One of my three-year-old twins must have seen a commercial for Jaws on television, because he has been hassling me for “shark movie” for well over a week. I thought Jaws a little advanced for him, so I ventured off with them to rent Finding Nemo. It was out. The kids freaked out, all tears and screaming. So I placated them with The Little Mermaid.
I had never seen it, but as soon as I popped it in, I thought, “Wow. This looks really crappy. Like some kind of downscale Hanna-Barbera stuff.” Curious, I checked the date on the DVD box and was aghast to discover that the movie was released in 1989. Almost twenty years ago. At least four or five years too old for most of my incoming freshmen to have seen it in theaters.
I’m no animation expert, but something about it just doesn’t hold up. Which really surprised me. From what I recall, it was one of the first of the new animated blockbusters. (Wikipedia confirms this.) But I’m telling you … watch this and The Incredibles or Wall-E back to back and … God bless digital animation, as I suspect I am going to be watching a lot of these kinds of movies over the next few years. A lot of it also seemed kind of … pervy? (See picture.)
It was also kind of disconcerting to not recognize any of the voices. The only familiar name in the credits was Buddy Hackett, who voiced the seagull. Nowadays, it seems like all of these movies are lousy with A-list talent.
By the way, Ariel was sixteen in the movie. Which would make her about thirty-five today. One wonders what has become of her.
By Sam MacDonald
Photo courtesy of Offsprung