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Little mermaid review

Photo Courtesy of IMBD / Halle Bailey plays Ariel in Disney's live action "The Little Mermaid."

Review: ’The Little Mermaid’ swims to success

Summertime fun for a lot of families consists of a visit to the nearest movie theater. This summer, there is already some new exciting family entertainment to enjoy, one of which being the long-awaited live action remake of Disney’s iconic 1989 cartoon, “The Little Mermaid” released on May 26.

The budget was a whopping $250 million, including Ariel's apparent $150,000 hair style. Halle Bailey, the actress behind Ariel, sat for 12-14 hours while a hairstylist wrapped every loc. On average, a hairstyle like locs with extensions costs anywhere from $200-$900, however because the style was taken out and put back in multiple times, the price increased, according to Variety.

The new version was quite similar to the original version – down to the songs, mannerisms and even some of the lines. It was clear that the plan was to make the original movie come to life and not drastically change anything about the plot.

The youngest of King Triton’s many daughters, Ariel, remains the beautiful and adventurous mermaid we all know – wishing to know more about the forbidden things beyond the sea. Viewers get to experience Ariel falling in love with prince Eric and giving up her voice for a life on land all over again.

Bailey did a tremendous job of capturing the young and fighting spirit of the original character. Bailey is kind, poised and also strong minded; while successfully channeling the original, she still found ways to be true to herself. 

Her makeup and fins were curated beautifully, but I do find it odd that she wears the same dress everyday as a human, except for at the end of the film when she changes into a pink dress and sails off toward adventure.

It is exciting for black children to see someone with their skin on the big screen and playing a character we know all too well. The movie had diversity and shared Caribbean culture.

Critics of the movie have said that Disney missed an opportunity to educate children on the slavery that occurred in the Caribbean during the movie's set time era, but I do think that would have been difficult to portray without taking away the essence of the original.

As for the other mermaids in the movie, the makeup was overstated. The eyeshadow overpowered their faces and the color was random. The patterns also felt busy. The design of the fins missed the mark for me.

Though it was a kids movie, the color and design choices for Ariel’s sisters were overly vibrant and lacked a sense of realisticness that did not match the beautiful colors of the sea.

The movie captured Ursula’s original makeup perfectly. The only issue was the lighting of the scene where she turns into a giant squid. It was meant to be dark and eerie, however it was hard to see and the scene was rushed.

It was shocking to see Melissa McCarthy take on a villainous role considering the comedian she is, but she displayed the perfect combination of evil and humor. It was a pleasant surprise to see her range of acting skills. Let’s just say McCarthy and Bailey carried the movie on their backs. 

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Sebastian the crab played by Daveed Diggs and Scuttle played by Awkawfina brought comedic enjoyment to the movie. While remaining recognizable as the characters we grew up with, both Awkawfina and Diggs gave a new and fun energy to their performance.

Sebastian smashed the song “Kiss the Girl” and enhanced the original. Diggs added so much style and his talent is unbelievable. The added parts from Scuttle were also something we did not hear in the original. It was more innovative and made into an important moment for Ariel and Eric.

The scene also had beautiful imagery that can’t be captured by a cartoon. Other songs in the movie were done exactly like the movie but were exceptional. Bailey made “Part of Your World” an anthem once again.

Disney has made a handful of live action remakes like “The Lion King,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Beauty and the Beast.” They also have so much more to come in the future, although these movies could never outdo the CGI abilities of Disney’s newest “Avatar” film.

The underwater scenes were okay, but nothing amazing. Besides a few kinks in the costuming and imagery, the movie was enjoyable.

Miyawni Curtis is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @MiyawniCurtis

Miyawni Curtis

 Miyawni Curtis is a senior reporter at the Daily Lobo and served as the Summer 2023 news editor. She can be contacted on Twitter @MiyawniCurtis 

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