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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

The Little Mermaid

SSS: Splashy, Stunning & Sweet

Rob Marshall’s version of The Little Mermaid is the PERFECT way to start the summer of 2023. Everyone knows the story. Everyone knows the characters but not everyone knows just how magical and grand it could be if modernized just a little bit. Now it has been and the outcome is a glistening ocean of exciting and lovable characters, a beautiful story, and of course memorable music.

There are a couple of new songs added in that are wonderful and most of the original songs are included. The visual effects were absolutely gorgeous. The importance of green screens and what they contribute to a film is much easier to acknowledge when the film is as lovely as this one is. The visuals of the vast underwater landscapes and the storms from above are beyond impressive. I definitely predict an Oscar nomination for the technicians. The sea creatures have generated some controversy about how realistic they look. Personally, I think they’re absolutely adorable and they’re so crucial to a lot of the music.

Sebastian the anxious but loyal little crab voiced by Daveed Diggs is so cute, I honestly just can’t. “He looks like a little art project,” my brother said to me when we saw the trailer. His eyes look like googly eyes and his claws are as jittery as he is. Watching him sing “Under The Sea” was so special and it transported me back to the sentimentality of watching the original in the basement of my aunt’s old house. Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina are adorable and sweet with their voice roles as Flounder and Scuttle and Javier Bardem as Triton is a very attractive merman which I’m sure comes as a shock to no one. His portrayal is rough as shells with jagged edges and tender as the shape-changing jellyfish.

Jonah Hauer-King is mouthwateringly handsome as Eric and his character is so developed and well thought out that it’s clear why Ariel falls for him so quickly. Melissa Mccarthy is surprisingly frightening as Ursula. I say surprisingly because Mccarthy is always so hilarious and her commercials play every other second on TV these days. You get used to seeing her a certain way but artists deserve to be taken seriously in all genres. Of course, she keeps some of that Mccarthy humor for Ursula. She is so very purple, has many more tentacles than the original, and enjoys floating around causing trouble. “No one ever puts my things right!” she yells as she searches for a specific potion. She screams at the top of her voice when she fails to find it only for it to float by her head a few seconds later. “Oh, there it is,” she says casually. That kind of comedic delivery is so priceless and classic Mccarthy.

I’m sure it comes as no secret that Halle Bailey as Ariel is the crown jewel of the film. She’s so graceful and tender and radiant and her voice is so gorgeous, you’ll want to stroke it like a tiny kitten. Something so precious should be protected at all costs. The initial backlash to her casting was very disappointing however unsurprising.

Personally, I really am not a Disney fan. I don’t think I’ve seen a Disney film in almost 8 years but this one was made with so much love and has so much positivity going for it that any decent studio could’ve made it. I intend to see it in theaters many more times and the doors of stardom have been broken down by waves of love for Halle’s brilliance. Watching her sing “Part Of That World” alone is worth the admission of a ticket. Expect theaters to be packed with people. Of course, audiences want to see the film but I wouldn't be surprised how many show up just for her. She truly has something extraordinary I can’t yet identify. Like Ariel, she dreams big and I am certain she’s going to achieve all of them. She’s already a major music star but I really hope she gets involved in more acting because she could really bring back the sentimentality of the classic Hollywood star. The kindness is so genuine and I look forward to seeing her continue to soar in all she does, including The Color Purple remake this Christmas.

In the meantime, enjoy all the beauty The Little Mermaid has to offer. The Little Mermaid has been one of the rare Disney films that appeal to all ages. It’s a classic that’s ultimately about making memories with your family and I’m so glad so many families will be able to make beautiful memories with this one. The families you’ll sit next to have kids that will watch it with their kids and so on. That kind of love is what cinema is all about. The Little Mermaid is truly an under-the-sea treasure. It is SSS: Splashy, Stunning & Sweet.

The Little Mermaid. (2023). Disney.

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