I've been a huge fan of the Screen Junkies and their "Honest Trailers" for quite some time now. They've covered a wide array of classic flicks, always taking a hilariously cynical stance on what really goes on in and around our favorite movies. They take requests from fans, but they also cover movies when there is some significant reason for them to do it. In this case, Monday marked the 25th anniversary of [The Little Mermaid](movie:995663), so what better time to release an "Honest Trailer" of the Disney classic?
So, let's dive right into what makes this trailer so honest and so hilarious.
We get a Taylor Swift reference right off the bat
1989 was a good year, I must say. The Little Mermaid came out, and of course the narrator reminds us that was the same year Taylor Swift was born. We have that year in time to thank for both Taylor and Ariel's existence. I'd say they've both been pretty impactful in pop culture, but I don't think Taylor is touching Ariel, to be completely honest. Close, though.
Commentary on under-the-sea Fascism
The narrator comments on how some of the fish can "swim free" while others "are forced to drag the ruling class around in their chariots". Also, he turns the creatures who use their bodies as instruments from something fun and innocent to something that is truly disturbing and unfair. Off the bat, the Screen Junkies have set a tone for this trailer.
Ariel falls in love with Prince Eric because he's... "hot"
The video depicts Ariel as a literal fish out of water, falling in love with the land-man Prince Eric strictly because of the fact that he's hot. The narrator has a lot of backup on this too, in the form of clips from the movie.
Being a girly-girl is the best way to get a man
Next, a sequence of scenes showing Ariel trying her best to be pretty and somewhat ditzy in order to capture the heart of Prince Eric in what the narrator describes as an effort to "French" him within "a 72 hour window". Pretty hilarious when you put it in those terms.
The Little Mermaid teaches girls to abandon their family for a guy they just met?
Obviously, this is a little oversimplified and dumbed down, but still... pretty funny! What was it that allowed Prince Eric to sweep Ariel off her feet so easily? His looks, I guess. And it was HER looks that won him over since she didn't have her voice. Overly critical or spot-on analysis? YOU BE THE JUDGE.
Ariel literally not even looking at Ursula's contract while signing it
Just this image is hilarious. "For all eternity" written in large letters and Ariel signing without a care in the world. The Screen Junkies narrator nails it, by saying "And if you're not happy with the contract you signed without even reading, get your fiancé to murder the person who outsmarted you". Of course, he's referring to Ursula.
And next... the songs. What would The Little Mermaid be without its songs?!
Dumb Mermaid Song
The dumb mermaid song, fictional of course, is essentially a song about a dumb mermaid - Ariel - who "doesn't know sh*t", specifically what a fork is or what a smoking pipe is...
It's not her fault that she doesn't know what these things are. She's a dumb mermaid, you guys!
Screen Junkies pokes fun at "boring bad guy songs"
Apparently, even Ursula realizes her songs are just filler and not even worth the audience's time. She sings reluctantly but knows that she's at least serving a purpose... "the obligatory bad guy song".
"Kiss the Girl" becomes "Pork the Girl"
The apparently horn-dog critters sing to try to get Prince Eric to "raise the stakes" and "see if the carpet matches the drapes". Once again, a seemingly innocent song becomes something much more suggestive.
The "Traumatize Your Kids" song
This one got me. I really like this one. It's basically talking about killing fish, while the majority of the cast is made up of fish or crustacean-type creatures. This is a grave and cruel reminder that the movie's stars could become seafood at any moment.
"Under the Sea" becomes "It's So Catchy"
In the minds of the Screen Junkies, this song being catchy is the only thing that matters about it. It will get stuck in your head and you won't be able to stop humming this beautifully melodic tune. They get on Disney a little bit too, saying the theme of the movie is a bit sexist.
"Honest Trailers" explores what Ariel's top half being a fish instead would look like
Wow. I really don't know if Prince Eric would want to marry that.
I wanted to wrap this up by saying if this made you feel slightly on edge or defensive about the Disney classic, A Little Mermaid, just know that they get on every movie they decide to do an "Honest Trailer" for. They've become masters of satire and I think they critique the movies while remaining pretty respectful of their greatness in the process.
Looking forward to the next one!