The Little Mermaid (1989)

(On DVD, April 2017) Here’s another Disney movie I have watched in bits and pieces (thanks to the resident household pre-schooler) but never from beginning to end in its original language. Widely acknowledged as the film that solidified the template for the Disney renaissance of the nineties, The Little Mermaid mixes in classical literature inspiration, princesses, humour, song, animal sidekicks and just about anything that we can recognize from the Disney archetype. It’s not always equally inspiring, but it certainly works. The songs can be memorable (although I suspect that my French rendition of “Under the Sea” only uses half the original words) while the comedy works to defuse some of the tension of an otherwise dramatic story. Ariel is likable (if not exactly the smartest … but give her a break, she’s just a teenager), Ursula is detestable, the animal sidekicks are equally funny and annoying … yes, this is a prototypical Disney film, at least until the 2010s Disney Resurgence era. Even today, The Little Mermaid remains a foundation piece for any family film collection for a good reason.

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