The Little Mermaid (2023) – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Little Mermaid (2023) – Hearts of Personal Worth: A Familiar Splash

To experience something is to escape into another realm.  With film, that experience becomes a staple in the journey ahead.  From each story told; if that grip comes to be … the possibilities are endless.  In this review, I look at the latest Disney live-action remake.  With this latest retelling, we have a story that is poignant but familiar.  For all that is expected, The Little Mermaid provides a new sense to being … a part of that world.

This is the story of Ariel (Halle Bailey), a young mermaid that wants to experience things beyond the ocean.  With all the obstacles that can be, will her wish be a burden, or a dream come true?  In this world of Disney remakes, there are a lot of things that cross one’s mind, especially those that grew up on the animated classics.  Within the thought of the obvious, what can the live-action remake(s) bring?  With these retellings, what I do is center on that genuine feel of the journey.  As the story begins, you have a general introduction to the characters and setting.  Like the animated tale, Ariel admires the human world.  Her admiration becomes the major catalyst (in the film), creating a story that weaves between familiar moments, honest conversations, and expositional backstory.  Within the fantastical elements are subtle layers of characterization.  With Ariel, you have a young mermaid that wants to experience life on land.  At the same time, you have Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King), who wants to see life beyond his royal duties.  Through these two characters, moments build through an emotive connection that builds up the known with new revere.  As the story shifts to the second act, the characterized dynamic is infused with recognizable elements (musical numbers/plot points) to continue that momentum of a unique spin on the familiar.  Ariel’s personal struggles lead into familial conflict, providing humanistic overtures to the father/daughter element with King Triton (Javier Bardem) and the elusive threat of Ursula (Melissa McCarthy).  This all comes to a head when Ariel makes that one decision, a turning point that brings levity to those fantastical tropes.  As the setting shifts to land, it leads to a story of building on themes of growth, love, and hope.

With the shift to land, the dynamic of relationships becomes prudent.  With Ariel, we watch as her cunning and innocence provides a balance to Prince Erics fragility of individual purpose.  These scenes drive a dynamic of thematic appeal that grips with a hearty tone.  As things become a ‘will they/won’t they’ mentality, that construct leads to a breaking point of certain conflict with Ursula.  As the truth comes to light, we head into a third act that mixes iconic scenes of conflict and personal growth (of our main characters).  Even in the recognizable situations (in the climax), it leads to a gratification in the ‘happily ever after’ epilogue.  The Little Mermaid is a retelling done right.  By building up on the strength of character, the experience is truly a wonderful escape.  If you are a fan of Disney, reimaging or character stories, this is definitely for you.  I think this would be a fun time for the family, worth every penny.

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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