The Little Mermaid - 2 Disc Special Edition DVD Set
B- Sound: B- Extras: C Film: B
Finally, The Little Mermaid has been re-released
on a 2-Disc, Special Edition, digital restored DVD. With the classic Hans Christian Anderson
storyline, mesmerizing artwork and memorable musical scores The Little Mermaid stands above many
animated features of yesterday and today.
There was a period prior to the late 1980’s when the Disney
Corporation’s animation department was in a very stagnant state. With the coming of Oliver and Company in 1988, which infused Disney artwork with the
musical sound of Billy Joel, it was obvious that Disney was about to
drastically improve. This feature film
now on 2-Disc Special Edition highlights why the world has fallen in love with
the world of Disney.
The Little Mermaid was the spark which ignited the
flame for a new generation of Disney.
Slues of hits were to follow right in line with the innovative nature of
The Little Mermaid such as Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994). This little spark made a huge flame for
future films to benefit from; winning two Academy Awards of its own, then Beauty and the Beast being the first
animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture, and The Lion King being the highest grossing traditional animated film
of all time. Disney was finally growing
again, having a solid and groundbreaking animation and musical team.
The Little Mermaid is a captivating tale of
something that many experience; the want or urge to be part of a world where
they know they do not belong. Issues,
watching the special features, that we find the original author (Hans Christian
Anderson) had himself being in love with an upper class woman where he was a
mere, penniless, author. Examining the
past we find that Walt Disney himself had intentions of making The Little Mermaid back in 1941, having
higher artist to paint watercolor storyboards and concept art. Walt Disney’s original 1941 storyline focused
more heavily on Anderson’s morbid and darker concepts, such as the mermaid
giving up her voice by allowing the sea witch cutting off her tongue and in the
end never getting the prince. In the
end, the 1989 Disney staff making a smart and family friendly choice that we
have grown to know Disney for opting for a more mystical edge and happy ending.
direction of this feature animated film is what ingrains The Little Mermaid in our memory.
Only consisting of four songs the film elicits such an incredible
musical vibe that it seems like much more, jumping form one song to the next.
this is in the top ten Disney classics (if not all animated classics) of all
time. The degree of skill and heart
which transcended into this picture is a work of art. The
Little Mermaid being cleaned up in sound and picture quality for this
special/limited issue by Disney was a very good choice. Expect similar treatment for Peter Pan in March of 07’ and The Jungle Book next October 2007.
Disney spouting left and right about cleaning up picture and sound I wish more
effort would have been put into doing so.
For much of the picture it seems that certain scenes (such as the
musical) were heavily concentrated on and others were left in poor, untouched
condition; which is very sad. At times
the picture is way too dark and grainy, loosing much of the art quality that is
in the scenic backdrops of the underwater world. The sound is presented in Disney Enhanced
Home Theater Surround, which is Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, and lacks
much of the time being too soft and clouded.
The original release was analog Dolby A-type theatrical sound on 35mm
prints, but had a 6-track 4.1 Dolby magnetic stereo 70mm blow-up soundtrack in
its original theatrical release, then a DTS theatrical reissue in 1997. Where are those tracks?
great caliber of music which exists for this film I would expect Disney to step
up to the plate and give the audience a clean sound. The extras are plentiful, but very
lackluster. A list of most extras:
by co-writers/directors John Musker and Ron Clements and composer Alan Menken
Little Mermaid III musical sneak peek
scenes and alternate ending with filmmaker introduction
"Kiss the Girl" music video performed by Ashley Tisdale
Untold: The Making of The Little Mermaid
Warning: The Little Mermaid Special Effects Unit
Story Behind the Story: featurette on author Hans Christian Anderson
short: The Little Match Girl
"Silent is Golden" song demo
the Sea Adventure: A Virtual Ride (based on an actual Disney Imagineering
with Disney Imagineers
the Ride that Almost Was
Life Under the Sea
the special features highlight “a ride that never was,” which is not very
exciting. One segment could have been
devoted to this never produced attraction, but it was a little overkill for
something that “never was.” For adults,
the extra feature of the sad but captivating “The Little Match Girl”
animated short is about all that is worth while. Where this viewer would like to say that
children would enjoy the cute extras, they are sure just to bore. Even the inappropriately named “Games and
Activities” section is sadly put together, THERE ARE NO GAMES. Where there should be a trivia or match game
present, Disney has opted to put a boring tour of “the ride that was almost
built.” In the end, where this viewer
and the world should be glad Disney yanked this classic from the vaults, more
collective thought should have been used for this restored DVD.
viewer highly recommends this DVD for kids of all ages! Yes, more time could have been placed into
the technicals of this DVD, but overall this film inspires all to smile, get chills,
and sing along. I am glad that this DVD is now part of my world!
- Michael P. Dougherty II