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About Everything Wiki » Leisure » There's no time to be sad, you have to sing. Why "The Little Mermaid" is a stuffy, ugly and completely meaningless remake

There's no time to be sad, you have to sing. Why "The Little Mermaid" is a stuffy, ugly and completely meaningless remake

29 May 2023, 13:57, parser
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On May 26, the premiere of the film "The Little Mermaid" took place. Disney has again released a remake of its own cartoon.

The beginning of work on the remake became known in 2016. Filming started only in 2021. During this time, Lindsay Lohan and Harry Styles dropped out of the project, who could play the main roles, and the audience has already managed to get used to Disney remakes .

Rob Marshall (Memoirs of a Geisha, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Shores) was appointed director. The script was written by David Maggi ("Life of Pi", "My Terrible Neighbor"). Lin worked on the music‑Manuel Miranda ("Hamilton") and Alan Menken are the authors of the music for the original "The Little Mermaid".

The plot of the remake exactly repeats the plot of the original. The mermaid Ariel falls in love with a man, so she agrees to a deal with the witch Ursula — changes her voice to her feet. The girl has only a couple of days to kiss the prince — only in this case she will be able to remain human.

Slow plot kills

The original cartoon lasted 83 minutes, the remake — 135 minutes. To understand how slow the new version turned out, one fact is enough: Ariel makes a deal with Ursula at about the 60th minute. Apparently, it is possible to negotiate with a witch only after she has sung on a mini‑album.

The situation with the plot is twofold. If you didn't know anything about the history of the Mermaid, then perhaps the viewing will be at least a little interesting. If you know (and remember well) the original cartoon, you will ask yourself: "Why am I here?" This is practically a frame-by-frame remake, which is also slowed down.

Songs spoil the movie

If you throw the songs out of the movie, it will be reduced by almost half. There are too many of them, they are long, sometimes there are practically no pauses between them. Because of them, the timing is inflated to an unbearable length ‑ by the way, children simply can't stand it and leave the cinema half an hour before the end.

It's amazing how strange the songs seem. Pretentious, even pompous — sometimes it seems that they are being sung in some regular music show from a federal TV channel. Some of them migrated from the original cartoon (sometimes in a modified form), others were written specifically for the remake. Including the rap that the seagull reads. The year is 2023 after all.

Alan Menken wrote the music for the original, he was also invited to the remake. For him, this is a familiar task: he has already returned to "Aladdin" when he was reshot by Guy Ritchie, as well as to "Beauty and the Beast" in 2017. The composer tries to refresh his old works a little every time, but it doesn't work out. Just because the music from the original "Little Mermaid" was appropriate and timely in the eighties, that's where it should have stayed.

The cast is failing

There's a good cast in The Little Mermaid, but it doesn't work at all. Obviously, this is a failure of the director.

Holly Bailey as Ariel looks great. The problem is that no interesting lines were written to her, so the character turned out to be meaningless. And at the beginning, and in the middle, and in the finale of the film, Ariel is a naive girl who does not understand anything. Bailey just feigns surprise and, if lucky, sadness, but quite a bit — there is no time to be sad, you have to sing. Obviously, if there was a good script, there would be a great Ariel, but the actress was unlucky.

A shot from the movie "The Little Mermaid"

In the trailer, Triton (that is, Javier Bardem) looked comical. In the film, he looks nothing, he is almost motionless and rarely depicts emotions. It seems like the actor didn't even show up on the set, so the director just printed out his face and put it on an extra. Either Bardem was confused by what was happening. As a result, it turned out not the king of the seas, but a tortured uncle.

Before viewing, it seemed that Melissa Mac‑Karti in the form of a villain is a great hit. But she, like Bardem, is fixated on one emotion, so it's boring to look at her. The actress endlessly screams at the painted tentacles, and the final scene with her participation looks like a mockery of the original.

But the prince looks like a prince from old fairy tales. But is he any better for it? His clip (the episode where he sings) resembles New Year's TV shows, where the stars put on stupid costumes and make faces to old songs. It is unlikely that the actor is to blame here, too — you can again remember about the hopeless scenario.

Underwater world makes you bored

The authors of the film made several important decisions before working on the remake. Firstly, they decided that the underwater world would be beautiful, and secondly, they took a step towards naturalism. It seems that it was necessary to choose one thing, it didn't work out to sit on two chairs.

The main problem is found at the very beginning: water is not like water. Rather, someone used a simple filter to hint that the action takes place in the ocean. It is enough to recall the second part of "Avatar" to understand how water can look like in a movie. But Rob Marshall is not James Cameron.

A shot from the movie "The Little Mermaid"

In theory, it was possible to abandon naturalism and simply draw a colorful world — as in the original. The authors take half measures, so deliberately bright and realistic underwater inhabitants are nearby. So we get scenes where a cartoon octopus is adjacent to an ordinary shrimp. It all looks like someone has mixed hundreds of sketches designed for different projects.

But the bright Flounder was turned into a naturalistic flounder — I wonder who came up with this idea at all? Or is Disney not enough of a Pumbaa warthog?

Lowered expectations help

Hardly anyone expected a breakthrough from the "Little Mermaid". Another remake from a studio that's obsessed with remakes. "Mulan", "Pinocchio", "Lady and the Tramp", "Cruella", "Aladdin", "Dumbo", "The Lion King", "Maleficent: Mistress of Darkness", "Peter Pan and Wendy" — films released in the last few years, and this despite the fact that the premieres were postponed due to the pandemic.

It is not surprising that "The Little Mermaid" does not shine with originality — this is the case when they shoot in order to shoot. Against the background of lowered expectations, it turned out not so bad — that is, the film is not terrible, but just bad.

Of course, the witnesses of the summons accuse the "Little Mermaid" of following trends, including because of the skin color of the main character. Apparently, a girl with a fish tail can exist, but only white. Here in Baikal mermaids are white...

A shot from the movie "The Little Mermaid"

"The Little Mermaid" is another senseless remake that parasitizes the original. The authors decided that they would not invent anything, doing a reshoot of the cartoon. The normal reaction of the viewer is also not to invent anything and watch the original. And you can laugh at Javier Bardem and the talking flounder without going to the cinema — a trailer is enough.

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