Though hand-drawn animation may not be as common in movies as it once was before the days of Pixar, it is still a process that anyone can appreciate. And Disney’s The Little Mermaid reminds us about how the medium, along with a wonderful story, can work together in tandem to deliver a very entertaining effort.
As one of the films that helped launch the Disney Renaissance, 1989’s The Little Mermaid still has a story that resonates with its young audience today about a free-spirited young mermaid who wants to break free from her father, King Trident. Though he wants the best for her, she finds herself wanting more than being under the sea as she falls in love with Prince Eric, a dashing young human mariner.
In an attempt to be the one with she loves, Ariel signs a contract with Ursula, an evil sea witch, and in exchange for her voice, she is able to walk amongst the surface dwellers and has only 72 hours to get Eric to kiss her so she will regain her voice and make the change permanent. Check out the full review of the newly released 4k Ultra HD edition here below.
Now, it’s been a while since I’ve seen The Little Mermaid, but it is still a beautiful film filled with gorgeous animation and terrific songs from Alan Menken. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (who went on to direct Aladdin, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog, and Moana), the story celebrates the strong, independent, and sometimes rebellious, young girl, which is a nice change of pace for some of the Disney princesses who came before Ariel. Along with the great music from the iconic Alan Menken, the animation is nearly flawless. It’s almost hard to believe that there is such an understanding of how lights and shadows work in a film that spends a good amount of time underwater.
Though it has taken some liberties from the Hans Christian Andersen source material, there is no doubt that The Little Mermaid has carved a little place in animation history. Not only did it win a number of Oscar-accolades, but it has maintain a firm place within the Disney pantheon. There are rides dedicated to the title in their theme parks. The character can be seen in a number of video games like Kingdom Hearts. And Jodi Benson, who voices Ariel, brought back the character for a terrific all Disney princess cameo appearance in Ralph Breaks the Internet.
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL
– A pretty standard feature when it comes to films like these.
Alan Menken & the Leading Ladies Song
– In this 15-minute feature, Jodi Benson, the original singing and speaking voice for Ariel, joins Alan Menken, one of the composers for the film, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Little Mermaid. Joining them are Paige O’Hara (Belle), Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas Singing Voice), Lillias White (Calliope), and Donna Murphy (Mother Gothel) to talk about working on their respective projects and recall some of the memories of musically creating their characters with Menken. The discussions also explore what it means to be part of the Disney Princess/leading lady legacy and create new memories as they sing with Menken around a baby grand piano.
“What I Want From You”¦Is YOUR VOICE”
– Get to know what the recording process looks like in this behind-the-scenes look at the cast of The Little Mermaid recording their lines. See what it looks like to record these lines multiple times to get it just right, how some of the actors approach these sessions, and some of the tips the directors gave to the actors to help elevate the role.
Stories From Walt’s Office – Gadgets & Gizmos
– In the film, Ariel collects a number of gizmos and gadgets that are completely foreign to her but relatively simple to us. And like Ariel, Walt Disney was a collector of many different things from miniatures to early mechanical characters that inspired the invention of audio-animatronics. This feature takes a look at all of his collections from miniatures to technological innovations that helped pave the way to a new age in film.
– In this feature, Ruby Rose Turner and Olivia Sanabia from the Disney Channel Original Series Coop and Cami Ask the World give their viewers some interesting factoids and trivia about The Little Mermaid. Some things you may have known and some things you may only just realize now. All of it is done with this colorful bubble gum pop social media style delivery where it uses hashtags and memes.
A Cappella “Part of Your World” Music Video
– It’s literally an a cappella version of “Part Of Your World.” So if ensemble singing is your thing, then this feature will be of interest to you.
In addition to the aforementioned bonus features, there is also the classic bonus features reformatted to fit the 4K edition, which include a look at Deleted Character: Harold The Merman, Under The Scene: The Art Of Live Action Reference, Howard’s Lecture, and Audio Commentary With Ron Clements, John Musker and Alan Menken.
For those who love the digital, there’s “Part of Your World” A 30-Year Retrospective that takes a look at the impact of the song since it was first released 30 years ago. Menken and Benson discuss the importance of the song. There’s also over 3 additional hours of previously released classic bonus features including deleted scenes, Easter eggs, music videos, and more!