Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Little Mermaid


Based on Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 fairy tale The Little Mermaid is the 28th mainstream animated feature from Disney.

The story centres around Ariel (Jodi Benson) a 16-year-old mermaid Princess, curious about the human world, and who has fallen in love with 18-year-old Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes) having watched him on the deck of his ship. Desperate to be with Eric she goes to sea witch Ursula (Pat Carroll), who agrees to turn her human for three days in exchange for her voice. In these three days Ariel must kiss Eric and, or else she will be turned into a mermaid and will belong to Ursula. Ariel reluctantly agrees and goes to live on land where she and Eric become fast friends and start to fall in love, with a little help from crab Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright). However, it seems they will never kiss as Ursula and her beloved eels Flotsam and Jetsam (both voiced by Paddi Edwards) constantly sabotage, as Ursula is desperate for Ariel's soul, which she plans to use to rule the seas by using it to force King Triton (Kenneth Mars) - Ariel's father - to give up his trident and crown for Ariel's soul.

The Little Mermaid is really Disney on top form. The animation is truly beautiful, with lots of detail gone into the sea life, making it one of the all time most stunning and eye-catching Disney worlds. The characters are absolutely wonderful. Sebastian, the all-singing Jamaican crab, is truly brilliant, thanks to a wonderful vocal performance by Samuel E. Wright, and some excellent gags in what is an outstanding screenplay. Scuttle (Buddy Hackett), a seagull and close friend of Ariel, is also very amusing thanks to his general stupidity - his believe that a fork is to be used to comb hair, being one of a number of stupid cock-ups he makes over the course of the film. Ursula, however, steals the show as one of the all-time greatest Disney villains. Like all the best villains (Cruella De Vil, Scar, Jafar, et cetera) she initially appears a bit harsh and brash, but never the less kind and concerned for the protagonists/supporting protagonists, but is later shown in her true colours - spiteful, homicidal, sadistic and unwilling to stop till she gets what she wants, all of which was created in the character by the aforementioned top-notch screenplay and a truly spine-tingling vocal performance by Pat Carroll.

Coupled with a truly memorable and catchy soundtrack that includes the Oscar-winning Under the Sea and lovely songs such as Kiss the Girl, Poor Unfortunate Souls and Part of Your World, The Little Mermaid is a truly enjoyable film, and an excellent example of the standards of the more contemporary Disney animations.

Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, Paddi Edwards, Ben Wright, Edie McClurg, Frank Welker, Kimmy Robertson, Caroline Vasicek, Will Ryan, Rene Auberjonois.

Oscars: Best Original Score (Alan Menken), Best Original Song (Under the Sea - Alan Menken, Howard Ashman).
Oscar nominaton: Best Original Song (Kiss the Girl - Alan Menken, Howard Ashman).

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