SOMEWHERE UNDER THE SEA AND BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION IS AN ADVENTURE IN FANTASY.
The 16-year-old mermaid princess Ariel longs to get out of the water and walk like a human; after making a deal with a sea witch, she gets her wish fulfilled. The old Danish story became the basis of a film that began a hugely successful period for Disney known as ”the Renaissance”. Offering spectacular sights of a world under the sea and a glorious score of musical hits, the film also has a silly but engaging romance between mermaid and man. Very amusing supporting characters are frosting on the cake, including Sebastian the crab and Ursula the sea witch (whose intimidating look was inspired by Divine!).
1989-U.S. Animated. 82 min. Color. Produced by Howard Ashman, John Musker. Written and directed by Ron Clements, John Musker. Story: Hans Christian Andersen. Music: Alan Menken. Songs: Alan Menken, Howard Ashman (”Part of Your World”, ”Under the Sea”, ”Kiss the Girl”). Voices of Jodi Benson (Ariel), Pat Carroll (Ursula), Samuel E. Wright (Sebastian), Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, Christopher Daniel Barnes.
Trivia: Followed by an animated TV series (1992-1994) and two direct-to-DVD releases, starting with The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000). Later a Broadway musical.
Oscars: Best Original Score, Original Song (”Under the Sea”). Golden Globes: Best Original Score, Original Song (”Under the Sea”).
Last word: “I think there was always even before that a desire to make a film that would break through… just kind of break through the stigma. And ‘Black Cauldron’ for a little while I think there was a little hope that might be and then things just didn’t work out for that film. But then ‘Mermaid’ now seemed like because of a lot of things, because that it harken back to sort of classic Disney. But yet there were things that were kind of new. And it was certainly done by a different group of people. None of the people who worked on ‘Mermaid’ for the most part were people who had done those earlier classic films, so there was some overlap but that was over now. So it was a new generation, a baby boomer generation and the sense of wanting really kind of being hungry for something that would be special and just something that you felt was as good as you can make it.” (Clements, Screen Rant)