Monday, April 2, 2012

Somewhere Under the Sea

Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989), based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale.

Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805. I figured we would think about one of his most famous stories, "The Little Mermaid".

Except for the preachy ending, I always enjoyed this story. It captured the thrill of exploration, the wonder of being someplace new. I could empathize with the mermaid as she learned a whole new way of life. The dilemma that she faces when her time starts to run out would twist at my heart; I always wished she could find a way to win out.

Although Andersen gives a "happy" ending, I can't say that I ever liked it. It felt like a dodge. And the moralizing "good child/bad child" situation was simply a manner by which to browbeat the child audience. Very bad form!!! >:(

Detail form the 1989 theatrical release poster of The Little Mermaid

That's why I like the 1989 Disney retelling. Sure, it's a radically different story, but the premise is faithfully preserved. Moreover, it avoids Andersen's relationship angst issues and his sermonizing. All the magic that made the original so effective is kept, but all the dross is discarded. And the Sea Witch is somethin' fierce! ;-)

Anyways here are a few vids:

"Part of Your World"

"Under the Sea"

Ariel first sees Prince Eric


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