This is my very first time watching The Little Mermaid, and I started watching it pretty sure I would hate it. I saw a little bit of Beauty and the Beast recently: not all of it, but enough for me to feel like it's a movie that's better off remembered than rewatched. Not this one.
Based off of an 1837 story by Hans Christien Anderson, The Little Mermaid is about a sixteen-year old mermaid named Ariel who has always been interested in the enemy: humans, to sinking and sunken ships, to dinglehoppers, to wooden mouth pipes. Interested in running, things that burn, there's just so much adventure in a universe she can't visit because her caring but demanding father King Triton fears that all humans are vicious and would find a way to take advantage of you if you were ever seen. The thing is, despite the crab Sebastien (aka Triton's servant) telling her about all the glory of living under the sea in a surprisingly good musical number, there isn't really anything for Ariel anymore. Not when she meets a man on a ship and it's love at first sight (for Ariel, anyway.) This Prince Eric still hasn't met the woman of his dreams, but he knows of Ariel's existence, just not the mermaid part. With this new man for a goal, what will she go through to be with him?
Surprisingly, everything possible. I don't think I've ever seen an animated movie that's this romantic, ever. The Little Mermaid is filled with bright colours, pleasant voice actors, and as I said, has a relationship, which this time doesn't end up too bumpy to not warrant a second viewing, and I feel it is refreshing to see the lady do something for the man for a change instead of the other way around. "Daddy, I love him!" Ariel points out once, and I marvelled at that. Also, basically every other animated Disney musical - even Alladin - had a song that I wished was a little bit different or just never happened at all. I was a bit skeptical about the first song in The Little Mermaid, but it ended I think properly, and for the first time, there was a scene where I kind of desired a song. The songs do more than distract us from the fact that not much might not be happening, because that's usually not the cause here. They are easy to dance to and I think fit the bill, especially this chef-crab incident, and the last few minutes were surprisingly very intense and were exactly what I was looking for.
There are a few Little Mermaid sequels: Return to the Sea, and Ariel's Beginning, and maybe one I haven't heard of, and I wish those movies were never released and I don't have any desire to see them. You can't top perfection.