by ECI Released : 2023-05-31
Little Mermaid (2023), is the next installment in the string of live-action remakes of classic Disney films. These films have had varying levels of critical success and often adhere to two camps.
Some like the Lion King, Aladdin, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast are very faithful to the source material. This works better for some of these films but for films like the Lion King which is still essentially an partially animated film this approach can falter.
Others such as Cruella, and most notably the Jungle Book, divulge heavily from their source material and improve on them by adding more character development and lore to classic stories.
The Little Mermaid has a foot in both camps, although adhering to the basic plot of the 1989 film the 2023 remake makes some noticeable changes, adding in three additional songs, and changing some backstory for other characters.
Overall I enjoyed the film. The performances, specifically Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Eric, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, and Melissa Mccarthy as Ursala were top notch, and the songs were performed in an exciting and entertaining manner.
Perhaps my biggest criticism for the film was not in Rob Marshall’s direction but rather the visual effects, especially for a film with a gargantuan 250 million dollar budget. The visual effects in underwater scenes felt lacking, the creature design not only felt too realistic, making it hard for the characters to express emotion through animation like in the original 1989 film, but were also at times just mediocre compared to Disney's work in Lion King. For all that film's flaws the visuals were far superior and set a bar that this film failed to reach in that department.
Despite these flaws The Little Mermaid is an enjoyable film worth seeing at the drive-in for its scope alone and a great outing for families at the movies. It gets a thumbs up from me and I would see myself watching this film again in the future.