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Film Review - Little Mermaid, The
One of the best ideas to come out of The Walt Disney Company is the idea that audiences renew themselves. For this reason a motion picture can be released again every seven years and find new theater patrons. Disney releases films every seven years to a new audience of children who have never even heard of the title being released.
Recently dusted off and tossed into theaters for a two-week engagement, The Little Mermaid is one such film. The Little Mermaid is the company's return to its roots as a cartoon company. Animation was done by a new Disney team created by Walt's nephew, Roy E. Disney. This return to roots was one of many factors that brought the studio back from the dead.
What falls apart in Mermaid is the story. A love-struck teenager abandons all of the values taught by her father, and brings disaster down on everyone. These are not the values you would want to teach children; in fact, this is not the message of the fairy tale written by Hans Christian Anderson. In his writing, The Little Mermaid lost the prince and her body became the foam of the sea. But before that, she had redeemed herself and her spirit lived on as a daughter of the air. Three hundred years hence she would win herself an immortal soul. So she pays the price for her mistake: responsibility that you aren't going to find in the Disney movie. In the film, her father must save her by sacrificing himself, and plunging his kingdom into despair. Only a rather lame witch killing saves the day. The teenager never faces her responsibility in the matter.
What is superb is Alan Menken's music in Mermaid. Menkin brought in a Carribean style to one hit and much older European styles to other pieces. The style reflects on the characters involved and boosts the development of those characters. Menken won three Academy Awards and four Golden Globes for best original score, and the songs Under the Sea and Kiss the Girl.
Released in 1989
MPAA Rating: G
Reviewed by Mongo