‘Little Mermaid’ Composer Alan Menken Explains Why One Original Film Song Isn’t in the Live-Action Remake

The Little Mermaid composer Alan Menken is offering an explanation for why one song from the original 1989 animated classic is not part of the new live-action film’s world.

During an interview with that published Saturday, the Oscar-winning songwriter said that the team behind Disney’s forthcoming feature that hits theaters May 26 opted against including the song “Daughters of Triton.” In the 1989 film, the number is performed by Ariel’s sisters toward the beginning of the story and features King Triton realizing that his youngest daughter is not with the rest of the family as planned.

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According to Menken, it was a bigger priority to create more of a buildup to Ariel’s performance of “Part of Your World,” which is widely regarded as one of the initial film’s signature songs. “I think the thought process was a) we didn’t need it in this particular version,” Menken said about “Daughters of Triton” getting nixed. “And we definitely wanted the film to start with a much more of a live-action feel of the ocean and meeting Ariel, and then we wait a little bit, make you wait until we get to ‘Part of Your World.'”

He continued, “And I think that was, you know, it was an amazing choice because it just builds the power and anticipation. And part of that is also knowing you’re adapting something that’s already beloved. So you want to say, ‘Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it — and here it is.’ And when it comes, God.”

Another tune from the original film that is not included on the track list for the new version’s soundtrack — which is available for presale on Spotify — is “Les Poissons,” performed in the animated movie by the character Chef Louie as Sebastian finds himself trapped in the kitchen. The 2023 film’s soundtrack also includes three new songs composed by Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Jacob Tremblay, who voices Flounder in the live-action The Little Mermaid, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s recent premiere about another change from the original, namely the look of his character. “I thought it was really cool because I like how they’re doing it to make them look like real animals,” the performer said about Flounder’s new look, which had been the subject of some criticism on social media. “I think people should see the movie, and then they can judge.”

The cast of the new Little Mermaid includes Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Noma Dumezweni, Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy. Disney releases the Rob Marshall-directed film May 26.

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