LONDON – The new live action remake of the Disney film The Little Mermaid does not disappoint.
Halle Bailey plays the main character Ariel, a mermaid who desires life on land.
Bailey received racist backlash for being a Black actor playing the role of Ariel. There was also criticism over Bailey’s hair, which is a lighter-toned version of Ariel’s original red color shown in the 1989 animated film.
But Bailey defies all criticism with her enchanting portrayal by emphasizing Ariel’s essence – grace, passion and bravery.
Bailey delivered a compelling performance with her ethereal vocals. Her voice is entrancing and gives new meaning to the title track, ‘‘Part of Your World.’’
Ariel is no longer a naive young woman who desires only love, but an empowered person who desires liberation on land.
Bailey transforms the film from a childhood cartoon to a feminist film.
The soundtrack uplifted the film. The song, ‘‘For the First Time’’ has to be one of my favorites. To not only see Ariel’s metamorphosis as a human on land but to truly feel her emotions is powerful.
But I couldn’t help laughing during Prince Eric’s solo. The new track “Wild Unchartered Waters” felt unexpected.
Even Ursula, the antagonizing sea witch, played by actress Melissa McCarthy, bedazzles with strong vocals.
The uplifting track ‘’Under the Sea’’ embraces colorful hues as the lovable crab Sebastian harmonizes with Ariel.
The visuals are stunning. The cinematographer deserves praise for enhancing the beauty of the ocean.
The attention to detail is also impeccable. From the designs of the ocean creatures to the title ‘’The Little Mermaid’’ being transformed into a figurine in the film.
The focus on the island community is beautiful and the culture of the island shines through the dance scenes.
But Ariel’s close relationship with her fish confidant Flounder is downplayed. Instead, the comedic duo of side characters Sebastian and Scuttle act as heroes.
The relationship between Ariel and her father is authentic. The film serves as a message to fathers that they must allow their daughters to experience life for themselves – in turn strengthening their bond.
Bailey embodies Ariel perfectly and the live action gives viewers every bit of nostalgia they are expecting.
The viewer leaves the film in awe, a feeling that transcends the cinema.
Anjola Fashawe is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.