Ariel is the youngest daughters of King Tridon, King of the Sea. Ariel is not interested in living under sea her whole life, having taking peeks into the human world, she yearns to be part of that world which is forbidden by her father. Suddenly on a fateful day, Ariel saves a young man named Eric whom she falls in love with. Driven away by her father, Ariel resorts to get aid from the sea witch Ursula, who in turn grants Ariel her wish of becoming a human. Ariel is now living her dream, but at what cost?
Practically at the end of the 80s, The Little Mermaid made its theatrical debut in November of 1989. Since then, The Little Mermaid has enjoyed quite popularity and has become a Disney classic in every sense of the word. In many ways The Little Mermaid helped paved the way for the new era of animation that was to come in the 90s from Disney animation. With that being said revisiting this timeless classic once more after approximately 20 years definitely is like a trip down memory lane.
The Little Mermaid uses a very similar technique in the storytelling that has made other princess stories popular, but this film took a slightly different route by becoming more of a musical, which turned out to be an excellent choice. The movie is filled with excellent music and it fits the story quite well helping the story move along with ease. The story is quite simple, but it is filled with great characters. We meet Ariel who is courageous and defiant. Then we meet Eric, who in many ways is the clichéd handsome prince who comes to the rescue when the damsel is in distress. The theme is very similar to many Disney movies before this one. The characters start very strong, at least Ariel, and then they just seem to lose that same passion which they displayed earlier on. Of course, this doesn’t really ruin the overall storyline as it remains quite enjoyable all the way to the end.
There are many aspects of The Little Mermaid that still work quite well. Looking and analyzing different parts of the film, it easy to see the high level of details surrounding the picture. The level of animation is still very high. It is easy to admire what the world the artists have created. Looking at the restoration job, The Little Mermaid looks great and the studio managed to keep it as close as originally intended for viewing so there’s a sigh of relief on that end.
The Little Mermaid is not as old as some of the other Diamond Edition releases that we have received, so I’m a bit disappointed with the final product. In no way is it terrible, it’s good but not great, the bar set by Disney is definitely not met here. However, I will note that I appreciate the restoration work and the way the studio has handled the entire process.
The Little Mermaid features an MPEG4-AVC encode with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image is very consistent for the majority of the time and only really having some minor inconsistencies. For the most part the animation appears sharp and only lacks in a few scenes, especially the scene where the image is focused on Ursula after Ariel leaves her castle. Colors are very bright and vivid that they make the creatures and every surrounding look incredible. Even the background art looks excellent. The different techniques used to create the film actually translated properly to this release, so I did not detect any video anomalies like dirt or aliasing or let alone any banding.
The Little Mermaid Blu-ray release also features a new 3D version of the movie. The actual 3D effects are very minor along the duration of the film. However, the effects only really stood out in very few scenes since the depth between objects wasn’t entirely there. The effects really stood out with random actions like the bubbles and or the ships moving closer to the screen. I suppose we can only expect so much from a movie that’s over 2 decades old. The image itself is identical to that of the 2D version, a solid transfer overall.
The Little Mermaid arrives on Blu-ray with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. The track is actually quite good except that at times it just seems to lose focus. The dialogue is clean and crisp, but it does become a bit overwhelmed in various points of the film. Directionality is great, but it also slightly suffers from the design of the mix. The rears and surrounds often help create a great sound stage with the support they provide throughout the film, especially during the musical sequences. The LFE output is almost non-existent, it does provide some support but the channel not really utilize to its potential.
Deleted Character: Harold the Merman
Under the Scene: The Art of Live Action Reference
Part of Her World: Jodi Benson’s Voyage to New Fantasyland
Music & More
Disneypedia: Life Under the Sea
Behind the Ride That Almost Was
Under the Sea Adventure: A Virtual Ride Inspired by Disney Imagineers: Ride the Attraction
Music Video – Part of Your World by Carly Rae Jepsen
The Little Mermaid remains one of Disney’s great animated films and despite the few flaws of the film, it remains an excellent movie. The Little Mermaid looks and sounds great overall, it definitely could have been better, but at the end of the day this is possibly the best looking version of the film out on home entertainment. The release does pack a good amount of extras that were previously released on DVD, but it does also include a good amount of new things to check out. The Little Mermaid should already be in your collections if not then I highly recommended.