The coming The little Mermaid Significant story changes may be necessary to succeed, and the changes made to Jasmine’s story in Aladdin re-recording could provide good inspiration. Disney has cycled through its old classics and turned them into live-action adaptations, to varying degrees of success. Now, with several of these behind them, the studio can look at what has or hasn’t worked in the past to perfect upcoming films. In the case of The little Mermaidcould this mean watching another live-action Disney Princess: Jasmine.
In the animated 1989 The little Mermaid movie, Ariel was fascinated by everything from the world outside her sea. She dreamed of being a part of it and owning all the things she could want. But when Ariel saw Prince Eric, her sudden love for him overshadowed her desires. She was in love only 16 years old and nothing was going to stop her from being with him. She even traded her voice for a chance, a decision many call a bad example for young audiences. In the end, Ariel’s motivations are a bit stale, which is why Jasmine’s similar situation was adjusted in Aladdin replay.
Ariel needs to borrow Jasmine’s ambition in The Little Mermaid Remake
In the original animated version of the Aladdin, Jasmine resented being forced to marry someone she didn’t love. Still, her central motivation was the possibility of finding true romance—something the live-action remake did away with. Jasmine in 2019 Aladdin was a far more well-rounded character. She cared a little about falling in love (although that wasn’t off the table). Instead, she wanted the chance to rule the kingdom she loved without marrying someone who would become the Sultan. Not only did this improve her character, but it also made more sense for Aladdin’s overall story. A similar change is needed for The little Mermaid replay.
The most endearing part of Ariel’s story is her fascination with a world outside her own. If the live-action film avoids overshadowing this with Ariel’s eagerness to throw everything away for a boy, it could present a far more believable character. There is of course no reason for that Ariel who is unique among Disney princesses, can’t fall in love once she’s on the surface, but her motivation for giving up her voice must come from deeper aspects of her character. Still, this could be even better if Prince Eric played a different role in the princess’s journey.
Does the Little Mermaid even need romance?
In general, in recent films, Disney has begun to move away from romance. Brave, Frozen, and Encanto have all proven that a female lead doesn’t have to be motivated only by marriage. Whose The little Mermaid falls back into the old princess formula, it could potentially undo the progress made here. The changes in Aladdin still allowed Jasmine to fall in love while embracing other aspirations, but she wasn’t the central protagonist. Then Ariel entered The little Mermaid may need to do more.
There are different levels that Disney is heading to The little Mermaid remake could steer away from romance – up to eliminate it. For example, Prince Eric could simply be a friend who helps Ariel on her journey, and instead of true love’s kiss to break the spell, the audience might instead find a surprising twist (such as Frozen’s “act of true love” trick). In the end, the basis of Ariel’s story could remain the same, but with an improvement in believability, since all her actions will not be in the name of marrying a boy who was unconscious during their first interaction.
The Little Mermaid may be Disney’s first unique remake
Of course this would mean The little Mermaid remake would be a completely different film than the one it was based on, which hasn’t been the trend for Disney. Audiences have complained that remakes like 2019 Lions King films have been so close to their subject that the film was left uninteresting. These adaptations have relied solely on visual effects, and while this has been successful for a period of time, it does not last. Therefore, Disney should learn from their past adaptations and lean into more extensive changes in the future.
Whose The little Mermaid changes Ariel’s motivations, this will be one of the biggest shifts for a central character in one of Disney’s live-action adaptations. But of course this is likely to be met with derision from some audiences. The film has already faced outrageous backlash from those who believed that the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel also significantly changed the character’s appearance. If such a minor change led to outrage, remove any of the romantic aspects of The little Mermaid would probably create even more of a stir — but perhaps that’s exactly the kind of waves needed to make the film a hit.
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