Movie Review By Monica Sullivan
Like 1959's "Sleeping Beauty", the last Disney animated feature made without xerography, 1989's "The Little Mermaid" (sans computer animation) marked the end of an era. No shortcuts were taken with the animation process and the faces of all the characters are wonderfully expressive.
Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian the crab definitely rated a 1989 Oscar for the STILL non-existent category of best voice talent. Other voices are effectively interpreted by Jodi Benson as Ariel, Christopher Daniel Barnes as Prince Eric, Pat Carroll as Ursula the witch and Buddy Hackett as Scuttle the Seagull. The late Disney voice veteran Ben Wright, the awesome Kenneth Mars plus the flamboyant Rene Auberjonois also make delightful contributions in character roles.
Ariel's ballads, which tend to be mushy, are made a bit more bearable by the sparkling antics of Wright's crab and Hackett's seagull. And Wright as Sebastian steals the show with a calypso version of "Under the Sea". Even better, Sebastian is in almost every scene.
The mermaid and her prince aren't among the most exciting lovers in history: Without its large, colorful cast, "The Little Mermaid" would be just another bland and pretty love story with few surprises. Luckily for both kids and adults, Samuel E. Wright and company give a vocal kick to the film's visual perfection and provide "The Little Mermaid" with genuine humor and charm. If you've never seen it before, expect Disney's usual anthropomorphic humor rather than a literal translation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" and you'll have fun with this Oscar-winning classic.
© 1997 • Monica Sullivan • Air Date: 11/12/97
"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index
"Movie Magazine International" Home Page