Disney’s latest live action remake of its animated classic, The Little Mermaid, is a visually stunning and emotionally engaging adaptation that honors the original while adding some new twists and depth. The film stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, the curious and rebellious mermaid who dreams of exploring the human world and falls in love with Prince Eric, played by Jonah Hauer-King. Bailey is a revelation in the role, bringing charm, grace and a powerful voice to the iconic character. She makes us care about Ariel’s journey and root for her happiness. Hauer-King is also a great match for her, giving Eric more personality and agency than in the cartoon. The chemistry between them is palpable and believable.
The film also features some memorable supporting performances, such as Melissa McCarthy as the villainous sea witch Ursula, who steals Ariel’s voice in exchange for legs; Javier Bardem as King Triton, Ariel’s overprotective father who fears humans; Awkwafina as Scuttle, the quirky seagull who helps Ariel navigate the surface world; and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Ariel’s loyal fish friend. The film retains most of the beloved songs from the original, composed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, with some new additions and variations that fit well with the story. The musical numbers are energetic and colorful, especially “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl”. The film also expands on some aspects of the original, such as Ariel’s fascination with human culture, Eric’s sense of adventure and Ursula’s backstory.
The Little Mermaid is a live action remake that succeeds in capturing the magic and romance of the animated classic, while also offering something fresh and meaningful for a new generation of viewers. It is a testament to the enduring appeal of this timeless fairy tale and its heroine, who dares to follow her heart and pursue her dreams.