Halle Bailey gets rave review but critics slam 'The Little Mermaid' for falling way short of original
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Before its theatrical release, the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of 'The Little Mermaid' received mixed reviews from critics who criticized the 'unfortunate' remake and the 'realistic' portrayal of animals, while praising Halle Bailey as Ariel. Now that the embargo is lifted, we can check the reviews for the film, and it turns out that Bailey is the best part of the film.
When Walt Disney announced that a Black actress would play the lead role of Ariel, the company received some criticism for its decision to produce a live-action version of the 1989 animated classic 'The Little Mermaid.' In addition to Melissa McCarthy in the role of the witch Ursula, the film stars Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle in the live-action adaptation of 'The Little Mermaid.'
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Critics call 'The Little Mermaid' cringe-worthy
A harsh review by Bloomberg labels the movie a "waterlogged conundrum." The review further says the new rap song 'The Scuttlebutt,' which is performed by Daveed Diggs' character Sebastian and Awkwafina's Scuttle, is especially cringe-worthy, "Scuttle is voiced by Awkwafina, who's never not funny—except here. In the screening I attended, many grown adults covered their faces to avoid looking at the screen. Both songs feel like first drafts."
The review went on to make references to well-known scenes from the first movie, 'Under The Sea.' "The original is adorable and joyous, and features sea creatures with cherubic, smiling faces. But in the 2023 version, they are faceless, and thus (sorry, fish) they’re simply not as fun to watch."
Slamming Ursula's song 'Poor Unfortunate Souls,' NPR titled their review, 'The Little Mermaid is the latest of Disney's poor unfortunate remakes.' Furthermore, they called the Scuttlebutt rap "ridiculous" and labeled 'Under the Sea' as being "dead in the water."
Meanwhile, 'Under The Sea' received some praise from Entertainment Weekly, which called it a "visual feast for the eyes." The review reads, "Under the Sea is the film's high-water mark — featuring choreography from more realistic sea life, including schools of fish, sea stars, and jellyfish, executing Broadway-level dance moves."
Melissa McCarthy, who plays the villain, Ursula, has also drawn criticism. "McCarthy is just OK as the sinister tentacled Ursula," a review by USA Today says. "The smoky-voiced performer is all over the place with a witches' brew of styles, and her big number 'Poor Unfortunate Souls' is missing the delicious camp of the animated version," it further reads.
'Bailey gives a glowing performance of effortless starshine'
Halle Bailey does an excellent job as Ariel. Her acting lends a certain touch to what is ultimately a competent film. Her magnetism shines through the screen, whether she's singing a rearranged 'Part of Your World' or quietly watching her unattractive prince (Jonah Hauer King) grapple with his own social constraints.
Moira MacDonald from Seattle Times said, "Bailey gives a glowing performance of effortless star shine; her singing voice has both sweetness and power, and her smile is the sort on which dreams dance."
Variety praised Bailey and said, "Halle Bailey is all the reason that any audience should need to justify Disney revisiting this classic." Meanwhile, The Independent noted, "There’s such a luminous quality to her desires, and an intensity to her desperation, that she digs down deeper into Ariel than anyone ever has before. And that voice! Her version of original Ariel voice actor Jodi Benson’s classic “Part of Your World” features a spectacular key change – it’ll soon be butchered at every karaoke joint in the land."
CNN's review of the film reads, "Thanks largely to star Halle Bailey, the lavish musical holds up nicely under the weight of those expectations, preserving the original’s essence while updating undernourished aspects of it and riding a warm, hard-to-resist wave of nostalgia."
'Disney has gone woke and I hope broke'
Online fans were also divided over 'The Little Mermaid' reviews and they took to Twitter to express their thoughts. One fan condemned it and wrote, "This movie sucked. Disney has gone woke and I hope broke." Another one wrote, "I'm pretty much exhausted by live-action Disney remakes. There are films out there that are much more worth one's time. But of course, people who will blindly praise anything made by Disney will turn out in droves." A third social media user typed, "It’s garbage."
Some 'Little Mermaid' fans rejoiced at the live-action remake with one exclaiming, "I’m 40 years old & can’t wait to see this movie. My nieces are going to love it, especially seeing themselves represented on The Big Screen. Just like our Generation saw Brandy as Cinderella on our small screens back in 1997." Another fan wrote, "The haters are mad cuz they wanted it to be rotten so bad but it’s doing great." A third fan chimed in, "The racists in the replies, yikes. Imagine being mad over a mermaid. Their lives must be pretty bad."
This movie sucked. Disney has gone woke and I hope broke.— Mario (@marioacarrillo) May 22, 2023
I'm pretty much exhausted by live-action Disney remakes. There's films out there that are much more worth one's time. But of course, people who will blindly praise anything made by Disney will turn out in droves.— Connor Brennan (@ConnorB67058798) May 22, 2023
It’s garbage— GhostX999💀🔥 (@babayaga619x) May 22, 2023
I’m 40 years old & can’t wait to see this movie. My nieces are going to love it especially seeing themselves represented on The Big Screen. Just like our Generation saw Brandy as Cinderella on our small screens back in 1997. 🧜🏾♀️🦀🐠— Allybear loves KACY (@AliciaAppleto18) May 22, 2023
The haters are mad cuz they wanted it to be rotten so bad but it’s doing great 🤭🤭🤭 pic.twitter.com/c1FvVUYSOo— Flounder 🧜🏽♀️ (@lazyariel) May 22, 2023
The racists in the replies, yikes. Imagine being mad over a mermaid. Their lives must be pretty bad.— Lana (@Lanalbb) May 22, 2023
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