ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Second Look: The Little Mermaid

Updated on October 28, 2015
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.


In 1989, Ron Clements and John Musker released the musical fantasy film, The Little Mermaid, based on the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. Starring Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, Ben Wright, Paddi Edwards, Edie McClurg, Kimmy Robertson, Caroline Vasicek, Will Ryan, Frank Welker and Rene Auberjonois, the film grossed $211.3 million at the box office. Credited with being the first film in the Disney Renaissance it won the Academy Awards for Best Song and Best Score and the Golden Globe awards for Best Song and Best Score.


Ariel, one of the daughters of the Sea King Triton, is fascinated by the human world while her father hates them. However, one night, she visits the surface and falls in love with a human named Prince Eric and after rescuing him during a storm, she is desperate to become a human herself.


There’s no doubt that The Little Mermaid is a beautifully animated film, exemplifying the animation prowess of the Disney animators. They also make a notable comparison between the undersea world and human worlds simply in terms of how they look. While the human world is still colorful and in no way drab, the colors are warmer and a bit darker. The warm colors even stay with human ships and other items that originated in the human world, such as the fork first found under the sea. Contrast those warm colors with the cool colors normally seen under the sea, which really all come out during the “Under the Sea” number. It’s an interesting comparison between the two worlds, helping portray the human world as a place that, while it isn’t necessarily dull, is more involved in mundane and everyday affairs. On the other hand, it shows the undersea world as one that’s more laid back and more involved in affairs of the arts. What’s more is that Triton’s palace and Ursula’s lair combine warm and cool, showing that the first one is hard at work in ruling the affairs of the seas and worrying about Ariel and the second is working and scheming to take it over.

The animation is combined with a story that may seem like an average Disney film in terms of the films produced in recent years. However, when it was released, the story was so groundbreaking in its merging of a fairytale with Broadway. Taking that into account, the merger is very well done considering that it birthed the first Disney Renaissance and all the films that came after it practically owe their existence to its success. What’s more is that the songs actually make sense in-universe as Sebastian was the court composer and Ariel herself is one of the singers.

But even with the superb animation and what the film did for those that came after, that doesn’t excuse it for having a terrible moral. To begin with, while Triton may be an intolerant racist towards humans that’s proven false by Ariel in the end, neither of them knew who was in the right based on their limited information, which was that they catch and ate fish. Now, Triton had bans on traveling to the surface and interacting with humans, but Ariel falls in love with one. For the sole reason of love, she abandons everything she knows and tosses aside her entire life for a guy. And though she already wanted to see the human world, and her falling in love was the push she needed to make the decision, her choices surpassed the already irresponsible character that Ariel had exhibited. But none of this is to say that teenage girl with no real life experience aren’t allowed to fall in love, it’s noting that throwing away one’s entire life and putting everything on the line and in one basket is an incredibly risky and irresponsible move that hardly every works out for the better.

Though falling in love with Eric may have been the final push, there was a lot of shoving from Ursula, displaying how emotional manipulation can really work on impressionable youths. Because that’s her whole standard operating procedure: catching people when they’re most prone to making rash decisions and push them into making those decisions. Yes, Ariel was being naïve and Ursula did clearly explain the deal, it was her manipulation of Ariel’s trusting nature that led to the deal’s acceptance. What Ursula’s offering are literal Faustian deals.

4 stars for The Little Mermaid

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)