A to Z Challenge – The Little Mermaid

Little Mermaid - Poster 2The Little Mermaid

1989

Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker

Quick synopsis… Ariel, the fun-loving and mischievous mermaid, is enchanted with all things human. Disregarding her father’s order to stay away from the world above the sea, she strikes a bargain with a devious sea witch to trade her beautiful voice for legs. But can she also win a prince’s heart?

  • The movie that kicked off the Disney Renaissance.
  • Very loosely based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson and Disney-fied in the best possible way.
  • Before we go under the sea, we’re first introduced to Prince Eric, who is clueless about the fact that sailors believe the mer-people exist.
  • You’d think a guy with a castle by the sea would be a little more knowledgeable about the mythology of the ocean.
  • Meanwhile, in a mer-kingdom run by a mer-king named Triton, there’s a big concert happening.
  • Sebastian, the crabby court composer, is using this opportunity to introduce the king’s youngest (of seven) daughter, Ariel.
  • Apparently, she has the most lovely of voices.
  • But she’s not there.
  • See… Ariel has a bit of a problem.
  • She’s a hoarder.
  • And she’s obsessed with all things human.
  • So she’s out with her friend Flounder exploring wrecked ships.
  • She’s excited when she comes across an old fork and a pipe.
  • Because they don’t have silverware as merfolk?
  • They have hands… do they eat with their hands?
  • No utensils?
  • Anyway… I get why the pipe isn’t a thing underwater.
  • Not like you can light up and smoke when you’re 20,000 leagues under the sea.
  • So Ariel has another friend, Scuttle, who is an idiot seagull.
  • But to her, she’s the expert on all things human.
  • He calls the fork a “dinglehopper,” used for brushing hair.
  • He calls the pipe a “snarfblatt,” used for making music.
  • Idiot.
  • The mention of music, however, reminds Ariel about the concert and she gets back just in time to get yelled at by her father.
  • Things get worse when Flounder lets it slip that they went to the surface.
  • Triton is extremely distrustful of humans and is a very “my way or the highway” kind of dad.
  • So Ariel then retreats to her fortress of solitude where it becomes very clear that she is, in fact, a hoarder.
  • It’s a problem and I think Sebastian is right in staging an intervention a little later.
  • Anyway… this is where it’s okay for us to all start singing along.
  • Because Ariel wants to be where the people are.
  • Anyone out there identify with that right now?
  • I’m an introvert… so I’m still good with the shut-in lifestyle.
  • But I’m sure the time will come when I’ll want to see faces outside of the screen.
  • And while Ariel is singing, can I make an observation?
  • Of course I can, this is my blog… I can do whatever I want.
  • Ariel places her dinglehopper (the fork) in the middle of a candelabra, where a spoon and knife already reside on either side.
  • So, I have to ask… does Ariel actually know that the fork goes with the knife and spoon?
  • Or did Scuttle coincidentally incorrectly identify the knife and spoon as other hair styling accessories?
  • Who needs 20 thingamabobs?
  • Really, Ariel, it’s a problem.
  • Did you know this song was very nearly cut from the movie?
  • Would’ve been a huge mistake… but what if we’d never known “Part of Your World” ever existed?
  • After Ariel finishes her anthem, Sebastian accidentally storms in and they have to convince him not to tell the king.
  • Then Ariel is distracted by fireworks above the surface.
  • Prince Eric’s ship is celebrating his birthday.
  • Ariel’s got some strong arms… climbing up the side of the ship without the use of legs.
  • She has the typical Disney princess love at first sight moment when she sees Eric playing a modified snarfblatt.
  • Why would Grimsby present Eric with a marble statue at sea?
  • I guess if they picked it up wherever they’re coming from… but don’t they have any decent sculptors in Eric’s kingdom?
  • Or would that be a principality?
  • Eric is a prince and there’s no mention of a king…
  • But they do refer to it as a kingdom…
  • I’m thinking about it too much.
  • Anyway… hurricane… shipwreck… blah blah blah.
  • Ariel saves Eric from drowning and sings to him as he regains consciousness on the beach.
  • So now Eric is obsessed with finding this girl with the most beautiful voice he’s ever heard.
  • And Ariel is convinced that she’s in love with a human.
  • Ariel’s sisters pick up on the youngest’s lovesickness and they clue in Triton to that fact.
  • And since Triton has had Sebastian tailing Ariel all this time, he tries to find out what lucky merman Ariel is in love with.
  • But that’s not until after we get to experience “Under the Sea.”
  • Is it possible to sing this song without at least attempting Sebastian’s Jamaican accent?
  • Sebastian, in his anxiety-riddled state, is convinced that Triton knows all about Ariel’s encounter with the surface world.
  • And that’s when he spills the whole thing.
  • Including Ariel’s hideaway.
  • By the way… how on earth did Flounder manage to get that statue of Eric into her little treasure trove?
  • There’s no opening big enough… and even if there was, the thing’s gotta weigh a ton.
  • But then again, this is a story about half human, half fish people who breathe and talk underwater.
  • Suspension of belief is key.
  • Triton shows up and is kinda pissed.
  • In his anger, he destroys everything in Ariel’s collection.
  • Kind of an overreaction… sure.
  • But then Ariel overreacts by going to make a deal with the sea witch, Ursula.
  • In a foolish one-sided deal, Ariel trades her greatest asset, her voice, for a pair of legs, so she can be human and have a shot at her prince.
  • She then has three days to make the prince fall in love with her and kiss her before that last sunset or else she’ll transform into some hideous seaweed person that lives at Ursula’s place.
  • Not sure how Ursula gains anything from keeping former merpeople like that.
  • But her plan here is to somehow get to Triton… trade Ariel for the king.
  • We’ll get to that.
  • Y’all, I know I’ve pointed this out in previous blog posts… but how is any of this legal?
  • Ariel is 16 years old and cannot legally sign a contract without parental consent, right?
  • I’m no expert on contract law… or maritime law… but I just don’t think it would legally binding.
  • Ursula’s song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls” might be one of the best villain songs out there.
  • Next to “Be Prepared” maybe.
  • Anyway… with this all or nothing deal that Ursula’s making, it’s all in her favor.
  • Ariel doesn’t get the Prince to kiss her, she becomes seaweed.
  • But if Ariel does get Eric to kiss her, she stays human permanently, but nothing is mentioned about getting her voice back.
  • I think, to make it fair, Ariel should get her voice back if Eric manages to kiss her in time.
  • Especially if she’s becoming a vegetable if she loses.
  • So Ariel turns into a human.
  • Good thing Flounder and Sebastian followed her and can quickly get her to the surface.
  • Because, apparently, an unmentioned part of the deal for legs is that they came with human lungs, too.
  • I’m sure Ursula would have been content to let Ariel drown in her lair.
  • Max leads Eric to where Ariel is on the beach.
  • It’s clear that this is the girl he’s been looking for.
  • But since Ariel’s not able to speak, then she can’t be the one.
  • Because people don’t lose their voices after traumatic events like the alleged shipwreck that they think Ariel has survived.
  • “Les poissons, les poissons, hee hee hee, ha ha ha…”
  • Meanwhile, under the sea, Triton is feeling all the remorse.
  • Maybe if you’d learn to control your temper, your little mermaid wouldn’t have swum away.
  • Eric takes Ariel on a tour of the kingdom.
  • Mufasa had it easy… just go to the top of Pride Rock and point out everything the light touches.
  • Instead, this tour leads to a canoe ride in a… swamp?
  • Super romantic…
  • Is it possible to sing along with “Kiss the Girl” without at least attempting Sebastian’s Jamaican accent?
  • Ursula’s eels spoil the moment and the witch decides to take matters into her own hands.
  • I love that Grimsby advises Eric to stop thinking about this “dream girl” of his and focus on one that’s actually real, pointing up to Ariel’s window in the castle.
  • “Oh, you mean the girl combing her hair with a fork? Yeah, she’s a real catch!”
  • Just then, Eric hears his dream girl’s voice coming from the transformed Ursula.
  • The next morning, Scuttle flies in with the news that Eric’s getting married.
  • Of course, it must be Ariel, right?
  • But she runs downstairs in time to see Eric, arms linked with some Vanessa chick who has clearly used Ariel’s voice to seduce the prince.
  • They don’t invite Ariel to the wedding?
  • I mean, I know she’s only been hanging around the palace for a couple of days, but come on.
  • Scuttle also gets to deliver the news that the bride is actually Ursula.
  • The plan is to have the seagull stall the wedding.
  • I wouldn’t so much be worried about the wedding… you gotta find a way to stall the rotation of the earth.
  • That sun’s gonna set whether Eric says I do or not.
  • Just before the sun sets, Ursula’s nautilus shell containing Ariel’s voice shatters, releasing the voice.
  • But their kiss is just after the sun sinks behind the horizon.
  • Too late…
  • Triton confronts Ursula… Ariel’s apologizing… “I didn’t mean to! I didn’t know!”
  • Please, Ariel… You knew exactly what you were doing.
  • But this is why minors should not be signing contracts without parental consent!
  • Just when it looks like Ursula’s won, Eric and Ariel join forces and kill her because true love conquers all.
  • Do you mean to tell me that Triton had the power to give Ariel legs and a killer dress this entire time?
  • And she’d have been able to keep her voice, too.

A to Z Challenge - LThanks for tuning in to Day Twelve of the 2020 A to Z Challenge! If you like Disney movies, then stick with me for the rest of the month. I’ll be doing a movie beginning with each letter of the alphabet each day (except Sundays) all month. And I’ll try to give hints about the next day’s movie in case you want to take a guess in the comments.

Clues for tomorrow’s movie are that it begins with an M and it’s a Disney movie. Just kidding… Y’all tired of that joke yet? Anyway, tomorrow’s movie is another animated movie. But this one is much more recent and includes Disney’s newest princess. Any guesses?

9 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge – The Little Mermaid

  1. Pingback: A to Z Challenge – WALL-E | The Confusing Middle

  2. Pingback: A to Z Challenge 2020 – Reflection | The Confusing Middle

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