Disney’s live-action film The Little Mermaid has fetched USD 209 million worldwide within six days of its release, proving that a good film will always find takers, no matter how ferociously smear campaigns might try to trip it.
After anonymous online users bombarded IMDb with low ratings and negative reviews in orchestrated attacks to influence The Little Mermaid’s overall score, the popular film database introduced stricter measures to verify user ratings and filter out fraudulent or malicious entries.
At the centre of the hate campaign was Disney’s decision to cast American African actress-singer songwriter Halle Bailey as the red-haired Caucasian mermaid Ariel. And silencing naysayers, Bailey has delivered a mesmerising performance as the beloved Disney princess in the Rob Marshall-directed adaptation of the fairytale, which is striking a chord with viewers around the globe.
Bailey captures the character’s innocence, curiosity and grit with grace, making the role her own while honouring the spirit of the animated Ariel. Her powerful voice brings the 1989 animated film’s iconic musical numbers to life, and her chemistry with the rest of the cast members adds depth to the emotional core of the story.
Among the supporting cast, Melissa McCarthy stands out as the wicked sea witch Ursula, infusing the character with equal parts of charm and menace and giving us some of the film’s most memorable scenes. Jacob Tremblay brings innocence and humour to Ariel’s loyal fish friend Flounder, while Awkwafina’s portrayal of Scuttle the seagull adds a comedic touch that will leave you chuckling. Daveed Diggs is also at his witty best as the crab Sebastian.
Visually, The Little Mermaid is a feast for the eyes. Dion Beebe’s cinematography makes the underwater sequences breathtaking. The intricate costume and set designs further enhance the film’s enchanting atmosphere, capturing the whimsical beauty of the oceanic kingdom.
The reworked music, originally composed by the legendary Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda for the animated film, delivers too. The songs, including the iconic Part of Your World and the uplifting Kiss the Girl, are not only catchy but also serve to advance the plot and reveal the emotions of the characters.
The only downside is the film’s pacing. The story feels sluggish at times, especially towards the beginning. But if you can overlook this aspect, The Little Mermaid promises a magical underwater trip on the timeless themes of love, sacrifice and the importance of staying true to oneself.