. Each frame is taken care of, creating a fairy-tale world that is both vivid and fanciful.
Besides, music is also an important element in the movie. Audiences will hear back to classic songs associated with the original such as “Part of Your World” or “Under the Sea”. At the same time, the crew also refreshed with an impressive harmony, helping to increase viewers’ emotions.
Acting is not really impressive
Incarnation of the female lead, Halle Bailey has not really shined in terms of acting. Her expression is monotonous and lacks variety. In some scenes, the actress’s face was still tense, more or less reducing the emotions of the viewers.
However, Halle Bailey still left a good impression with her powerful voice. Originally a singer, the actress born in 2000 did not have many difficulties in performing the songs in the film.
Apart from Halle Bailey, the rest of the actors are not really impressed. Jonah Hauer-King faints as Prince Eric. Many of the opinions he plays are less emotional than the cartoon character.
The two stars Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy are at a round level. They more or less bring laughter every time they appear, but not too much acting ground.
Upon release, Disney’s project received positive reviews, earning a “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 68% of the critics’ votes and 95% of the audience’s votes. Performance on IMDb is also good with 7.0/10 points from more than 31,000 reviews. Most think that the film has beautiful images, good music, and content that still brings a lot of meaning to a new generation of viewers.
Overall, The Little Mermaid is still an entertaining work, keeping the original spirit. The mermaid’s change of skin color is a great creation of the crew. But that change hasn’t really made the movie more appealing.