Disney teases remake of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ its newest live-action film
After four years of anticipation, “The Little Mermaid” live-action teaser trailer release has sent the media into a frenzy with what to expect for the new movie set to come out on May 26.
The remake was announced by Disney in July 2019 when they cast actress and singer Halle Bailey as Ariel.
This musically inclined film has left fans curious about “The Little Mermaid” and its new soundtrack.
The teaser shows Bailey swimming through her cave of treasures and thing-a-ma-bobs, followed by Flounder as she sings the classic tune “Part of Your World” from the original film in 1989. So, what does this mean for the music?
According to The Insider Magazine, “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and EGOT winner Alan Menken will be the music composers of the new soundtrack. Miranda told Variety that the film would have three or four original songs that will not replace popular classics and will be inspired by Ariel’s time on land.
“She experiences a lot of firsts, as someone with legs for the first time,” Miranda said. “We got to lean into all of that musically.”
Mackenzie Hansma, sophomore worship arts and ministry major, said she is curious to see how Miranda’s style blends with Disney’s usual brand.
“Lin-Manuel Miranda has a specific style with all his Broadway songs, a lot of overlapping of different melodies,” Hansma said. “So I am interested to see how that is going to come into play with Disney because Disney has a simpler style than Lin does.”
Hansma is looking forward to seeing the fresh take Bailey brings to her role in “The Little Mermaid.”
“I’m excited because (she) is so vocally talented, and it does bring a different kind of singing to Disney because they add all the riffs and the runs,” Hansma said. “I have high hopes.”
“The Little Mermaid” is not the first classic remade into a live-action film by Disney.
In fact, remaking classics has become a common theme for Disney. The company has remade multiple films from their past era, from “Cinderella” in 2015 to “Pinocchio,” which was just released Sept. 8.
There are many different components to making a new live-action Disney movie, and music has always been a big part of the movies. This musical component will likely be an important aspect of “The Little Mermaid,” per usual.
“I think the favorite that I look forward to is ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls,’” Hansma said. “It was just such a fun song to sing, so I am excited to see their take on that song.”
The most challenging part of each remake is keeping the integrity of the original film. Because the audience for which the films were initially made has grown up, many fans look for nostalgia when watching these films. Therefore, there is always debate around whether or not the live-action remakes will give the same feeling the original film would.
Will the live-action version of the “Little Mermaid” have the same effect that the original movie had back then?
Many live-action films that have been readapted from classic animated Disney films say otherwise. The live-action of “Aladdin” clocked in at 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, a site where movies are rated on their “rottenness,” because critics felt the film had many missed opportunities and had unfulfilled potential. “Beauty and the Beast” with Emma Watson came in slightly higher with a 71% rating, as critics expected more than just nostalgia to make this movie great.
Michael Eaton, professor of film studies and film studies, explains his theory that the adaptations of classic animated movies into live-action films and how “the primary concern is financial, and the studio is hoping to exploit the nostalgia for the built-in audience.”
The classics are often held dear by those who watch them, and no replacement or remake will ever live up to the potential of the original for some fans.
“It is fun to see how these new directors interpret the movie, but it is getting very repetitive because there have been so many,” Hansma said.
For many, music can either make or break a film. Robert Ollech, sophomore music education major, shares his point of view on music in film.
“I think music is a great way to unite people,” Ollech said. “But also, if you get it wrong, it can really take a lot of the spirit out of the music, a lot of the emotion.”
He also said that when Disney releases remakes or sequels, they “need to focus on the quality of the production.” He hopes Disney takes this into account for “The Little Mermaid.”
“I think it’s going to be important when they’re synchronizing both old and new music, to make it sound like one movie rather than noticeably old and new music,” Ollech said. “A lot of that has to do with instrumentation in harmony. And then create more of a continuous thread.”
Overall, the anticipation for this movie continues to build as Disney reveals more about what is in store for “The Little Mermaid.” Stay tuned for more teasers from Disney.