A look into Disney’s new ‘The Little Mermaid’


Walt Disney Studios

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s new live-action “The Little Mermaid”.

Ella DiRuggiero, Staff Writer

On May 26, 2023, Walt Disney Studios released their new live-action version of the 1989 Disney film The Little Mermaid, with Halle Bailey playing the main role as Ariel. While the new release follows a similar plot as the original version, it has been facing many controversies on whether or not it conveys the same magical and creative story.

The plot of the movie is all around the main character, Ariel. She is an underwater princess who is dissatisfied with her life under the sea. She has a dream to see and experience human life above water, but her father says it is too dangerous.

Ariel discovers and explores a ship wreck right above the surface, and saves the prince, Eric. The underwater sea witch, Ursula, lures Ariel into her lair and offers to turn Ariel into a human for three days in exchange for her voice. During those days, Ariel must receive a true love’s kiss from Prince Eric so she can be human forever. However, if she fails, she is enslaved to Ursula for the rest of her life. 

The magical, original, and thrilling spin the original movie had set high expectations for the new live-action version. The original was able to keep me engaged and intrigued throughout the whole movie. However, I feel as though the new version twisted the plot a little, and failed to get me as interested in watching. This was almost a disappointment, considering how much hype the new version was receiving on social media.

Although the live-actions version follows the same plot as the original, I feel as though it wasn’t executed the same way. It packs on an additional 52 minutes and three new songs. They also decided to include an about Prince Eric’s family and past, which felt completely irrelevant and offtrack from the plot. 

Additionally, they are calling the remake “live action”, yet it is mostly CGI (Computer-generated imagery). The main issue with this is that it is visually confusing and unappealing. At times, it even looks cheap. However, I can understand the difficulty in making a movie like this realistic, yet magical and inspiring. 

As a result of Ariel losing her voice, the cartoon had to use specific facial expressions to communicate to the audience how Ariel felt or reacted in certain situations without actually using her words. This attribute applies to all of the characters, and was a main factor that contributed to the story itself. However, in the new version, I feel as though this wasn’t executed well. For example, the way Ariel was ‘singing’ in her head without opening her mouth and using minimal facial expression just felt awkward.

Overall, the movie wasn’t terrible, but it did not live up to the standards of the original 1989 film. I feel as though Walt Disney Studios tried to do too much, instead of sticking to the simple plot and putting effort into the little details like the facial expressions, singing, and visuals.