‘The Little Mermaid’ Buffs up the Original With a Little Help From a Spectacular Halle Bailey
Image via Walt Disney Pictures
Disney’s live-action version of it The Little Mermaid is not perfect. Like most of its kind, animation is clearly a worthwhile medium in its own right, with limitless potential for storytelling and filmmaking that sounds can’t match. The Mouse House’s insistence on producing these realistic retellings of its animated catalog is impressive – under the shadow of trying to bring it to a new audience instead of focusing on creating new films that could be a dream look for the generation this – in vain and disrespectful of the art form.
What works in the 2023s The Little Mermaid It’s not that it’s live action (despite the fact that Halle Bailey was born to play Ariel), but that it’s a genuine attempt to piece together a largely incomplete film. The new iteration of the teenage siren story deserves its right to exist, as it is nothing more than a shot-for-shot reconstruction of the original with virtual designs of crabs and jumper fish, often hoping to cash in on superpowers, but on sheer effort. bring something new to the table.
While its 1989 counterpart has some of the best songs ever made into a musical film, the plot itself is arguably thinned by the big performance numbers compared to other Disney staples such as Mulan or The Lion King. The 2023 version uses it as a foundation to build a fuller feature, where motivations become clearer and more relatable, and the build-up and subsequent resolution more satisfying.
It all starts with the choice to cast Bailey in the role of Ariel. Despite the baseless, ridiculous backlash he attracted, anyone who watches the film will know deep down, even if they refuse to admit it, that the singer is perfect for the role, almost as if he customized for her from the start. . In addition to her excellent silky vocals that positively elevate the film’s music, Bailey brings determination to her eyes in her sullen performance. She also conveys the adventurous and challenging spirit of Ariel’s youth and conveys the fascination and innocence of entering a new life. At every turn, you feel as if you are witnessing the birth of a star.
Then the backstory of Prince Eric is added, transforming him from a character who is literally identical to a statue in the original to a perfect love interest, whose ambitions perfectly match the heroine’s expectation that it is easy to get hold of the think they are. ‘re souls. Both are defined by their complementary desires to break free from their respective realms and explore the undiscovered parts of the world – for Ariel that’s the surface, while Eric longs for the sea. The mermaid falls for the prince when she first hears him echoing everything she already feels – someone who understands her, and that is the most basic definition of love. Of course, Bailey and Jonah Hauer-King’s scintillating chemistry doesn’t hurt.
At the same time as The Little Mermaid it does its best to sustain its central love story, it still manages to maintain the allegory for growing up that has always been at the heart of this story. Ariel’s new single “For the First Time” might feel redundant, but it really drives home the point that the film’s journey is as much about finding love as it is about finding yourself. It will appeal to anyone who has had to leave home at a young age and grapple with the paradox of newly exciting independence and a frightening loss of security.
King Triton, played adequately by Javier Bardem, is abusive in the way he shelters his young daughter, but his own journey is unraveling to let her out into a world that will hurt her labors quite well. The ending, which adds to the mood of the original film, hits all the emotional beats of a successful adventure story.
Melissa McCarthy does justice to the story’s iconic villain, the oozing and provocative sea witch Ursula, taking every hard-earned second of screen time and making it her own. “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is an undoubted highlight, just like the original. Small changes to her relationship with Triton and how it affects her motivations also improve her character.
Daveed Diggs is able to bring life to Sebastian who is based on a digital model, and he hardly feels naturalistic, although Jacob Tremblay suits the fearsome Flounder. Awkwafina’s scuttle could be a little more toned down, but most of the jokes still stick to the landing.
So yes – The Little Mermaid it has bad CGI. Its odd attempts at realism often kill some of the charm of the original, but since that’s true for most if not all of the live action, it feels redundant to let that aspect of the film overshadow it. on everything else. When you move past that visual fence, what’s left is a wonderfully inspirational coming-of-age story, meant to appeal to a part of us that used to marvel at the world, and believe in its possibilities without end.
‘The Little Mermaid’ is just another useless, soulless remake of House of Mouse. Not only does it bring the gift of Halle Bailey as Ariel, but it strengthens its predecessor’s story by adding narrative context and emotional appeal.
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