The Little Mermaid First Reactions Surface


By this point, we’ve come to accept live-action remakes of Disney animated classics as part of our world. No matter your feelings about 2017’s Beauty and the Beast or 2019’s The Lion King — that they reimagine beloved stories for a new generation or that they are reheated cash grabs that diminish their better predecessors — there’s no denying their success. In fact, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King are both among the top 20 highest-grossing movies of all time.

So it’s easy to see why fans are interested in the latest movie in the genre, The Little Mermaid. The 1989 adaptation of a story by Hans Christian Andersen from directors John Musker and Ron Clemens kicked off the Disney Renaissance, reversing a trend that included flops The Black Cauldron and Oliver and Company and starting a run of highly-respected and award-winning films, leading to 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, 1992’s Aladdin, and 1994’s The Lion King. With songs by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the movie quickly became a staple of households around the world.

For the 2023 remake, Rob Marshall, who previously helmed Chicago, Into the Woods, and Mary Poppins Returns, steps in as director. The movie follows the same basic plot, with young mermaid Ariel’s curiosity about the surface world eventually driving her into the arms of sailor Eric. The smitten Ariel makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula, who agrees to give her legs in exchange for her voice. Her voice will return, only if Ariel can make Eric fall in love with her.

As has been the case in previous live-action remakes, Disney packs the cast with famous faces and voices. Hamilton breakout Daveed Digs takes the role of the crab Sebastian, Ariel’s oft-ignored advisor, while Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) voices diving bird Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay will try to make our Doctor Sleep-induced nightmares cease by voicing the curious Flounder.

Despite hopes that Disney would cast a drag queen in the role of Ursula, thus paying homage to the orignal design inspired by Divine, Melissa McCarthy plays the devious tentacle monster. While most people still think of Javier Bardem as coin-flipping killer Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, he put in a radiant performance in last year’s bland kid’s movie Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, showing off a skill set that will serve him well as Ariel’s father, King Triton. Relative newcomer Jonah Hauer-King plays Eric, but the biggest draw is Halle Bailey, half of the pop duo and Beyoncé protoges Chloe x Halle.

If first reactions are to be believed, Bailey’s casting paid off, as she is easily the most praised aspect of the movie. Here’s a sample of the first reactions out of the movie’s world premiere this week:

Do these first takes have you hooked? Or does it all sound like bait to lure families and their wallets back to theaters? You’ll get a chance to voice your opinion when The Little Mermaid opens on May 26.

The post The Little Mermaid First Reactions Surface appeared first on Den of Geek.

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