Disney’s Little Mermaid remake met with mixed reviews as stars hit blue carpet at premiere
Disney’s highly anticipated live-action retelling of The Little Mermaid finally got its premiere on Monday in Los Angeles and the first reviews have started to trickle in.
The 1989 original told the story of a young mermaid who trades her voice for a set of legs in the hopes of winning the heart of a human prince.
It was a huge hit for the House of Mouse and scored two Oscars at the 1990 Academy Awards including Best Original Score and Best Original Song for Under The Sea.
There was a lot of scepticism back in 2016 when the remake was first announced – when the original was so beloved, was this something the world actually needed?
Then there was controversy when 23-year-old Halle Bailey, a black actress, was cast as main character Ariel, who was drawn as a caucasian with red hair and blue eyes in the original.
Due for release on May 26, Bailey joined castmates including Melissa McCarthy (Ursula), Javier Bardem (King Triton) and Jacob Tremblay (Flounder) on the blue carpet at the world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
While some critics declared it “the best live action Disney movie” and gave kudos to Bailey’s performance, others insisted it “can’t” escape its animated legacy.
Felicia Wade from DiscussingFilm wrote on Twitter, “#TheLittleMermaid makes it pretty close to being the best live-action Disney movie, however it still struggles in the villain department.
“Halle Bailey IS Ariel and I had literal chills throughout her performance. This is a little mermaid retelling like you’ve never seen before.”
Erik Davis of Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes agreed, penning: “Disney’s #TheLittleMermaid is definitely one of the better live-action adaptions.
On May 26 go under the sea with Ariel, Sebastian, Scuttle and Flounder in Disney's #TheLittleMermaid. 🐚🌊 pic.twitter.com/ClaUTQacw2
— The Little Mermaid (@LittleMermaid) May 8, 2023
“Halle Bailey pours incredible emotion into Ariel and I got chills watching her, while Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula and Daveed Diggs’ Sebastian steal scenes all day.”
Kirsten Acuna from Insider wasn’t so won over however, tweeting: “#TheLittleMermaid is filled with a few great performances from Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy, but it’s a mostly paint-by-numbers remake that’s isn’t as good as the animated masterpiece.”
Simon Thompson, who writes for publications including Forbes and Variety, added: “Endearing but uneven, #TheLittleMermaid doesn’t deliver the magic of the animated classic but there are plenty of creative touches from Rob Marshall to float the audience’s boats.
“Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy are great. Daveed Diggs and Awkwafina provide solid comic relief.”