The live action Little Mermaid dives into theaters

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Disney Press Kit

The poster art for The Little Mermaid (2023), released May 26, 2023 and on Disney+ Aug. 30, 2023.

Disney’s hit animation movie, The Little Mermaid, recently got a live action remake, becoming the 21st live action made from an original Disney animated film.Thought the movie has sparked some controversy, it made $500 million in the box office within the first few days, making it the third-highest grossing movie of 2023.

The story follows a teenage mermaid, Ariel, who wants nothing more than to be with humans above water. When she saves a man from a sinking ship, she realizes just how much she wants to be with him. The themes and messages behind the movie show a similarity of love and listening to the authority figure in one’s life, as most Disney princess movies do.

In my opinion, this live action is one of the only remakes that out does the original. The 2023 version includes new songs and a lot of comedic relief, all while staying very true to the story the animated movie follows. Prince Eric, played by Jonah Hauer-King, is just as dreamy and Ariel, played by Halle Bailey, still has her gorgeous siren song.

The acting, both voice acting and on-screen acting, was great from certain actors. Bailey’s acting seemed unsure in the beginning, but she did an incredible job with the difficulty of performing without a voice. She fit the role of Ariel perfectly, seeming sweet and naive while also defiant and rebellious simultaneously. 

Melissa McCarthy as Ursula was not a casting move viewers expected, as she is known as a comedian with roles like Sookie from Gilmore Girls. Though it seemed unusual at first, McCarthy really captured Ursula’s personality and character as a whole. She created a new kind of Ursula that was still selfish and a villain, yet funny and relatable like villains are in more recent movies. Not to mention, her polyps, or captured souls of merpeople, were ten times scarier than in the original.

Compliments to Daveed Diggs and Awkwafina, who played Sebastian and Scuttle, are overdue. They made the perfect duo with two very different personalities, yet both having humor that compliments the other’s. They, like most other actors in the movie, added new elements to the loved characters they played, making them even more lovable. Their duet song “Scuttlebutt,” one of the new songs, is one of the most memorable of the movie, having an upbeat rhythm with lyrics difficult to forget.

Lin-Manuel Miranda did an outstanding job creating new music for the movie. Composing four new songs, he created a perfect blend of the old, nostalgic music from the original and newer, more modern music to gain the new generation’s attention. He kept the same kind of whimsical tone the movie held onto while making a realistic portrayal of the characters through song, drawing in the viewers and holding their attention.

The special effects and directing did not go unnoticed either. Surprisingly, the computer-generated imagery, or CGI, was wonderful for the circumstances. With the movie being underwater for almost half the film, the production team was incredible with keeping the film as realistic as possible with the technology they had. Even during the above water portions of the movie, the directing by Rob Marshall kept the viewers attention, somehow creating suspense in a movie where suspense is unexpected.

The Little Mermaid (2023) is an incredible re-telling of the original animated movie loved by adults and children alike. The new live action movie allows the viewer’s inner-child to come out and become tangled in yet another fantasy world that has the nostalgic feel everyone loves. The movie is out in theaters as of May 26, 2023 and comes to the streaming service Disney+ Aug. 30, 2023.