1989's The Little Mermaid is rightfully considered a classic, but some feel that certain aspects of the tale are regressive, at best, and maybe even outright sexist.
For example, in the animated film, Ariel's sole reason for wanting to leave the ocean is to pursue Prince Eric, who she fell for after saving him from drowning. Ursula strikes a deal that will give Ariel legs at the expense of her voice - but if she is unable to win Eric's heart in three days, she must spend eternity under the sea witch's control.
There are other issues (Ariel is only supposed to be 16, but is basically told to use her body to seduce Eric), but it sounds like the upcoming live-action remake has addressed some of the story's more problematic themes.
“We’ve definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy," star Halle Bailey explains to Editon.com. "It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.”
“As women we are amazing, we are independent, we are modern, we are everything and above,” she continues. “And I’m glad that Disney is updating some of those themes.”
Bailey also addressed the backlash she received after being cast in the lead role.
“Seeing the world’s reaction to it was definitely a shock,” she admits, “but seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and Black young girls, really tore me up emotionally. It’s honestly been such a crazy ride, and I genuinely feel shocked and honored and grateful to be in this position. A lot of times, I have to pinch myself and be like, is this real life?”
How do you guys feel about the original animated movie? Do you think certain things needed to be updated for modern audiences? Drop us a comment down below.
The Little Mermaid is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters, and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea, and while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.
The movie is set to swim into theaters on May 26, 2023.