Top positive review
‘The Little Mermaid’ (Diamond Edition DVD)
20 February 2018
By the time ‘The Little Mermaid’ was made (in 1989), the days of beautifully hand-drawn cels had gone, and a bland, computerized look crept into Disney’s animation. And so, for me, this film started very unpromisingly - with average-looking line work and backgrounds. Fortunately (and surprisingly) the visuals do improve and, with the appearance of the sea witch Ursula (a half-octopus half-battleaxe character), the story hots up too. I ended up enjoying the film, after all.
As for the music - which I find to be a major asset in early Disney films, and a major drawback in the later ones - well, it could have been worse. I usually can’t bear to hear anything by Alan Menken, but this film does contain two or three rather amiable tunes: the calypso-flavoured ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘Kiss the Girl’, plus the French chef’s amusing song. (However, when Ariel sings the sickly Broadway-style ’Part of our World’ I have to reach for the mute button.)
For a so-called ‘Diamond Edition’, there wasn’t much in the way of DVD extras. There’s an alternative ending, and a short four minute film with Jodi Benson reminiscing about her role as Ariel. Still, it’s a decent disc, and boasts a lovely widescreen picture.