Retro-Review: The Little Mermaid
We’re very happy Ariel and the gang are still part of our world!
Listen to me. The human world is a mess.
— Sebastian, The Little Mermaid
Sometimes you just forget…
Sometimes you can’t remember what exactly it was about a film that made you so excited to watch it the first time.
And, frankly, watching anything on a small screen clouds the memory of that first glimpse in a cinema environment. What remains in your mind is a remembrance of a good time that was had when you were much younger; fuzzy moments that no amount of (analog or) digital media can reforge.
Unfortunately, most of the time, those secondhand experiences fall short of the memory, and you shake your head thinking, “Why did I love that so much?”
Not so, The Little Mermaid.
I took advantage of the opportunity to see if I could give my son, 9, a chance at a shared memory with his old man. And, walking passed posters for It 2 and Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, I was pleased to be able to stem the tide between The Lion King and Frozen 2 with a visit with Ariel and the gang.
“The human world is a mess…” Indeed.
— Obi-John Kenobi (@jmbishopjr) September 7, 2019
Thank goodness, The Little Mermaid didn’t disappoint. And for 1 hour and 23 minutes, that human world mess went away. My oldest — my baby — even held my hand in the “scary” parts.
Yes, my son, Jack, his grandmother, and I had a blast, and it wasn’t just because it was a “Disney movie.”
No, The Little Mermaid is the Disney movie of its generation. Released in 1989, John Musker and Ron Clements film is a masterpiece of (mostly) hand-drawn animation that remains very viable 30 years later.
Now, I am not so simple as to say that The Little Mermaid surpasses all that came after it.
Frozen, in my opinion, takes itself a notch higher; albeit by borrowing heavily from elements of its predecessors. However, what remains so amazing to me is the genius of The Little Mermaid. The songs by Alen Menken. The story by Musker and Clements. And, of course, the happy ending.
For me, and certainly many others, The Little Mermaid remains an essential piece of art and takes its proper place among the all-time classics of Disney’s “Golden Age of Animation”; Ariel deserves her throne next to Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White. But perhaps she and Sebastian and Triton deserve a little extra credit for ensuring the Disney Renaissance actually moved forward after The Great Mouse Detective.
But no matter the historical importance of the work, I’m thankful to have films like The Little Mermaid re-released, again; on a big screen. That way, I can relive some of those fond memories even as my children forge their own youthful remembrances.