The Little Mermaid – Movie Review

The Little Mermaid makes unnecessary alterations.

In 1989 Disney released their animated Little Mermaid movie, which became a timeless classic in the world of animated films. The film captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. Its captivating animation, memorable characters, and unforgettable songs make it one of my favorite animated films. In addition, the animated feature solidified Ariel’s place as one of the most beloved princesses. Now Disney is delivering a live-action adaptation, hoping to fix their mediocre track record.


The youngest of King Triton’s daughters, and the most defiant, Ariel longs to discover more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life — and her father’s crown — in jeopardy.

Halle Bailey was a great choice for Ariel regarding her voice and singing ability. She delivered a pitch-perfect performance with all the songs featured in the film. However, her first leading role, which had shining moments, was not enough to elevate the film. The David Magee-directed movie is paced way too slow and bloated as it sits at 2 hours and 15 minutes, whereas the original was only 1 hour and 23 minutes. The target audience, children, cannot sit through this film. And for those thinking that the audience that grew up with the original is the true target audience, I don’t see that. There are some significant changes to some of the characters and backstories; however, there needed to be more effort to deliver something new that did not feel like a straight copy of the original.

Some casting choices could have been better made outside of Bailey’s Ariel and Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula. Javier Bardem is not the King Triton I picture in a live-action movie. He was not large and muscular and came off as very strong with this Trident. However, we did not see much of his eruptive nature that would lead to explosive tempers. Additionally, the voices of Sebastian and Scuttle did not work. Despite Daveed Diggs’s noble attempt to create something new, it was just too hard to forget the original voice of the loveable crab voiced by Samuel E. Wright. Awkwafina’s Scuttle was straight-up annoying despite being a fan of hers. She does not need to show up everywhere; her voice can be overbearing and turn you off. Finally, Jonah Hauer-King, as Prince Eric, delivers a solid performance and has a look to become a DC or Marvel hero.


I give The Little Mermaid 3 out of 5 stars. Despite tackling themes of love, sacrifice, and pursuing one’s dreams, it simply does not have the charm of the 1989 animated feature. The original is a cherished part of countless childhoods and a true gem in the history of animated storytelling. It will be in theaters on May 26th. Read more Reviews on Nerdtropolis and Subscribe to our YouTube. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sean Tajipour is the Founder and Editor of Nerdtropolis and the host of the Moviegoers Society Podcast. He is also a member of the Critics Choice Association. You can follow on Twitter and Instagram @Seantaj.

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