Thursday, March 20, 2014



Little Mermaid is Disney's 28th animated feature film, and marks both the beginning of what is known as Disney's renaissance and the return to fairytale films by the studio. After Sleeping Beauty was released in 1959, Disney had left aside the princess world until Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 tale was adapted to create one of Disney's finest films.

As many other Disney movies in the past, Little Mermaid was originally planed to be animated years earlier, but was put on hold. Some delayed projects would have to wait a couple of years to get back on production, but in this case, the story was reworked almost 50 years after Walt Disney had planned to release it as a compilation of animated adaptations of various Andersen stories.

Little Mermaid just seems like the perfect combination of a superstar crew working on the project. First of all we have directors John Musker and Ron Clements, who also wrote the great script. They had already worked on Black Cauldron as screenwriters and as directors on Great Mouse Detective, but it was on Little Mermaid that they actually proved what kind of stories they where capable of pulling off. They would go on to direct some of the finest movies from Disney in the 90s, and after a period of retirement, would go back to Disney to work on The Princess and the Frog.

Then we have the amazing trio of animators in charge of three of the main characters, Glen Keane (Ariel) Ruben Aquino (Ursula) and Andreas Deja (Triton). This movie is a turning point in Disney's characters. The animation in this movie is brilliant. The characters are so alive, and have such great personalities.

We could just focus on Ariels facial expressions when she meets Prince Eric after being turned into a human, and see how beautifully animated the whole scene is.

Or take a close look at Ursula's movement in the Poor unfortunate souls sequence and be amazed by the way her whole body is animated.
The use of live action actors is still used all the time in animation these days, and for Little Mermaid, the animators used Sherri Stoner as a reference for Ariel.

Then we have a great duo of composers who worked on the music for this movie, and almost all of the movies from the 90's , Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. As the Sherman brothers did in the 60's, these two created some of the most emblematic Disney songs of Disney's renaissance like Kiss the Girls, Friend Like Me, Beauty and the Beast and so many others. With the help of Jodi Benson as Ariel, the whole movie is a musical masterpiece. 

So we finally enter the 90's, a great decade for Disney animated features. Some of my favourite movies are from this period. What's your favourite film from the 90's and who are your fav characters?

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