The film follows the youngest of King Triton’s daughters, Ariel (Halle Bailey) a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. Longing to find out more about the world beyond the sea, Ariel visits the surface and falls for the dashing Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King). Following her heart, she makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to experience life on land.
In the much-anticipated live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid,” Halle Bailey shines as Ariel, delivering a charming, sweet, and overall lovely performance. She effortlessly embodies the role and carries Ariel’s spirit throughout the film. While the movie isn’t perfect, its changes to the original story are commendable, breathing new life into the beloved tale.
In the role of Prince Eric, Jonah Hauer-King adds depth and emotion, transforming a potentially one-dimensional character. Through his soulful performance and the standout song “Wild Uncharted Waters,” Hauer-King enables viewers to truly engage with Eric’s journey, solidifying his position as one of the industry’s most captivating rising stars.
One of the film’s undeniable strengths lies in its stunning undersea visuals. The underwater world is brought to life with amazing detail, capturing the imagination and immersing viewers in a visually captivating experience. Additionally, the casting is (mostly) spot-on, with actors who bring their characters to life and add depth to the story.
However, despite these positive aspects, “The Little Mermaid” adds very little value to the already charming original animated tale. It falls short of capturing the soul and heart of the original, leaving some fans longing for the magic they remember. Yet, amidst its missteps, the film still manages to offer glimpses of greatness that outweigh its flaws.
For fans of classic Disney magic, “The Little Mermaid” brings a sense of nostalgia that hasn’t been felt in a while. It is a delightful and lovingly crafted movie, which surprises with its soulful moments. Anchoring the film is Halle Bailey’s powerful and endlessly charismatic performance as Ariel. She shines brightly, delivering one of the best performances ever seen in a Disney live-action adaptation.
In summary, “The Little Mermaid” (2023) presents a solid remake that both kids and older audiences can enjoy. While it may not reach the depths of the original’s soul, it manages to offer an enchanting experience with its wonderful lead performance, beautiful visuals, and well-executed casting.
Cast: Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Noma Dumezweni as Carlotta, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula.
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