Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, Rapunzel, all these names paint a picture of childhood innocence and saccharine days. There is an intense admiration for or a strong desire to be like these fantasy characters. But times have changed drastically since then and the woke culture of the contemporary world is not one to put up with “problematic” storylines. Gone are the days when prince charming could kiss Snow White without her consent, irrespective of whether or not it was to save her life.
So, keeping the “change is the only constant” mantra in mind, Disney’s The Little Mermaid remake too, is going to feature certain tweaks from the original animation. Modern Ariel won’t be sacrificing it all in the name of love this time.
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The Little Mermaid (2023) – A Shift From the Classic Tale
Disney’s remake of The Little Mermaid is already set to break stereotypes by starring a female lead of color, but that’s not the only major change in the forthcoming musical.
In the 1989 original, Ariel ends up losing her voice for the sake of her grand love, and while that might’ve made people swoon back then, it has evoked more unpleasant reactions in recent years. In fact, renowned stars like Kiera Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean) even forbade her daughters from watching the classic animation at home out of concern that Ariel’s sacrifice carried a wrong message. In light of the same, Rob Marshall, the director of the modern remake starring Halle Bailey, has ensured that the upcoming movie won’t be repeating that mistake.
“We felt the same way,” Marshall, 62, said of the controversial plot-line in a recent issue of SFX Magazine. “What makes it a very modern story is that [Ariel’s] not giving up her voice for a man, that’s not what’s happening here.”
Rather than the titular princess surrendering her voice for the prince, Bailey’s Ariel in the live-action remake will give it up because she believes the sea’s inhabitants are shutting the surface world out owing to the wrong reasons. This theme, which urges one to “not be afraid of the ‘other,'” is not only a more accurate representation of today’s times but also sends a much more valuable message that “we’re all one.”
“That idea was very modern, to not be afraid of the ‘other’. When we were making this, walls were being put up and divisions were being created, and people were getting more insular. This is a character who’s reaching through fear. They are building a bridge as opposed to a wall. It was an antidote to what was happening in the world and to the divisions that were and are happening in the world. It is a reminder that we’re all one.”
Modern Ariel has bigger problems than just pursuing her forbidden lover.
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How Ariel And Prince Eric’s Romance Will Be Different
In the classic animation, Ariel struck up a bargain with the malicious witch Ursula wherein she surrenders her voice entirely in exchange for a pair of human legs so that she could be with Prince Eric on land. But Disney’s 21st-century remake won’t showcase that. Instead, Marshall’s direction will be about how the two characters are more willing to fight for their love by bridging the gap between their communities as opposed to throwing their entire lives away.
Related: The Little Mermaid Confirms Halle Bailey’s Ariel, Not Prince, Eric Defeats Ursula Unlike the Original 1989 Classic
“This young, naive, headstrong girl finds this kindred spirit because Eric has a different trajectory. He is not afraid of the ‘other’. They find each other from these different worlds, not being afraid to be with each other against all odds, and they build that bridge. She’s not just falling for the cute guy.”
So, while the narrative core will still be the same, more or less, The Little Mermaid will have a more modern spin on it this time around.
The Little Mermaid opens in theatres on May 26, 2023.
Source: SFX Magazine