The Little Mermaid gets the live action remake treatment.
So I went into this with pretty low expectations and thinking it wasn’t really going to be my sort of thing but I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I will preface this review by saying that I haven’t seen the animated original so I wasn’t attached to one version of this story.
I want to say right off the bat that Halle Bailey is a great Ariel and really helps the character to feel likeable and rounded in a live action format. On top of that she also has a very believable and strong romantic chemistry with the male lead, played by Jonah Hauer-King, which helps the film to really work as a date movie. Bailey of course also has a great singing voice and pulls off all the songs truly very well, or as well as can be done with the woeful new songs.
However, the strong cast doesn’t extend across the board Awkwafina is terribly miscast as Scuttle and has a groan inducing rap sequence that also doubles as one of the terrible new songs I mentioned earlier. It is such as a shame the film felt the need to introduce a few new songs as the old ones are still great and are what the audience want, but hey they have to have new songs to try and enter them into awards races later in the year. Awkwafina’s miscasting is somewhat offset by Daveed Diggs as Sebastian who is damn near perfect casting and who makes that Crab the stand out character of the whole film, bring on the Sebastian Disney + show I say.
A final point I want to flag up is that the effects and pacing of this film are both noticeably off and that on a technical level these things hold back the film. The underwater effects look bad and unfinished and I know Disney has bad relations with effect houses but they clearly needed to fix this if they want to improve their CGI, because at times the CGI hear was shocking, especially compared to what The Way of The Water was doing at the end of last year. Moreover, the extra story for Eric and a few other characters is nice but it really doesn’t need the film to be an extra half an hour longer than the original, at the length it is being shown at this film has a second act that drags by at a glacial pace.
Overall, a better live action remake than most of Disney’s others
The classic songs
The effects and pacing
The new songs
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