Saturday, July 20, 2013

Recent Thoughts on The Little Mermaid

Hello, ever-present audience. (Nevermind how accurate or inaccurate that is.)

As you may or may not have seen on my Facebook (I try not to let those mix) I said I might have to post about The Little Mermaid after watching it the other night. Thursday, I believe.

Like many of the pure joys of my childhood, revisiting it as an adult (we'll ignore the fact that I watch at least four Disney movies every year for the last decade or so) can be both disappointing and hilarious.

In my Facebook post, I summed up the movie this way, "The Little Mermaid: the three day journey of a sixteen-year-old girl getting body modifications for a guy she's never met, culminating in catastrophic, magically created weather and their first kiss/wedding."

I guess technically the story takes about five days.
1) The missed concert/first sight/storm/rescue
2) Rescue song/destruction of Ariel's horde/ decision to solve things with plastic surgery via Ursula/ meeting Eric formally
3) Tour of the kingdom/ "Kiss the Girl"/ "Vanessa" appears out of nowhere
4) Stall the wedding/ final battle with giganto-fat-octopus-woman/ sparkley dress and first kiss
Cut to wedding

Watching this the other night, during their wedding scene, my first thought was, "oh my god. Is that their first kiss??" Followed closely by "She's SIXTEEN! D8"

I just did some intense Googling and Youtube clip watching, though, and as it turns out, it technically isn't, because when her poor, misguided father takes the advice of a crab and turns his beautiful daughter back into a ravenous "fisheater," she runs out of the water, totally ignoring that gift and the paternal approval it represents, and drives into the arms of this near stranger for a passionate kiss. Which then fades into that shot at the wedding.

Also, there's totally a Top 15 Disney Kisses video, and I take issue with the numbering of most of them.

But here are some of the things that I had to yell at the movie for:

First, King Triton constantly refers to humans as barbarians and fish-eaters. I refuse to believe that mer-people don't ever eat fish or sea creatures of any kind. That's impractical and unrealistic. Use the resources available. What else are they going to eat? Krill? 

Just imagine Ariel swimming around with her mouth wide open all the time....

But they have teeth, I say! Teeth just like human teeth, or so I assume based on the fact that Eric never recoiled and went "Oh god! What's wrong with your mouth?!" And human teeth are designed to break apart both meats and plant matter. That's why we have pointy teeth and flat teeth (a.k.a. molars and incisors). 

Also, who is the heavily bearded, naked, old guy to call anyone a barbarian? I've only played a handful of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, but from my not inconsiderable experience with fantasy, the less clothing someone is wearing, the better indication that they're either a sexpot or a badass, and if they happen to a well-muscled, scantily-clothed male, they're almost definitely a Barbarian.

So there, fork man!

Speaking of the magical three-pronged instrument of death and hurricanes, another issue I had. When you're a kid, suspension of disbelief is no problem. But with Disney movies, not suspending your disbelief and pondering the consequences of the world they operate in is way more fun.

Like why didn't the country (France) in Beauty and the Beast have serious political troubles when they spontaneously lost their monarch for ten years, only to have him pop up out of some woods in the middle of nowhere?

In The Little Mermaid, I think the trouble is the weather. I take no issue with the idea that ocean and all of its surrounding weather are controlled by a fish man with a magic weapon (which, by the way, begs some interesting questions about Triton's omniscience or lack thereof), but presumably he operates in a safe and sane way, causing storms the natural way. What happened to the world when Ursula gets hold of said magical trident and starts causing storms and whirlpools to come out of nowhere? All that water and air pressure had to go somewhere, right?

Also, how old is Eric, anyway? It can't be more than like eighteen or nineteen, because then we start wandering creepy statutory rape country. And if he is that young, why is his steward, or whatever Grimsby is, pestering him about getting married? Do they just have an incredibly short lifespan there? Because everyone in Eric's town seemed to be pretty healthy and content. Plus all of the palace staff seems to be at least middle-aged...

At least in most Disney movies, they never actually say outright how old they are. Except possibly Rapunzel, who I believe is turning eighteen in her movie. Legal adult, boys and girls.

Also, there's two cool Disney movies coming out I heard about recently, one of which is Frozen, which will be awesome, because The Snow Queen was one of my favorite stories as a kid.

Now if someone would just do East of the Sun and West of the Moon in a good way, because the only movie that I know of is The Polar Bear King, which is one I also liked as a child, but is definitely lacking when compared to how cool it could be.

And then I guess there's this movie about the making of Mary Poppins with Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney, and that sounds a little implausible, but  pretty cool.

Speaking of movies coming out, my vhs copy of Little Mermaid had all these new exciting movies coming out, like Mulan, A Bug's Life, and the unfortunate Pocahontas sequel coming out in...1998!

Yeah....I felt old. Do you guys realize that was like fifteen years ago? Madness I say!

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