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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Little Mermaid (1989)



Reviews and Comments

With The Little Mermaid, a near-lost art was revived. Disney studios produced some good animated features after Walt Disney's death in 1966, but not truly great ones. The Little Mermaid marked a return to the greatness that Disney was once noted for and increased the frequency of their production of such films to boot. This film, loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, is about Ariel, a mermaid who longs to interact with the world on land and a prince who comes in to brief contact with her, falling in love on the spot. Her father is fearful for Ariel and has Sebastian, the famous Jamaican crab, look after her. Sebastian is blessed with not only a host of memorable lines but the two best songs, one a toe-tapping good time and the other a beautiful melodious love song. Plotwise, the story is a little contrived, but this is a fairy tale after all -- and the characters, dialogue, and songs couldn't be more fun. The music, in fact, is arguably the most fun score Disney has ever come up with.