Review: The Little Mermaid 2023

I can promise you this, readers: No one was more excited to see a live-action version of The Little Mermaid than me. Although there have been mixed reactions from others about Disney’s recent string of live-action remakes, I am happily waiting for the next one to pop up in theaters.

For as long as I can remember, Ariel has been my favorite Disney princess. I have always admired her desire for romance, enchanting singing voice, and incredible sense of adventure. When I first heard The Little Mermaid was getting recreated as a live-action, I was curious how that would turn out since the movie is mainly set underwater. But the magic of CGI can work wonders. 

Singer and actress Halle Bailey did an excellent job portraying the young mermaid. Her beautiful singing voice only made her performance more powerful. After the release of the movie’s trailer back in March, I rewatched it several times. 

The rest of the cast also did a great job adding to the movie’s magic. British actor, Jonah Hauer-King, brought Prince Eric to life and was even given a song. Actress, screenwriter, and producer Melissa McCarthy played the sea witch, Ursula. Actor, singer-songwriter, and rapper Daveed Diggs brought humor and charm to Sebastian the Crab. Actress, rapper, and comedian Awkwafina gave viewers plenty to laugh about as the goofy seagull, Scuttle. Actor Jacob Tremblay voiced the loyal and lovable fish, Flounder. Javier Bardem is almost an exact replica of Ariel’s protective father, King Triton.


I enjoyed reliving my childhood by watching some of my favorite scenes in the movie. While looking forward to certain scenes and songs, viewers were also gifted with a few small changes. Prince Eric had his own song titled “Wild Uncharted Waters.” After getting her legs and making it on land, Ariel sang a new song called “For the First Time.” Sebastian and Scuttle also surprised viewers with “The Scuttlebutt” to awaken Ariel with the news of Price Eric’s engagement. This humorous gem allowed Awkwafina and Diggs to show off their rapping skills.

When it came to the story, the movie altered a few parts, similar to the previous live-action movie remakes. For example, along with losing her voice, Ariel was given amnesia by Ursula so she wouldn’t remember she needed to get a true love’s kiss from Prince Eric to remain human. King Triton and Ursula were estranged siblings. Prince Eric’s adoptive mother, Queen Selina (Noma Dumezweni), had a role in the movie. Ariel had a slightly different wardrobe after becoming human. Jodi Benson, the original voice of the 1989 animated version of The Little Mermaid, made a cameo appearance in the movie. And sadly, there was no scene where Sebastian is chased all over the chef’s kitchen to avoid getting turned into a meal.


I’ve been asked several times what my favorite scene in the movie was. I flip-flopped between Ariel’s performance of “Part of Your World” and one of the final scenes of the movie when the mermaids emerged from the sea to send a newly married Ariel off on her voyage with Prince Eric.

Overall, this was certainly top of my list of favorite Disney live-action remade movies, and I highly recommend it.

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