I have always been a fan of merfolk marveling in the wonderous idea of living in a land under the sea. Many people question the existence of mermaids, yet scientists have only explored a small portion of our oceans, so it’s possible that marine life resembling merfolk can exist beneath the waves.
My first introduction to the underwater creatures in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which was released in 1989. The film was an adaptation of The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Anderson, released in 1836. Both stories tell the story of a young princess willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of true love.
The Little Mermaid Characters
Ariel is the daughter and princess of King Triton, ruler of Atlantica. She is known for her lovely singing voice and curious nature. Her stubborn, defiant nature helps her follow through with her actions, even if they’re not carefully thought out.
Sebastian and Flounder try to help Ariel in her quest. Flounder is Ariel’s best friend and partner in crime. Sebastian works with King Triton as his trusted Vizier. He is seen spying on Ariel with good intentions to keep her out of trouble.
King Triton is the ruler of Atlantica and the seven seas. He is the father of Ariel and her seven sisters. He fears humans blaming them for causing the death of his wife, Queen Athena. King Triton tries forbidding his children from exploring the land above the sea.
Prince Eric is the handsome explorer rescued by Ariel. He meets up with Ariel once she gives up her voice for legs and takes her into his care. He longs to marry the woman that rescued him mesmerized by her hauntingly beautiful voice.
Ursula is the sea witch and has many merfolk come to her magical aide. She strikes a deal with Ariel. Magically changing her fins to legs giving her three days to get the prince to fall in love with her and share true loves kiss or belong to Ursula in her garden giving up any political power Ariel has to the kingdom.
The Little Mermaid Plot
In the 1989 film, The Little Mermaid, where the mermaid Princess Ariel, played by Jodi Benson, a young mermaid dreams of the world above the sea. After rescuing Prince Eric from a ship wreck, she seeks the aid of Ursula, the sea witch. She agrees to grant Ariel legs for three days but to earn the kiss of true love by sunset of the third day.
The Little Mermaid has always been my favorite Disney film. Each character is well rounded giving the daring princess flaws of not thinking things through despite her curious nature. She was willing to defy the rules to live out her dreams. Plus, the film broke the traditional princess trope by having her rescue the prince from drowning. I still wish more backstory was given to Ursula, she seemed too powerful to be taken down by manmade objects like a ship.
I would give the film a nine out of ten rating. I never get tired of watching the film. The music written and produced by Alan Menken is still rememberable to this day. The bright colors of the ocean illustrated though Disney’s animation creates a realistic universe, making one wish they could be a mermaid and live in Atlantica.
Furthermore, the film the little mermaid focusses on what most teenagers feel when they decide to rebel against their parents. Ariel wants to explore the world above giving up everything including the world she grew up in. Many compare this to children going to college or moving out of the home. Yet in the end both the film and real life has shown that our parents will always be there to protect us even from our own mistakes.