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The Little Mermaid reviews reveal if it’s a worthy successor to the beloved animated film. The Little Mermaid is Disney’s latest attempt at revisiting one if its classics for live-action. Directed by Rob Marshall and starring Halle Bailey, the movie is one of 2023’s most anticipated releases.


Now, reviews have arrived for The Little Mermaid. Check out what some critics are saying below:

Rachel Labonte, Screen Rant

In terms of faithfulness, The Little Mermaid is similar to the remakes of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, in that the exact same story is told, albeit with some extra padding and a few new songs. Led by a pitch-perfect Halle Bailey, The Little Mermaid is bolstered by deeper characterization and a grand scope, even as it grapples with awkward visuals and a strangely shallow climax.

Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter

Marshall’s The Little Mermaid resembles a lot of recent Disney offerings: It’s sentimental, at times uneven and padded to weather controversy. There’s a nagging sense of risk-aversion — narratively, at least — and that wariness makes the fun it does have feel sanctioned. Like other live-action remakes, The Little Mermaid is a neatly packaged story ribboned with representational awareness. There’s enough in it to fill an evening, but it doesn’t inspire much more than a passing sense of déjà vu.

Alex Diggins, The Telegraph

It’s the studio’s latest attempt to reimagine its stable of beloved, but troublesome, classics. These rehashes haven’t been altogether successful, ranging from the pleasant but pointless (2016’s The Jungle Book) to the pointless and childhood-scaring – Tim Burton’s dour, steampunk Dumbo being a notable example.

Happily, The Little Mermaid comfortably leaps clear of the lot. It serves as a handsome homage while persuasively making the case as its own discrete entity. This time, Ariel is played by 23-year-old singer Halle Bailey. With five Grammy nominations, she brings an unarguable emotional force to the musical numbers, filling them with blustery yearning. On screen, too, she has genuine star wattage, outshining Jonah Hauer-King’s Prince Eric.

Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

But there’s a real stink of obligation to everything that exists around Bailey and her star-making turn. There are two pretty but inconsequential new ballads, and a rap performed by Awkwafina’s Scuttle that is somehow a real Lin-Manuel Miranda rap and not, from what it sounds like, a parody of one. The animals are all now, of course, photorealistic. It’s odd to think they spent so much money on making Flounder (Jacob Tremblay) look like a real fish when they could have just bought a Big Mouth Billy Bass and achieved the same range of facial expressions.

Peter Debruge, Variety

If Bailey is the film’s big discovery, then McCarthy is its no-brainer. Dolled up to look like Divine’s evil-stepsister in her glowing green lair, the comic star’s just delicious as the movie’s deep-sea villain. Her timing is impeccable, and though the part is virtually identical to the one Pat Carroll originated, she aces what’s demanded of these tricky remakes: Basically, McCarthy manages to hit every beat the super fans expect, while surprising with every pause and inflection. Between Bailey’s wide-eyed urchin and McCarthy’s over-the-top octo-hussy, the movie comes alive — not in some zombified form, like re-animated Disney debacles “Dumbo” and “Pinocchio,” but in a way that gives young audiences something magical to identify with, and fresh mermaid dreams to aspire to.

Kate Erbland, IndieWire

So, does it look real? Sometimes, sure, but that’s a strange worry for a story that is — again, again — about mythical sea creatures. Disney’s obsession with turning some of its most beloved properties into live-action offerings simply for, what, the realism? the technology? the money? stumbles into both flashes of brilliance and moments of sheer nonsense (the latter was more of an issue with the studio’s recent “Lion King” remake than in this Marshall joint). That trend will likely continue to be true for the foreseeable future, but until the House of Mouse cracks the real problem at hand, these films will never become classics on their own merit.

That problem: Does it feel real? Not yet, and not even movie star turns and rapping birds and the very best of intentions can bridge that divide. For now, “The Little Mermaid” exists outside of the very world it so wants to be a part of, one already so lovingly rendered in its predecessor, “real” or not.

Source: Various (see above)

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