The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
While I’m sure Anya would be satisified watching the same DVD or TV episode over and over and over, I have my limit so I’m always looking for sequels or new episodes of her favorite characters. The new Little Mermaid straight-to-DVD fits this need to a tee!
Since her life as a mermaid “under the sea” is more presumably interesting than another princess story, the follow-up to the original Little Mermaid movie is actually a prequel- The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning is the story of a younger Ariel in a time when music was banned from Atlantica when her mother died. Torn between family duty and her love of music, King Triton’s youngest daughter must make the most difficult choice of her life. With the help of her ying and yang sidekicks, Sebastian and Flounder, and her six sisters, will she be able to restore music, friendship and love to the kingdom? If you’ve seen the original Little Mermaid, I think you know the answer. There are four new songs plus the actors who voiced the original Ariel and Sebastian reprise their roles.
The story is pleasant but I took issue with how Ariel’s mother dies. In the original Little Mermaid, Mrs. Triton’s absence is never explained. In this prequel, we get the explanation but in a way that I feel could have been less explicit – she is CRUSHED to death! (The actual crushing is not shown but it’s quite clear what happens.) We all know that Disney has it out for mothers (can you think of one film where the mother is not dead or evil?) but do they really need to be so cruel about it? And must they show it?
Unfortunately, bonus features don’t add much value for little kids. Do they really care about behind the scenes with the director? How much can a pre-literate kid enjoy captioned songs? Will they want to look at Ariel and sisters’ blogs on the “World Wide Water Webb”? They WILL enjoy the scenes from the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid and probably beg you to take them!
As with all Disney sequels, this one isn’t nearly as good as the original, but a three year old is much less discriminating. If there’s a cute princess, animal sidekick and not-too-scary villain, Anya’s happy and I bet your kid will be too.
Available August 26th.