The Little Mermaid has finally arrived in cinemas accompanied by the trail of criticisms that preceded it from the choice of the cast, to the release of the trailer up to the official debut. The reasons for such a stir are known to all and therefore to the choice of actress Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel. Although the choice is very debatable due to various reasons that we will address in this article, the film is certainly above expectations, but it could have been so much better if only he hadn’t fallen into the usual cauldron of respectability and excessive and superfluous messages of inclusiveness.
When too much sucksis a concept that director Rob Marshall (also at the helm of Pirates of the Caribbean) seems not to have fully conceived, mixing a texture perfectly in line with the cartoon to a series of messages that only end up annoying the viewer.
The Little Mermaid at the center of the controversy
Let’s start from the beginning.
The controversy over this new film based on one of the most loved animated cartoons ever began when the cast was announced. Halle Bailey had been chosen as the protagonist and therefore in the role of Ariel, but nobody cared about the rest of the cast. From that moment on, the web and especially social networks have been carpeted from protest videosto such an extent that Disney has begun to relaunch videos that have gone viral, in which black girls cried in front of the screen as they recognized themselves in the skin color of the young mermaid.
Both fronts brought more or less valid motivations, on the one hand an audience that fails to identify with a construct built over time and on the other, a faction that feels its origins embodied by a much-loved cartoon. But what’s the point? That the kids don’t give a damn.
During the vision, the only thing on which we do not dwell in the slightest is the color of Ariel’s skin, let alone children. Rob Marshall understood this right away, however getting carried away a little too much with other questionable choices.
When the message is too forced
Therefore, the Little Mermaid does not have pale white skin or fiery red hair, but it takes about 3 seconds to forget the original icon from which the story is based and continue watching a film that has very different problems.
There are other choices that I haven’t fully understood. I’m not talking about Ariel’s sisters all of different ethnic groups, obviously as an adult I asked myself the question, but also in this case I chose to go beyond. I also talk about the origins of Prince Eric.
In choosing to distort the characteristics of ALL the characters in the story, it all ended up feeling too forced. Not to mention the part of rap dialogue between Sebastian and Scuttle, totally out of context.
The Little Mermaid is not the problem
Apart from these reflections, necessary in my opinion, the film has many other problems. As a cartoon lover I recognized the same words and sometimes even the same expressions of the characters. The music is adapted very well but on the computer graphics of the animals I have some notes to make (here you can find the worst cartoons ever).
The interpreters of the film have done months and months of hard physical training to be able to best recreate the movements “under the sea”, and this work can be seen, even if the most attentive eye can still see some little problems in the union some real bodies with tails, but again, surely the children will not have even noticed. The real problem is the animals. The crab Sebastian, the fish Flouder and the seagull Scuttle they are nothing short of disturbing. We’ve already gone through it with the Lion King, when CGI applied to a live action that focused on the photorealistic principle and failed miserably.
Throughout the vision we cannot identify those characters who seem almost embalmed as really real, giving us an uncanny valley effect, or when our brain identifies them as human, but not too human, the result: disturbing. On the contrary, Ursula’s character is built very well and is practically identical to that of the cartoon.
In the cast we find many well-known faces. Obviously, a note of merit goes to the talented Halle Bailey and her voice (I suggest you listen to it also in the original language), which holds the reins of the film perfectly aided by co-star Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women) perfect in the role of Prince Eric.
We also find Javier Bardem in the role of King Triton, the talented Melissa McCarthy in the role of Ursula and directly from Bridgerton Simone Ashley in the role of Ariel’s sister.
To give voices in the Italian version instead we find in the role of the little mermaid both Yana_C and Sara Labidi (voice actress) while Simona Paticucci (actress, singer, voice actress and dubbing teacher) plays Ursula. Mahmood is instead Sebastian, and also interprets the songs Under the sea, Kiss her and The big scoop .
What works in The Little Mermaid
Obviously the movie it’s not a flop and there are several interesting points. The hidden meanings in the chromatic choices are not very evident to the eyes of the little ones but equally present. The clear separation between the surface and the marine world are made evident by the clear distinction between the two environments, with a more realistic top and a submerged almost like an animated cartoon.
In short The little Mermaid it is yet another operation that was only half successful. As often happens, however, many defects go unnoticed covered by useless criticism probably aimed at distracting the viewer from what we already know would have flopped from the start. The only clear observation is that the children liked it, and in the end that’s okay.