Hope you're ready for this one, nostalgia fans. Most of us were still sweating with anticipation for #Disney's upcoming live-action Beauty and The Beast remake starring Emma Watson when the studio made a surprising announcement. Due to the critical and overwhelming financial success of The Jungle Book, Disney announced plans to make live-action remakes of Aladdin, The Lion King, and the movie that is the very ground upon which the Disney Renaissance stands, The Little Mermaid.
In the late '80s, Disney Animation was facing complete ruin. But thanks to #TheLittleMermaid being a huge hit and reshaping the studio, the company was spared an untimely demise. So doesn't it make sense that Disney should put forth their very best effort for Ariel's live-action debut? And here are four ways to make that happen. I mean, after all, they do kind of owe her a few.
1. Ursula: Forget Any/All Societal Standards
ABC's #OnceUponATime unfortunately fell short of this goal when they cast Merrin Dungey to play Ursula in 2015. Though the actress they cast was a step in the right direction in terms of breaking off societal standards, she ultimately failed in her portrayal as it was neither engaging nor frightening.
Not only was Ursula a large woman, but she was comfortable with how she looked. It was her deadly persuasion, her uncompromising methods, and her ruthlessness that made her one of the most terrifying Disney villains of all time. Let the true Ursula be expressed. She should have curves, she should be terrifying, and she's the perfect candidate to bring a little more culture into this film.
Also, don't be afraid to tinker with her solo number a bit. Nothing huge, just maybe make it slightly less boring. Oh, and find an actress with incredible pipes to bust it out. Looking at you, Queen Latifah.
2. The Music Needs Only A Little Help
Like I was saying above, "Poor Unfortunate Souls" could definitely use a little refinement. The other musical numbers — "Under The Sea," "Part Of Your World," and "Kiss The Girl" — don't need much attention. What the film really needs is a few new musical numbers to be paired alongside the originals.
For starters, Ariel's voice is described by Sebastian as "the most beautiful." She deserves more than two solo numbers. And two is giving Disney more credit than they deserve here, since it's all pretty much just extended verses of the same song. Have her join in the fun with the live-action spectacle that will be "Under The Sea." She did it in Kingdom Hearts, so why not now? I know with Lin-Manuel Miranda on board, this can be easily accomplished.
3. Cast Eric And Ariel With Actors Of Same Age
If Disney really wants to start putting more emphasis on empowering young women, this is a good place to start to putting Eric and Ariel on even ground. He's not some gorgeous older guy she falls desperately in love with, he's someone of her own generation that she can truly connect and have a meaningful relationship with.
While on the subject of Eric, here's another thing. It's time to cast off that "falling in love with someone you just met" standard for these princesses. They deserve more dignity than that, especially Ariel. With #BeautyandTheBeast, Belle was given extraordinary amounts of time to fall for the Beast. The same courtesy should be extended to Ariel. All it takes is a few more scenes. What's there to lose?
- The Original Story Behind The Little Mermaid Will Break Your Hearts
- Here's Every Upcoming Live-Action Remake From Disney
- The Undying Legacy Of Disney's The Little Mermaid
4. Emphasis On Her Being A True Hero
Something us viewers might have missed or grazed by all these years is one key fact: Ariel is a hero. Do you have any idea how much time in the movie she spends saving other people? "A good chunk" is the right answer. She saves others more in this film than anyone really gives her credit for. And that's because her rescue scenes are not showcased as they should be.
Not only does she rescue her best friend Flounder from the jaws of a massive shark, but she rescues Prince Eric not once, not twice, but a total of three different times. In a world that's now bravely moving forward with the female-fronted hero film, more emphasis is needed for this new generation of young girls (and their mothers) who will be watching this movie together.
Disney has a chance to show them how it's Ariel, not Eric, who's the true hero of The Little Mermaid. By doing so, Disney can keep setting the new standard that while love is incredible and powerful, little girls and grown up women don't always need a man to save them.
Ariel's already an icon for one generation of women. Why not step it up and make her an even better one for the next?
What do you think? Should Disney make changes to The Little Mermaid for the live-action film?