The Little Mermaid proves to be a stronger entry in a recent string of live-action remakes, but still fails to capture the original magic.

by Gordon Shelly

Let’s call this what this is — another unnecessary remake to appeal to a built-in audience and make gobs of cash!

The 2023 live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” is a mixed bag that will leave audiences with conflicting feelings. While it boasts impressive visual effects and a talented cast, the film fails to fully capture the magic and charm of the beloved animated classic.

While not living up to the original animated classic, it is still a far better movie than the remake of “The Lion King,” which was essentially unwatchable. While heavily based in CGI, this still feels like a live action movie, whereas, the “The Lion King” felt like a lesser animated film.

One of the standout aspects of the movie is the stunning visuals. The underwater sequences are beautifully rendered, with vibrant colors and breathtaking underwater landscapes. The costume and set design are also commendable, capturing the whimsical essence of the original animated film. The use of CGI to bring the mermaid world to life is seamless and adds a sense of wonder to the film.

The cast, led by a talented ensemble, delivers solid performances. Halle Bailey shines as Ariel, capturing the character’s curiosity and longing for a life beyond the ocean. Her singing abilities are impressive, and she brings a fresh and contemporary energy to the role. The supporting cast, including Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Javier Bardem as King Triton, also give commendable performances, bringing their own unique interpretations to their respective characters.

The plot, while staying true to the original movie, feels rushed and lacks the depth and emotional resonance of the animated original. Some key moments and character arcs are glossed over, leaving the audience wanting more. The pacing is uneven, with certain scenes dragging on while others feel rushed and underdeveloped.

The musical numbers, while visually appealing, don’t always hit the mark. The iconic songs from the original film are present, but some of the new additions feel forgettable and fail to leave a lasting impact. The choreography, while energetic, lacks the precision and finesse of other musical adaptations.

Another drawback of the film is the lack of chemistry between the characters. The relationships, particularly the romantic connection between Ariel and Prince Eric, feel forced and lack the genuine emotion that is crucial to the story. The interactions between the characters often come off as contrived and lack the depth and nuance necessary to fully engage the audience.

Overall, the 2023 live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” is a visually appealing but ultimately mediocre film. While it has its moments of charm and the cast delivers solid performances, but it does not reach the heights of the animated classic. It is an enjoyable watch for fans of the original, but it fails to fully capture the enchantment and emotional resonance that made the animated film so beloved.

Gordo’s Grade: B-