Reviewed by: David Kerr
Starring: Jodi Benson, Rene Auberjonois, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Paddi Edwards, Buddy Hackett, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Edie McClurg, Will Ryan, Ben Wright, Samuel E. Wright | Director: Ron Clements, John Musker | Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Buena Vista Pictures
“The Little Mermaid” is yet another re-release of Disney, although this one is from its more glorious days. Having been put out in limited release on video, this movie has become something of a collector’s item, and the theatrical release has long been awaited by fans.
Although a widescreen viewing of any movie is better than its home-video counterpart, no attempt has been made to improve the old picture quality or sound of the original film. The film definitely looks dated, as if the old reels have been reused. Nonetheless, the sound is still wonderful and wanders into surround sound on occasion. The music is loud and fantastic, with now-classic songs like “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl.” This is what the movie is really about.
“The Little Mermaid” is based on a Hans Christian Andersen story with a radically changed ending. The story is about Ariel, a young mermaid, who falls in love with a human prince named Eric. However, her father, King Triton, won’t allow her to visit the surface and she runs away to Ursula, resident witch. The witch promises to help her get the prince, but with a few catches—and therein lies the drama.
From a Christian perspective, this film draws little complaint. There is no profanity and no violation of the First Commandment. However, there is a hint of sexuality in Ariel. She is only sixteen, yet darts about in a skimpy seashell bra, and at one point when she is changed into a human she is wearing no pants (although the audience cannot see anything). Fortunately, the chance of a child getting a wrong impression from this movie is miniscule. On the plus side, this film does promote marriage and monogamy.
Obviously, the musical content of the film is what is to be cherished. To those who are part of the Disney boycott, this film is nothing to be worried about. “Snow White”, for instance, is much worse in its paganistic content. If you’re a fan of animated movies, don’t hesitate to see “The Little Mermaid”—and don’t forget to take your kids!