In 1989, Disney introduced the world to Princess Ariel- a beautiful, young mermaid who longed to be part of the human world. 30 years later for it’s anniversary, Disney released the movie once again, this time combining it with live-action television special, The Little Mermaid Live!
While trying to cast some nostalgia on the now grown-up Millennials, Disney totally missed the mark with it’s latest remake. The mix of live action and cartoon seemed very disjointed with the blatant continuity errors, making it feel that there were two shows from two different worlds going on. This was made more obvious by the contrived way which the show transitioned between its live aspects and the 1989 movie.
While a fully live show does exist for Hollywood, the producers gave a half-hearted attempt at a remake; Leaving much to it’s all star cast is greatly underutilized. With a two-hour run time, Disney spent more time replaying it’s 1989 original than actually having a live show. Not to mention the audience was constantly interrupted with a text telling you how much longer until the stage production parts start.
Disney would have done better with filming the new show completely from the script with the all star cast. Not even Big star names such as John Stamos, Queen Latifah and Shaggy could help this flop of a show. Their performances were all half-hearted and lacking the Disney magic of the original movie. Shaggy’s performance of both “Under The Sea” and "Kiss The Girl" left the long-time artist looking like a crab on a chopping block. Along with John Stamos breaking character to correct himself after saying the wrong name, the acting was overall very disappointing.
The costumes looked like they came out of a high-school play, including a crab costume which consisted of red pants and shirt and an octopus costume that could detach it’s legs to use as props to throw at other characters. With all the awkwardness of a newly born mermaid, the show floundered completely with its portrayal of the Disney classic. Coming out more as the actors just singing their favorite parts rather than playing an actual role. This show was no more a live-action show than mermaids can walk on land without use of magic. While there were some highlights, mainly the performance of Queen Latifah in "Poor Unfortunate Souls," it was sorely drowned out by the show’s extreme awkwardness. Disney fans began diving into Twitter to share their disappointment on the show, feeling as if they had been just been tricked by Ursula herself.
While it is sad when most of the highlights of a live action show come from the replaying of the movie, what really hits home is Disney’s utter disrespect of the source material and its longtime fans. Hopefully, Disney will learn from its mistakes and do better with its live action version of Lady and the Tramp coming out, or perhaps stop ruining peoples childhoods and make some new content.
Eastern Echo Grade: F
The show should be thrown to the bottom of the sea.