The Little Mermaid (1989)

In The 1980s, Disney was going through a difficult time releasing “The Fox and The Hound,” “The Black Cauldron,” “The Great Mouse Detective” & “Oliver and Company.” Despite becoming great overtime, the studio was struggling to cater an audience in terms of quality and entertainment value. Directing duo Ron Clements & John Musker pitched an adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” to CEO Jeffery Katzenberg. Jeff, however feared it wouldn’t do justice. The duo made a gamble it’ll be a massive success. Jeff approved. He helped the duo as a supervisor. After four years of development, brainstorming a narrative, recruiting voice actors, and filling up numerous pages with highly detailed drawings, the film was officially distributed worldwide.

The Little Mermaid was released in 1989. (same year Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade came out) It received critical acclaim from critics, families and movie goers alike. Plus, it made a truckload of money at the box office. The Little Mermaid was responsible for Disney’s resurgence beginning a new era spanning from 1989-1999 known as “The Disney Renaissance.” The Little Mermaid won two Oscars for “Best Original Score” (Alan Menken) & “Best Original Song.”

A direct-to-video sequel titled, “The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea” was released in 2000. Unlike the first, it was a critical flop. Another direct-to-video prequel titled, “The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning” was released in 2008. It was also a critical flop. An animated series aired in 1992-1994. The “Kingdom Hearts” featured The Little Mermaid as a playable world.

A live action remake is currently in the works. I’m gonna predict it’ll suck monkey balls. Not because the actress playing Ariel is black, because it’s gonna be another lazy cash grab turning animated classics into expensive prostitutes like The Kardashians/Jenners.

I don’t give a hoot with SPOILERS listed. We all know the story has been told on Broadway and parodied many times. Does The Little Mermaid still hold up as the movie responsible for launching The Disney Renaissance? Let’s find out, shall we?

Healthy & Infected Qualities

Healthy: Jodi Benson did an excellent job for her voiceover performance as Ariel.

Christopher Daniel Barnes did a decent job for his voiceover performance as Prince Eric. I’m surprised the voice of Spider-Man from the 90’s cartoon also voiced Prince Eric.

Animation Directors Ron Clements & John Musker both did a great job shepherding the film.

Jeffery Katzenberg helped the duo as a supervisor making sure the movie is organized.

Animation still holds up bringing many elements to life including character models, environmental locations, fluid movement among a few things.

Musical Numbers are catchy such as “Part of Your World,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” “Kiss the Girl” and last but not least my favorite one is “Under the Sea.” The latter song won an Oscar.

Disney veteran Alan Menken served as a composer.

Ariel’s appearance is based on Alyssa Milano.

Ursula’s appearance is based on drag performer Divine.

Ursula grabs Scuttles’ neck yelling “Why you little!” Predating “The Simpsons” running gag with Homer strangling Bart as he yells why you little. Coincidentally, The Simpsons first aired in 1989. The show is now owned by Disney.

Some of the jokes were funny. My favorite has got to be Sebastian nearly getting killed by a chef. I also like his horrified reaction to seafood.

If you pause your TV at the 10:33 mark. Ariel makes a funny face that eventually became a meme. You know the meme with glasses inserted on Ariel’s face?

Sebastian is my favorite character. He’s more likable than Ariel.

The reason why King Triton acts like an a-hole towards Ariel’s obsession over Prince Eric, is because his wife was killed by humans.

Seeing Ursula snatching Trident’s trident (excuse my redundancy) transforming into a giant, makes me wanna replay Kingdom Hearts. She serves as a boss.

Ariel signing Ursula’s contract is a “Deal with The Devil” scenario.”

My favorite part is The Climatic Battle.

Unhealthy: A Plot Hole involving why Ariel didn’t write a note to Eric because she can’t talk and her home is in peril. What she lacks is common sense. If you lost your ability to speak, you have to write a journal to somebody over the loss of your voice. Ariel is such a moron. Elizabeth Smart managed to outsmart a pair of rapists using her brain. Even Dave Chappelle made fun of those two dumbasses currently in bars from his stand-up comedy. If Ariel were real, Elizabeth would laugh at her incompetence. Thankfully, Ariel was finally redeemed in the Kingdom Hearts series.

After Ursula is defeated, an early romance with Ariel & Prince Eric occurred. Disney is known for their early pairing way too soon. Nobody begins a relationship so fast in real life. It’ll take weeks for two people to get to know each other, until a relationship is officially established.

Trident’s exterior design of his palace looks suspiciously like wieners. Not the kind you eat, the kind you find at a sex store.

Ariel claims she loves Prince Eric deep down. She doesn’t know jacks**t about his personal life or interests. I think she’s a stalker. Helga from “Hey Arnold” is more likable. If you wanna know why Helga gets a pass, watch the episode “Helga on The Couch.” Ariel on the other hand predates Rose Tico unhealthy obsession with Finn from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

The Final Verdict: C, FOR CRAPTASTIC!

From my point of view, The Little Mermaid is underwhelming. As a kid, I thought it was really good. Now that I’m older, it has problems. . Don’t get me wrong. As a critic, I have to give beloved classics tough love. If you want to defend it as a masterpiece, be my guest. Without The Little Mermaid, my all-time favorites like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” & Aladdin would’ve never existed. If you want to introduce your kids, grandkids, nephews, nieces, godkids or invite your kids’ friends for a watch party, so be it.

2 thoughts on “The Little Mermaid (1989)

  1. Ooooooooooooo you made my 3 year old self riled up…

    But on a serious note, if you didn’t care much for it that’s fine. I actually prefer Little Mermaid over the rest of the 90s Disney movies nowadays, though Lion King and Beauty and the Beast are EXTREMELY close.


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