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The Little Mermaid (PG) ★★★

By July 4, 2023July 20th, 2023Backstage Pass

Disney’s remake of the classic animated 1989 movie “The Little Mermaid” is here with live-action characters and Ariel, Halle Bailey as the star. She carries the film despite the overlong runtime as her sweet, strong voice is the key to uplifting the live action amid the overstuffed script and elongated runtime.

Director Rob Marshall’s casting of the voices of Daveed Diggs as Sebastian the crab and Awkwafina as Scuttle the seagull is spot-on! They are Ariel’s protectors in the human world and help her navigate in times of trouble. I especially enjoyed all of the scenes with the trio.

The great news about “The Little Mermaid” is that a star has been born in Halle Bailey’s performance, and the lovely singing voice carries the film along with the supporting cast. Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula is fantastic. However, I would caution parents to bring smaller children as the movie to way too long and dark at times. There’s electric shock by eels that try to harm Ariel; she’s bothered more by their cuffing her writs so she can’t swim. Nonetheless, King Triton doesn’t fair as well with the eels; their eclectic shocks explode into a very frightening fire scene near the end of the movie.

Unfortunately, the nearly one-hour longer runtime than the original doesn’t make the film better and, unfortunately, also makes it harder for smaller kids to view the entirety. I did enjoy the musical score, along with all of the fun-filled songs by the cast. Halle Bailey is exceptional in the role and could be nominated for an Oscar.

Caroline Nolda, and mom, Erica. June 11, 2023

Update: I bought my four-year-old granddaughter to see the movie and she loved it. Although her mom thought some of it was a little intense and the long run-time caused her to want to leave the theater a few times. There were many kids that went back and forth from the theater to the drinking fountains, etc.

Sarah Knight Adamson