Rating: 14/20 (Jen: 18/20; Abbey: 19/20; Sophie: ?/20)
Plot: Spoiled, whiny, horny teenage mermaid Ariel has an obsession with the human world, especially after saving the life of a hunky but otherwise nondescript prince, a guy who could very well be the same prince who's in all the other Disney prince and princess movies. And frankly, that makes him a womanizer. Boy, don't try to front. I-I know just-just what you are-are-are. Lollipop, must mistake me--you're the sucker to think I would be a victim not another. But I digress. Ariel's mad at her dad, the king of the ocean, and against the wishes of her Jiminy Lobster, she gets some bippity-boppity-boo help from a maleficent but extremely hot sea witch. She's given temporary legs and has three days to get a smooch from the nondescript prince or the sea witch gets to turn her into a withered piece of poop with eyes. The catch? She doesn't get to use her voice! Oh, snap!
I believe this is regarded as a Disney modern classic, but it's really pretty. . .what's the word? Meeee-diiiii-ocre. It's the Disney people going through the motions. The animation is. . .what's the word? Reeeeeeally flaaaaaat. A possible exception might be the "Under the Sea" sequence, but that musical number really should have been a lot better than it was. I'm not sure there's a single lovable character in this. In fact, they're all kind of. . .how do you say it? Annoyyyyying stock cardboard cut-ooooooouuuuuuts. Ariel is just a cute little bundle of irresponsibility and a really dangerous role-model for little girls. Like most folk tales, the ending of this would have been more satisfying if Ariel was punished for her stupidity. A final scene with Ursula pointing and laughing and the lobster saying, "I tried to warn her, King Triton, but she just wouldn't listen to me, probably because I'm a lobster!" with Ariel turned into a really sorrowful piece of poop with eyes would have been perfect. Ariel was irritating, and I definitely liked the character more after they decided to shut her up for about a half hour. Also irritating: all the sex in this one. I believe this is the movie where Disney animators gave one of the human characters an erection. That's disturbing if you notice it, but the thinly-veiled references to sex are especially bothersome. This is really a movie about the sexual awakening of a young girl. Phallic sharks attack her, and it's hard to ignore the subtext there. Then she falls in love with Prince Handsome. Why? Well, she sees him, first from far off and then up close. It's all physical with Ariel. I can't remember if the line "I want to jump his bones, Scuttle" is actually in the movie or not, but it might as well have been. She loses her fins, gets herself a vagina (not sure if mermaids have those), and longs for sexy time with her man. There's some weird sexual tension going on with Ursula and Triton, too, and I'm not sure what that's all about. I'm sure if a Little Mermaid prequel was ever made (No, Disney people, I am not asking for this!), you'd find out that Triton and Ursula used to be an item back in fish college or something. Ursula is one of Disney's lamer baddies, by the way, but she does get the best song in the movie. Ariel's "What's the Word?" song makes me sick to my stomach. I've not thought about this from a feminist perspective, but it seems they'd have a problem with one of the movie's messages--women should just shut up and be there to look pretty. It's really a shame that the great Buddy Hackett ended his movie career voicing Scuttle, actually in the sequel to this, a movie that I can almost guarantee will never be on this blog.