Better Than Ever: Our Review of ‘The Little Mermaid: Anniversary Edition’ on 4K

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - March 04, 2019
Better Than Ever: Our Review of ‘The Little Mermaid: Anniversary Edition’ on 4K

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You can always revisit the classics…

New to 4K Blu-Ray, this anniversary edition of The Little Mermaid now available at retailers everywhere now looks even more sumptuous and lush thanks to this Ultra High-Def upgrade as that stellar voice that everyone fell in love with has quite simply never sounded better.

In The Little Mermaid; Ariel is a fun-loving and mischievous mermaid who is simply enchanted with all things human.  Disregarding her father’s order’s to stay away from the world above the sea she swims to the surface and in the middle of a raging storm, rescues the prince of her dreams.  Determined to be human, she strikes a bargain with the devious sea-witch Ursula, and trades her fins for legs!  With her best friends in tow; the adorably chatty Flounder and the reggae singing Sebastian, Ariel is thrust into a race against time where she has to win over the one she loves and save her father’s kingdom all at the same time.

Arguably one of the all time classics;  there isn’t a whole hell of a lot that can be said about The Little Mermaid as a movie since it does hit all the movie musical beats and plays hard into the classic Disney style of animation.

The writing/directing team of Jon Musker and Ron Clements were very much operating at their height of their powers back then with this being the second in a string of hit films that started with The Great Mouse Detective and ended with Hercules back in 1997.  For that decade or so, these guys were the unequivocal hit makers for Walt Disney studios and this proves that and then some with a worldwide gross of $211 + million dollars by 1989 standards which is more than double that at approx $428 million dollars today.  Spanning countless off shoots of merchandise and some straight to video sequels, this film capped off the decade of the 80’s being a huge hit that is still dazzling audiences today and marked the beginning of what many called ‘The Disney Renaissance’ that is still riding high today.

With beautiful music from Alan Menken, hand drawn animation that is just stunningly beautiful and a universal story of love that so many millions easily embraced it’s no surprise that The Little Mermaid is one of the most beloved films in the Disney canon and truly feels like one of the last to embrace a near Broadway type of style while presenting its action alongside it’s musical numbers.  It’s a Faustian like tale told in the most sincerely old school fashion as this adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale is just emotionally captivating and visually enthralling from beginning to end with songs that will last in the pop culture ethos long after this critic is dead and gone.

It’s no wonder that this new Anniversary Edition now comes with a sing-along version of the entire film as well.  The 4K transfer looks absolutely fantastic and the special features include a featurette with composer Alan Menken & His Leading Ladies reflecting back on some of the iconic music he’s made for Disney films and performing them with his leading ladies.  An inside look at the original recording sessions, a music video, ‘Howard’s Lecture’ a tribute to the late Howard Ashman a producer and key creative force behind the film, a classic bonus preview, feature length audio commentary from writer/directors Ron Clements and John Musker as well as composer Alan Menken as well as a look at the art of live action reference, a look at a deleted character Harold The Merman and stories from Walt’s office.

Ultimately, The Little Mermaid is a must own disc that simply looks better than ever and even now 30 years later it defies any sort of traditional dissection or review as it is one of the very best animated films ever made.

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This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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