Looking Back at a Disney Classic


Near the end of the 1980s, Disney began a resurgence in its animated movies. The movies released in this era, 1989 to 1998, are considered by many to be the best work Disney has made in its lifetime. The thing that spurred this renaissance was the movie The Little Mermaid, released in November of 1989. Does this film deserve to be the foundation of the renaissance? Or should the paradigms be shifted? Let’s find out. 

The Little Mermaid stars Ariel, a mermaid princess who desires more in her life. Ever since childhood, Ariel has been fascinated by the humans of the surface. She even collects human items that have either fallen into the ocean or sunk in ships. Eventually, she finds Ursula, an evil sea witch who promises to let Ariel visit the surface at a cost. Ariel agrees, and gains legs instead of a tail. However, these legs are gained at the cost of Ariel’s beautiful voice. 

The plot in this movie is pretty good. The concept of a mermaid falling for a human man comes from a story of the same name written by Hans Christian Andersen, a renowned fairy tale author of his time. However, the story was obviously amended to be more family friendly. All in all, the story Disney created still holds up thirty years later. So far, it’s easy to see why this movie was an instant classic.

The songs in this film are great as well. Since this began the era of catchy Disney music numbers, it only makes sense that this movie has some good ones. Part of Your World and Under the Sea are my favorite, since they quickly showcase the tonal range of the orchestra. While Part of Your World is more somber and contemplative, Under the Sea is snappier and more upbeat. This disparity shows the skills of the musicians.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to see why The Little Mermaid ended up spurring such an influential period in Disney’s history. It has good plot, characters, and songs, which encompasses exactly what a good animated Disney film should be. And although the original story had to be rewritten to be more child-friendly, the plot they produced ended up as an instant classic anyways.

Overall: 9/10

Categories: Entertainment, Opinion

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