The good, bad, and weird twists and turns of Disney's Little Mermaid remake (2023)

This article contains minor spoilerslittle Mermaid.

Trouble recreating popular classic movieslittle MermaidThere are more wrong things than right things. This happens when the source material is near perfect. Each change feels harsh and implicitly raises the question: does the optimization actually improve on what came before? If the answer is no, another, existential question arises: why is this change happening?

Unfortunately for director Rob Marshall, he andDisneyThe live-action remake oflittle MermaidNo better than its predecessor. Marshall and his team cut some songwritersHoward Ashman, added new songs and refined the romantic tone of the first film. Looking at these decisions individually, one questions the mandate that Disney and Marshall are seeking. Upon closer inspection, the even more depressing question arises as to why this film even exists.

The Little Mermaid live-action remake explained

  • What has changed?
  • Why do remakes look so bad?
  • Are we running out of new ideas?
  • Where have all the Disney villains gone?
  • Exhausting and highly predictable racist backlash

Beat-by-Beat-Remakemaybe better.

For better or worse, here are the differences between the 1989 classic and the 2023 live-action remake:

neulittle MermaidThere are three new songs

little MermaidArguably the best animated musical Disney has ever created. movie wonWon two Oscars in 1990Composed by Ashman and composer Alan Menken, "Under the Sea" won Best Original Music and Best Original Song awards. In the song category, Ashman and Menken actually had to admit defeat themselves, because "Kiss The Girl" was also nominated. Ashman and Mencken might have seen references to "Poor Unfortunate Soul" and "Part of Your World" were it not for the Oscar rules, which limit nominations to two songs per film.

In Ashman's absence, who died in 1991, his songwriting partner Menken teamed up with Lin-Manuel Miranda to helm the music for the remake. Menken and Miranda wrote three brand new songs from the film (plus an additional repeat of "Part of Your World").

The main songs are "Wild Uncharted Waters" (voiced by Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric), "For The First Time" (voiced by Halle) and a rap song called "The Scuttlebutt" (voiced by Awkwafina Scuttle and Daveed Diggs as Sebastian). . All of the tunes are meant to provide more insight into the characters, such as Eric's thirst for adventure, Ariel's inner monologue, and Scarter's utter confusion about the human world. The downside is that despite Halle's beautiful voice, they're almost irrelevant.

Ashman's lyrics give you an entire character's backstory in a three-minute song without sacrificing wit or daring. Those things are sorely lacking in these new songs. "Wild Uncharted Waters" is essentially an Eric parody of Les Mis. Ariel blogs live about her life in the musical monologue For the First Time. And "Scuttlebutt" — Awkwafina's Lin-Manuel Miranda rap that screams when the horn is honked — is sonic terrorism.

The best I can say about the new songlittle MermaidThe songs are the songs - the lyrics to the soundtrack - and they're really new.

"Poor unfortunate soul" remains, but Ursula's "body language" verse is gone

"poor unfortunate soul".little MermaidJust like every song in the soundtrack. asiconicLike Ursula - the brooding, buxom sea witch - she doesn't get much screen time. This puts the songs under pressure to do a double job: not only to advance the plot, but also to provide insight into the character of Ursula.

Is Ursula smart? Is she a liar or a fortune teller? Why doesn't Ursula stay around with Aquarius? What does she really want?

Poor Unfortunate Soul (sung by Pat Carroll) answers all of these questions and embodies this villainous yet surprisingly clever character in one five-minute outing. Ashman and Menken's song is largely preserved, but an important part is missing: the ending, in which Ursula appears to be telling a harsh truth about the people of the land.

Literally the best part of the entire song embodies the worldview of the cynical Ursula while showing us how she tricks Ariel. Come on

— Alex (@alex_abads)19. May 2023

In the second half of the original song, Ursula talks about her contract payment: in exchange for turning Ariel into a human, she wants Ariel's voice. This is after telling Ariel that Eric must kiss her with truly loving intentions in order to stay human forever. Ariel begins to understand the impossibility of Ursula's predatory sex trade - the impossibility of getting her lover to kiss her without being able to speak.

When Ursula sees that Ariel isn't as stupid as she thought, she tries another trick. She tells her that men who live on land are actually superficial and that basically all she needs is to look sexy and "never underestimate the importance of body language".

Ursula drove away.

"The boys up there don't like gossip. They think gossiping girls are boring,” she sings. "Come on, they're not that impressed with the gossip. True gentlemen avoid it as much as possible! But they indulge, fetishize and flatter an introvert who can only get a man if she can keep her mouth shut!”

Ursula's urging gets Ariel to sign her contract, but it also gives us a vivid glimpse of how Ursula sees the world. Yes, singing and dancing works like a trick for the naïve Ariel, making the impossible sound easy and making the sexist way some men treat women seem natural and inevitable. But since we aren't Ariel, we have to admit that there is indeed a lot of truth to Ursula's bleak view of the human world - a world full of men who don't value women's voices or wits. Ursula and Triton's hatred of the human world doesn't go that far, but Ursula also sees how their world works under patriarchy. (Who can say why this isn't one of King Triton's complaints, who is another king and Ariel's controlling father?)

Menken told Vanity Fair in March"Poor Unfortunate Soul" will be varied because Ursula's song "can in a way make young girls feel like they shouldn't speak inappropriately." Scrubbing the lyrics of a song sung by someone who is clearly a villain and has a realistic view of how sexism works may not achieve all of his and Miranda's intentions.

Ursula changes contract terms and True Love's Kiss

In a passing scene, Ursula talks about how she slipped a secret clause into her deal with Ariel. She casts a spell to keep Ariel from remembering that she needs a kiss of true love to be human forever.

This shift seems to really highlight Ursula's malevolence and makes an otherwise impossible deal even more impossible since Ariel can't remember the terms of the deal. But it also seems like a way for Disney to make safer films.

The good, bad, and weird twists and turns of Disney's Little Mermaid remake (1) Disney

With Ariel no longer asking for a kiss, the relationship that develops between her and Eric becomes more organic. Ariel was unaware that the kiss was coming her way, and her motivations for finding out about Eric were her own. However, she fell in love with this person. The new plot twist is also present in "Kissing the Girl" as the original song's lyrics were reworked to make Ariel's desire for a kiss more uncertain and to emphasize that Eric's pursuit of one person depends on him meeting the other person in front of Ariel asks permission son.

The change also allowed Disney to omit the original film's caption that it was about the sexual awakening of a 16-year-old mermaid. In canon, she falls in love with Eric because she is attracted to his body, initially seeing him as a literal statue rather than a walking, talking, and thinking human being. If you've seen this movie, you'll really like this statue! By rewriting Ariel's desire for a kiss, Ariel's attraction to Eric becomes healthier and ultimately less complicated. Disney and Marshall didn't have to explore what Ariel's sheer physical attraction to Eric meant.

"Les Poissons" is gone, which means there is no more "hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee".

"Poor unfortunate soul" apparently comes from therelittle Mermaid,That may have caused the zany and anti-French "Les Poissons" (sung by Rene Auberjonois, who played chef Louis) to slip under the radar. 'Les Poissons', which translates to 'fish', is about Eric, the French chef who not only loves to cook fish, but also whimsically sings about how he loves decapitating, gutting, and slicing fish to cut and eat - all while hunting Sebastian, the Jamaican crab.

The gory fish-killing waltz was left out of the remake, likely due to the film's dedication to CGI accuracy. Includes "Les Poissons" with real fish, real fish blood and guts, and strange reality Sebastian, It might be a bit too scary for the audience.

Prince Eric has parents and King Triton isn't just a monarch who enjoys performing musicals with his daughters

Every time I read the originallittle Mermaid,One of the biggest questions going through my head IS: Why does King Triton, the ruler of the seas and perhaps the most powerful man in the world, care so much about his daughters' performances in the musical?

The group musical starring Ariel and her sisters was the driving force behind the main conflict of the first film. Ariel is superb in her role and there is no substitute. When she failed to appear, this angered King Triton, who retaliated by blowing up her special collection room. This puts his daughter in the sanctuary of an exploitative contract with a feared sea witch.

Parents making Triton a helicopter musical rejoice! A stunning hit for camp lovers, everything has been rewritten in the remake.

The good, bad, and weird twists and turns of Disney's Little Mermaid remake (2) Disney

Rather than being deeply emotional during the performance of the song, King Triton explains through an awkward exposition that his daughters do not live at home but are in fact all over the sea.

them Come back to the so-called Coral Moon Festival every year and tell him what happened. The above holidays are what Ariel skips, much to Aquaman's displeasure. Triton was doubly angry with Ariel when screenwriter David Magee added that her mother was killed by a human, although there was no further explanation as to why or how this happened.

These changes reflect the new backstory Eric received. Before he was a prince with a statue and basically he was done. Now he is an adopted orphan in the care of his mother Selena (Noma Dumezweni), the queen of her unnamed country. Like Triton, Selina forbids Eric from venturing into uncharted waters because of the dangers lurking there. Of course, that made Eric even more curious about the world his mother didn't want to see.

As much as I love Triton's irrational love of Busby-Berkeley-esque sets with his many daughters, story shift actually works. As a result, Eric and Ariel have something in common and their stories make sense together. They are attracted to each other, not just because she happens to save him, or even to each other, but because they are both drawn to this idea of ​​adventure and feel out of place in the world they were born into. It's an addition that's very much in line with the spirit of the original film, and maybe even enhances it over its siblings.

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