How the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid differs from the original

30 May 2023 07:23pm
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Does the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid live up to its legacy? Let’s explore some of the differences between the original and the remake of this childhood classic. (Spoiler alert).

The casting of Ariel

In this childhood classic, we were fixated on the image of Ariel as a sexy aquatic Caucasian redhead with pale skin and blue eyes, but Disney takes a new direction by casting Halle Bailey as Ariel, an African-American actress who does not possess those features. Instead of red luscious hair, the new Ariel comes with locs.

This was met with racial backlash, as people tried to understand why the casting deviated from selecting someone who closely resembled the original lead role.

Ariel gets amnesia

In the animated film, the sea witch Ursula offers Ariel a deal where she can trade her voice for the chance to become a human and live on land. But in order to make the transformation permanent, Ariel must get a kiss from Prince Eric within three days.

But in the live-action remake, Ursula casts an extra spell to make Ariel forget that she needs the kiss but their love sparks over mutual obsessions of souvenirs and treasures.

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Diverse racial representation

While the animated film portrayed white characters, the casting of the live-action remake showed tremendous changes in the way the characters are portrayed.

Besides Ariel, her mermaid sisters now represent a diverse coalition of races. Perhaps it makes sense as the Kingdom spans across the seven seas. These changes, they say, are meant to reflect a diverse racial representation.

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Sebastian and Flounder get a makeover too

Ariel’s ultra-realistic besties were at the receiving end of critics for not looking like the lovable characters they were written to be. Fans expected Ariel’s sidekick Flounder who appears plump and colourful to be exactly that in the film, but in this live-action remake, Flounder is flat and scaly. Sebastian on the other hand looks.. well.. like a real crab.

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Prince Eric’s mother

In the original film, Eric is portrayed as a prince who loves the sea, but that’s about the extent of his personality that we know. In this new remake, the story dives a little deeper into Prince Eric’s story. He is an adopted child to Queen Selina, played by Noma Dumezweni.

Details of Ariel’s mother

In the animated version of The Little Mermaid, the story doesn’t go into detail about Ariel’s mother. However, the live-action remake reveals that her mother is dead, killed by humans.

The tragic death of Ariel’s mother is a big reason King Triton, is against the idea of Ariel going to the surface and does everything in his power to keep his child safe.

The Little Mermaid is now in cinemas, nationwide.

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