The Little Mermaid (Vietnamese title: Mermaid) is the latest project in Disney’s live-action plan to adapt animated classics. The script is inspired by the fairy tale of the same name by author Hans Christian Andersen. Before the movie was released, the crew was controversial when choosing the black star Halle Bailey for the main role, with a different appearance of white skin and red hair like the cartoon version. Some members of the production team hit back at the criticism, calling the comments racist.
Respect the original, be creative
Comparing the script, the two Disney movie versions do not have much difference in content. The main details in the story line are still kept intact. The crew even tried to recreate many of the classic scenes of the animated version to adapt to live. This direction partly helps the film keep the good points of the old part, evoking a lot of nostalgia for the audience.
The details that are changed are only the appearance, the personality of some characters and the way they solve problems when faced with challenges. Halle Bailey’s Ariel is still a stubborn, curious and eager princess to learn about the human world despite her father’s prohibition. However, the character is built somewhat modern, autonomous and sometimes has smarter ways of handling situations than the animated version. Prince Eric retains his pompous, friendly personality. He likes to go here and there to learn about new cultures but is forbidden by his mother because of the dangerous blue sea.
The team cleverly inserted new things in the love between Ariel and Eric, from the story of “love at first sight” in the animated version to two people with similar souls, forbidden by their families. fulfill your own dreams. What they have in common is that they both admire each other’s cultures and do not believe in false rumors. That thought gradually gave rise to admiration, sympathy, love and eventually became the bridge that brought the two worlds together.
Ethnic factors are explained quickly and reasonably by the crew from the beginning of the film. In the fantasy world of The Little MermaidAriel is one of the daughters from the seven oceans under the reign of King Triton. The undersea kingdom is also more diverse, with all sorts of characters from different backgrounds. Director Rob Marshall like turning the film into a movie version of the series Bridgertonabout a fantasy world with almost no definition or prejudice about skin color.
Music is also the difference of the live-action part compared to the old version. The crew increased the duration by nearly 50 minutes, adding more segments for the characters’ dancing and singing parts. Four new songs were added to the film, making the music more diverse in genres than before. The rapping of Scuttle the sea eagle and Sebastian the crab is the most interesting part of Mermaid.
The quality has not surpassed the animated version
Many viewers have expressed frustration with Disney’s live-action remakes. Mermaid can be considered as one of the best projects done by the Rat house in this area. In terms of content, the main details and knots of The Little Mermaid are taken from the original. This makes the film not create many surprises for the old audience who have seen the animation part.
Actor’s acting is always a headache for live-action crews. The stars in the film try to bring the expressions of the cartoon characters to the screen. However, this expression feels very dramatic and unnatural. The dialogue is also not changed much, making many segments of the audience feel more like watching a musical than a movie.
The interactions between the actors have not yet created the necessary “chemical reactions”. Halle Bailey is the person with the most acting land in the movie. The actress performed well the task assigned by the director and screenwriter. However, she has difficulty harmonizing with surrounding characters such as Prince Eric, King Triton’s father.
One factor that makes Disney’s animated films successful are anthropomorphized animal characters with interesting personalities. LIVE Mermaid, the audience is reunited with the funny crab Sebastian, the shy fish friend Flounder. Scuttle sea osprey is sex changed into female, chitpy and also “funky” than the old version.
Although the personalities of these supporting characters are built quite well, Disney still has a hard time bringing their aura from the animated version to live-action. The expressions of the animals in the film are quite stiff and lifeless. Especially in the case of the Flounder fish. The character is almost lifeless in every movie situation with the emotionless face of the fish.
This problem has existed in many recent remake projects of the Mouse family such as the lions in The Lion King or Iago parrot in Aladdin. When making Mulan, the crew even removed the dragon character Mushu – the female lead’s effective assistant – in the live-action version.
For audiences who don’t put a lot of emphasis on creating characters close to the original, The Little Mermaid is generally a good remake of Disney. The film will hardly replace the old animated version but offers an interesting spiritual food for a new generation of viewers. However, many people may still question why the studio still wants to remake the classics despite not being able to surpass the quality of the old part.
Image source: Disney