1989 marked the beginning of the Disney Renaissance, an era of animated films which focused on adapting well-known stories and enhancing them with state-of-the-art animation, a gorgeous soundtrack and all-star voice talent. The Little Mermaid was the first film in this era and Disney continued to follow this trend up until 1999’s Tarzan. The film went on to win numerous awards and the hearts of not only children but adults alike. The Little Mermaid is a beautiful film and it’s legacy lives on in this dazzling Blu-ray set.
Based on Hans Christian Andersen Danish fairy tale of the same name, The Little Mermaid tells the story of Ariel, a young mermaid who dreams of becoming human so she can fall in love and experience all the joys of someone possessing legs. She makes a deal with a sea witch, Ursula, to become human in exchange for her voice. A romance ensues with dashing prince Eric and Ariel embarks on a truly harrowing adventure.
The Little Mermaid is a fantastic story and the brilliant folks at Disney brought the classic tale to colorful life. The animation is without a doubt, top notch. Before computer animation, there were simpler techniques and The Little Mermaid is a perfect example of this old school approach. The voice cast is also pretty stellar featuring Jodi Benson (Barbie in the Toy Story films) providing the speaking and singing voice of Ariel. Samuel E. Wright (Dinosaur, Bird) plays Ariel’s chaperone and underwater musical director Sebastian, a crab with a lot to say. Providing some extra comic relief is legend Buddy Hacket who plays Skuttle, a seagull who thinks he knows more than he lets on and serves as Ariel’s link to the world above the sea.
The music in The Little Mermaid is one of the film’s best assets. It is timeless, soaring and downright beautiful. Composer Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (The Little Shop of Horrors) wrote the songs and Menken scored the film. The songs which stand out from the soundtrack include “Under the Sea”, “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl”. These three gems are considered to be the ticket Disney used to get onto Broadway. With such a vibrant score and fun songs, the story is only elevated and enhanced creating a sublime viewing /listening experience.
Storytelling is an art form and Disney has always been notorious for providing audiences with fun, interesting and emotional tales. The Little Mermaid has many themes, love, good versus evil, family dynamics, friendship and sacrifice. Young children may not be able to grasp all of these concepts but with time and repeated viewings they will eventually catch on. The film is simple but not overly simplistic.
The Little Mermaid single-handedly breathed life in the Disney film company. Classic stories were brought down from the book shelves and converted into easy-to-digest, fun and mesmerizing motion pictures. Villains also became more interesting in these films and they definitely stirred up strong interest. Well-known voice talent was also brought in to gain attention (i.e. Buddy Hacket).
There are usually a lot of different home video releases when it comes to Disney films, especially the classics which receive the Diamond Edition title. The Little Mermaid is no exception and it has a very welcome home in the Diamond pile. Kids this day and age need to educated cinematically and The Little Mermaid along with all of the other Disney classics need to be shown to them. Innocence, humor, fun and excitement are the trademarks of any great film. The Little Mermaid has all of these qualities and then some.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
There are over 3 hours of bonus features for The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition! They include a new state-of-the-art digital restoration of the film, music videos, a Disney intermission, a sing-along, a never-before-seen deleted character, various featurettes and much more.