“The Little Mermaid” Live Action: Will it Live Up to the Original?

We are finally going to see our favorite Disney mermaid come to life on May 26, 2023!

By Gianna Liantonio

Photo Credit: People

Halle Bailey’s performance of “Part of Your World” gives us insight into the world and characters that are coming to life. 

The highly anticipated live action film, “The Little Mermaid”, is going to be in theaters May 26, 2023; people can only hope that it lives up to the original animated version, which was released in 1989 with Jodi Benson as Ariel. 

The movie stars Halle Bailey who will be taking on the role of Ariel with Jonah Hauer-King playing Prince Eric. Mellissa McCarthy will be taking the role of Ursula and anyone who has watched her knows she will definitely deliver this role.

Other well-known actors and actresses include Lin Manuel Miranda as Chef Louis and Daveed Digs as Sebastian the crab, who were both in the Braodway musical “Hamilton.” 

Jacob Trembley, who is well known for his role as the titular character in the Disney animated film, “Luca”, will be playing Ariel’s fish sidekick, Flounder. Awkafina will be playing Scuttle, Ariel’s bird friend on land. 

In the film, we meet Ariel, who is 16, in love with the human world, and wishes to be a part of it. 

She is forbidden to go to the surface because her father King Triton tells her humans are dangerous and they can’t be seen by them. That doesn’t stop her from saving Prince Eric, a human man who she fell in love with from afar. 

Wanting to see the human world and have a chance to meet him, she goes to the sea witch, Ursula, in hopes of becoming a human. The catch: she must give up her voice, and she has three days to kiss him or she belongs to Ursula forever. 

In the end, they defeat Ursula; Ariel is able to stay a human to marry Eric and live her life on land. 

We only hope that this adaptation doesn’t take away the original magic that the first film brought. 

From the trailer, we hear Halle Bailey sing the well known and highly praised song, “Part of Your World”, where she sings beautifully and with just as much power as Jodi Benson sang it. This is the only song we hear sung in the trailer, so we’re not sure if they are singing any new songs additional to the original ones.

 “The Little Mermaid” was also on Broadway, so they may have added some songs from there as well, but we won’t know until it is released. 

Over the years, live action films based on classic animated movies have been doing fairly well, thus raising a lot of expectations. “Jungle Book” received the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 94%, followed by “Pete’s Dragon” and “Cinderella” being in the top three. 

Since its announcement, there have been many criticisms towards this movie. Some just think there shouldn’t be more live actions; Disney should create new stories and characters instead of reusing the same ones. 

In a trailer review by Alex Keenan on Screen Rant, he talks about how there are color grading issues and from the trailer; it looks “dark and dull”. 

“Despite many promising shots of Ariel in a vibrant, colorful undersea world, ‘The Little Mermaid’ may still struggle with color grading issues,” said Keenan.

 He explains this could be because realistically, the deep sea isn’t as bright and full of light as the animated version conveys it.

Others feel that Halle Bailey doesn’t look like Ariel and won’t portray her right; this criticism is purely based on racial prejudice. However, there are people who are excited for this new movie, as “The Little Mermaid” has been a favorite for many. 

There is a photo of Jodi Benson and Halle Bailey, showing the first Ariel and now the current one side by side. In an article by Entertainment Weekly, they talk about an Instagram comment by Jodi Benson, where she praises Halle Bailey’s performance in the new film after meeting her at D23 Expo. The comment said: “Halle, you are absolutely amazing!”, followed by “I’m so proud of you and your beautiful performance of Ariel!” 

Bailey responded to her comment saying that “means a lot coming from you” and “You made Ariel magical to us.” .

“The Little Mermaid” has been my favorite Disney movie since I was little, so I am more than excited to see it come to life and I know many other fans are, too. 

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