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Some of the best songs in any Disney film
on 2 December 2016
‘The Little Mermaid’ is not the best Disney film ever (that might be ‘Bambi’ or ‘The Jungle Book’ from the days when Walt Disney himself ran the company) and some parts are more interesting than others, however, it is good, including for adults. It has some of the best songs of any Disney film, for music, words and performance e.g. the calypso-style ‘Under the Sea’.
Most of the plot is based quite closely on a Hans Christian Anderson story of the same name except that the ending is ‘Disneyfied’, which is not necessarily a bad thing. A mermaid called Ariel, daughter of the Sea King, loves a land-based human prince, but it is hard for them to be together as neither can naturally live in the other’s element.
When ‘The Little Mermaid’ was made in 1989, Disney animation was going through a difficult period financially and corners had to be cut e.g. the villainous undersea witch Ursula, meant to be octopus-like, has only 6 tentacles rather than 8, because it was cheaper to draw her that way.
Fortunately, the success of ‘The Little Mermaid’ followed in the next few years by ’Beauty and the Beast’ (and ‘Aladdin’, which I am less sure about) possibly even saved the existence of Disney animation, which had been in gradual decline after Walt Disney’s death. Part of the credit for this is due to the writers of the music and lyrics of all these films, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who had also written, more for adults, the brilliant musical (stage show and, especially, film) ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.
‘The Little Mermaid’ is from the last period in which Disney films were still drawn by hand, which gives them a different look from more recent ones produced through digital technology.
Some of the ‘Special Features’ included are aimed at young children, but there are also interesting documentary features that may mean more to adults.