Is the Live-Action Adaptation of The Little Mermaid Actually Worth Watching?

Is the Live-Action Adaptation of The Little Mermaid Actually Worth Watching?


As a huge fan of the original film, it’s sad to say that there were some things I didn’t quite like. Spoilers ahead—you’ve been warned!

Growing up, I’ve always been a Disney girl. At a young age, I was already immersed in the worlds of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey and friends, and especially the Disney Princesses. I even have a pair of Minnie ears from Disneyland that resembled my favorite one—Ariel. Unlike the first three that came before it, The Little Mermaid was the first Disney Princess movie that literally explored a different world. It also showed a princess who, despite having a life well lived with her family and friends under the sea, wanted something more than what was expected. In short, she wanted to get out and experience life out of water in spite of it all. With this, I really saw myself in Ariel, which made me fall in love with the movie’s story. And let’s not forget—Prince Eric has always been a cutie.

So when it was announced that The Little Mermaid would finally get a live-action adaptation, I was both excited and skeptical. But now, having seen it in the cinema just a couple nights ago, I must say that there really are some things I unfortunately didn’t like. And keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion and doesn’t represent MEGAStyle in any way. Now, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Halle Bailey’s version

I might get cancelled for this, I know, but Halle’s rendition of “Part of Your World” was a tad disappointing. Don’t get me wrong—she’s an amazing singer with a range like no other, which is even proven in some parts of the song, but it didn’t need more falsettos and runs. The raw longing and emotion that came with the last “wish I could be” line in the original version, especially with the whisper-like delivery of the last two words, was the cherry on top of a powerfully sad song about yearning. She may have overdone it just a bit.

But Daddy, I love him!

Those are literally words you can hear in your head. That line that you can either relate with or get annoyed at is still iconic to this day, so color me surprised when Halle’s Ariel didn’t utter them at all. Yes, it may be a minor thing, but come on! That line is so epic that it was actually kind of sad it wasn’t in the new version. Perhaps they were downplaying Ariel’s attraction towards Eric and her disobedience towards King Triton? But what’s the point when everyone knows the story anyway?

Also, that whole scene of the king ruining her secret trove was underwhelming when it could’ve been so intense. And if I remember correctly, he didn’t even look back at Ariel with loving yet regretful eyes just like in the original version. Those moments may seem little, but still make a big impact.

Ariel vs. Vanessa

Okay, hear me out. I know that Vanessa getting hit and bit over and over again by animals may not be realistic, but the catfight between her and Ariel wasn’t really done “tastefully.” It honestly reminded me of the fake catfight scene between Cady and Regina in Mean Girls. And with everyone just staring at them for a while? It really gave off the impression that we have another set of girls fighting over a guy.

While yes, the The Little Mermaid live-action adaptation wasn’t perfect in my eyes, I can’t deny that it made the Disney girl in me extremely happy with these moments:

New songs

Who would’ve thought that Eric could sing? His solo number for “Wild Uncharted Waters” was so beautiful and it really gave everyone more insight on his life and the expectations that come with being a royal. To me, it even promoted the importance of men being able to express themselves freely, which is still quite unusual for a Disney Princess movie. Meanwhile, along with their hilarious banter, I loved the solo-turned-duet called “The Scuttlebutt” by Scuttle and Sebastian. That rap? Those harmonies? I’m here for it.

Oldie but a goodie

Speaking of songs, the much-awaited “Under the Sea” performance was so vibrant that they really captured the fun shown in the original. All the colors, the sea creatures, and even the singing itself was done really well and was nothing but an entertaining moment for everyone in the cinema.

OG Ariel

We love a passing-of-the-baton moment! In the scene where Eric was touring Ariel around the kingdom, we get to see an OG Disney Princess. Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in the original animated film, makes a lovely cameo as one of the market vendors around the vicinity. It was completely unexpected so I guess you can imagine how I excitedly jumped around in my seat with glee when she showed up on screen.

Photo: JODI BENSON (via Instagram)

Representation matters

Last but not least, I love that Eric’s mom was portrayed by a black woman. A black queen, no less! While reports are saying that Queen Selina is Eric’s adoptive mother, it’s still a step towards a more inclusive, accepting, and equal society. We’ve known about Halle Bailey’s role as Ariel for a while now, but Noma Dumezweni was announced to have been cast in an “undisclosed role,” so it was amazing to see that she was leading the kingdom—or is it queendom? Eitherway, from Halle’s Ariel to Noma’s Queen Selina, it’s needless to say that representation goes a long way.

Photo: HALLE BAILEY (via Instagram)

I blabbed too much about The Little Mermaid, I know. But to answer the question at the very beginning, yes the live-action adaptation is definitely worth watching. Overall, it triggers nostalgia while making it more contemporary for people of all ages to enjoy. This Little Mermaid stan is impressed and is getting ready to head to the cinemas for a definite rewatch.

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