The Little Mermaid; Animated romantic musical, USA, 1989; D: Ron Clements, John Musker, S: Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Paddi Edwards, Buddy Hackett, Jason Marin, Nancy Cartwright
Ariel is a 16-year old mermaid, the youngest daughter of Triton, the god of sea. She misses a concert in which she should have sung because she went to collect human objects on a sunken ship. Crab Sebastian gets the assignment to observe her and is shocked when she saves the life of a human, Eric, who almost drowned, and falls in love with him. In order to become a human herself and seduce Eric, she makes a contract with witch Ursula and sells her voice. Ariel, now mute, tries to make Eric fall in love with her. Ursula, though, cheats and becomes the new ruler of the sea. But Eric kills her with a ship and marries Ariel.
No Disney girl was ever so deeply in love as it was Ariel in their animated version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid". Most virtues of the film are drained precisely out of thoroughbred presented love story in which the strong and independent heroine sacrifices herself to gain the love of her life: so beautiful are the scenes in which she observes Eric from a long distance and sings how "something is happening now" and how he will "one day be part of her world", or when she lost her voice by transforming into a human and Sebastian concluded that even that is more appealing to her than to return back to her normal, but lonely life. Despite childish humor and thin character development, her persistence is so enchanting that the first half of the story is excellent, but the second one inconsistently continues that concept: the increasingly intimate relationship between Ariel and Eric is presented hectically and in ellipse, while the rushed finale is even more chaotic than the one in "Aladdin". "Mermaid" is indeed an interesting Walt Disney movie while the legendary song, "Under the Sea", is perfect and deservedly won an Oscar and a Golden Globe, but it still does not reach the grasp of such masterworks of romantic animation, like "Maison Ikkoku".