×

The Little Mermaid

Borrowing liberally from the studio's classics, The Little Mermaid may represent Disney's best animated feature since the underrated Sleeping Beauty in 1959. That should come as no surprise to admirers of The Great Mouse Detective, writer-director collaborators John Musker and Ron Clements' 1986 animation feature that helped salvage the art form at the studio after it had nearly sunk into The Black Cauldron.

Borrowing liberally from the studio’s classics, The Little Mermaid may represent Disney’s best animated feature since the underrated Sleeping Beauty in 1959. That should come as no surprise to admirers of The Great Mouse Detective, writer-director collaborators John Musker and Ron Clements’ 1986 animation feature that helped salvage the art form at the studio after it had nearly sunk into The Black Cauldron.

The source material is a Hans Christian Andersen tale. The mermaid princess Ariel (voiced by newcomer Jodi Benson) lives in her sea-lord father Triton’s (Kenneth Mars) undersea kingdom but yearns for a life above, made all the more haunting to her when she rescues handsome young prince Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright) from the sea. Disobeying her father, she makes a pact with seawitch Ursula (Pat Carroll) enabling her to go ashore and get the prince to fall in love with her – her soul hanging in the balance, her beautiful voice as collateral.

Ursula alone proves a visual feast, a thick-jawed nightmare who swishes about on eight octopus legs in one of the film’s more inspired inventions.

The animation proves lush and fluid, augmented by the use of shadow and light as elements like fire, sun and water illuminate the characters. Key contributions are made by lyricist Howard Ashman (who co-produced with Musker) and composer Alan Menken, whose songs frequently begin slowly but build in cleverness and intensity.

1989: Best Song (‘Under the Sea’), Original Score.

Nomination: Best Song (‘Kiss the Girl’)

The Little Mermaid

Production: Walt Disney. Director John Musker, Ron Clements; Producer Howard Ashman, John Musker; Screenplay John Musker, Ron Clements; Editor John Carnochan; Music Alan Menken; Art Director Michael A. Peraza Jr, Donald A. Towns

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1989. Running time: 82 MIN.

More Film

  • 'The Current War' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch,

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult Feud in 'The Current War' Trailer (Watch)

    101 Studios has released an official new trailer for the Martin Scorcese-produced thriller, “The Current War,”  offering a glimpse into the dramatic 19th century battle over electricity that became known as the “war of the currents.” The film, which is a dramatization of real-life events, will follow the tumultuous journey of Thomas Edison, played by [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Oscars: 31 Upcoming Films That Could Enter the Awards Race

    The year reaches the halfway mark on June 30, and traditionally films from the first six months have an uphill battle in the Oscar race. However, this year’s January-June crop might get a boost from the accelerated schedule: Nominations voting is a tight Jan. 2-Jan. 7, 2020. So if voters start their homework now, early [...]

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

  • Svensk Filmindustri SF Studios logo

    Warner Bros, SF Studios Expand Distribution Deal Across Scandinavia

    Warner Bros. Pictures has expanded its distribution deal with SF Studios to include Sweden and have their movies released by the Nordic major through all of Scandinavia. Warner Bros. Pictures already has a distribution pact with SF Studios in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Under the partnership, SF Studios has been handling the sales, marketing and [...]

  • Nicole Kidman Meryl Streep

    Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman to Star in Ryan Murphy's 'The Prom' at Netflix

    Ryan Murphy enlisted a star-studded cast for his upcoming Netflix movie “The Prom,” an adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, James Corden, Ariana Grande, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells are among the A-listers bringing “The Prom” to screens. “The Prom” follows a lesbian student in the fictional conservative town of [...]

  • Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Vaclav

    Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Václav Havel Biopic

    Viktor Dvorak has been cast in “Havel,” a biopic of Václav Havel, as the Czech playwright, dissident and national leader. Anna Geislerova, who starred in Oscar nominated “Zelary,” plays his wife, Olga Havlova. Jiri Bartoska, the president of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, will appear in the film as “Professor,” inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patocka. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content