Things to see: The Little Mermaid

Qualification: The little Mermaid

Describe this movie in one Pacifier Appointment:

ADEBAYO: If we have a boy, I’d like to name him Octopussy. And if he is a boy, Sharknado.

Brief plot synopsis: The boy meets the mermaid, the boy loses the mermaid, the mermaid has legs, the boy has mermaid legs.

Rating using random objects relevant to the movie: 3 Comic Book Guys out of 5.

Click to enlarge

Motto: “Be a part of their world.”

Best motto: “But, but, but… you’re black.”

Not-So-Brief Plot Synopsis: Young mermaid Ariel (Halle Bailey) just wants to be where the people are. Specifically, one person: Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King), whom Ariel rescues from a shipwreck. Her father, King Triton (Javier Bardem), is not very happy to hear this and forbids her to carry out any more activities “about the world”. Devastated by her, Ariel is tricked by Triton’s sister, Ursula (Melissa McCarthy), into giving up her voice for the chance to spend the rest of her life with a guy she’s never met.

“Critical analysis: If it’s a year with a number, then it must be time for Disney to make a live-action remake of one of their animated movies. Already the authority on leveraging public domain properties for profit, Big Mouse has long advocated double dipping into those very titles to get a few (hundreds of millions) dollars more from audiences every time. more desperate to see children’s movies in theaters.

That The little Mermaid is better than many of these previous efforts (looking specifically at you, mulan and Aladdin) feels less like a focused strategy and more like…inevitability. At least some of these have to be decent, right?

Disney’s in-person version of the 1989 film that put its animation department back on the map begins with a quote from Hans Christian Andersen: “But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore suffers much more.” It serves as a nice bookend for the end of the movie, but how many people will remember its significance is debatable.

Or that the original fairy tale ends with the Little Mermaid basically sentenced to indentured servitude for 300 years.

Some changes are more unnecessary than others. Chief among these are the new songs, because you apparently have to fill this in, courtesy of the film’s original composer Alan Menken and new lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda. Eric’s (“Wild Unchartered Waters”) is… well, if painfully serious. Ariel’s (“For the First Time”) does quite well thanks to Bailey.

But “The Scuttlebutt,” featuring rap talents Scuttle, the northern gannet (Awkwafina), and Sebastian the crab (Daveed Diggs), isn’t good. Did we lose “Le Poisson” over this?

The lyrics of two existing songs have also been changed. Updates to “Kiss the Girl” curb Sebastian’s more harassing advice, while an entire verse is cut from “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (the one that tells Ariel to “hold her tongue” to get a man). This was supposedly to prevent the girls from feeling like they shouldn’t talk out of character, even though it’s Ursula (the film’s lead). villain) give advice.

Luckily, Bailey is earning quite a bit as Ariel, and Eric de Hauer-King is pretty forward-thinking for whatever year it’s supposed to be. And in the spirit of the MCU’s greatest villains, King Triton is right. The story has been updated to show man-made (inadvertently, after all, this is before the Industrial Revolution) damage to the ocean. On the other hand, Eric wants to reach out to other cultures to improve the well-being of his own eventual kingdom. Is it a reference to malaria in a Disney movie? Bet your ass.

That being said, perhaps Newt’s “butler” should be more imposing and competent than a crab. This seems to be a recurring problem with Disney royalty (See also Zazu).

As senseless cash heists go, Disney could (and has) done much worse than The little Mermaid. The two main human characters work reasonably well. McCarthy is overly restrained and Bardem is a good actor, but he clearly isn’t comfortable working in front of a green screen. He gets a mild recommendation from Bailey and updates the message without lecturing.

The Little Mermaid is in theaters today.