The Little Mermaid Review
Welcome back! I finally went back to the cineplex for the first in the post-pandemic era. A lot has changed. I really enjoy the IMAX or Dolby Atmos style experience, but it seems like modern films are too underwhelming for the time and cost of movie theater outings. Fortunately, the live action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a breath of fresh air in a crowded landscape. Allow me to explain below.
I’m sure many fans of the animated movie are worried about changes and liberties. Yes, this adaptation changes many elements from the animated version, but I would say that’s a good thing. It retains the basic story and overall spirit of Disney’s animated film while fixing some problems. The live action remake fixes many plot holes and provides backstory along with context from the animated movie. What happened to Ariel’s mother? Why does Ariel fall for a stranger on land so easily? Why do King Triton and Ursula hate each other? Where does the story really take place? This film answers those questions and many others cleverly with clear explanations.
Most of the characters had a big makeover in terms of appearance and personality, which was a welcomed change for someone like me. Ariel is more like an explorer and adventurer who wants to learn about the human race, their landscape, and culture. She’s brave, clever, and quite intelligent with a thirst for knowledge. Ariel is also more independent and less of a damsel in distress. Halle Bailey is an excellent choice for Ariel with a strong singing voice, kindness, and curiosity. I also appreciated similar changes to Prince Eric, played by Jonah Hauer-King. He’s equally fascinated about the ocean’s mysteries and has a similarly adventurous spirit to Ariel. Their relationship develops organically through the story rather than an oversimplification of love at first sight.
Other characters also receive some positive changes while retaining their most important elements from the animated version. Melissa McCarthy is surprisingly effective, menacing, and witty as Ursula. Somehow, the purple skin, tentacles, and white hair works just fine and the movie gives her a bigger emphasis on the sea witch title. Javier Bardem is mostly a straight forward version of King Triton from the animated film, but he has a few nuanced changes as well. I even prefer this version of Ariel’s sisters, who have more screen time and personality. They also represent the original Seven Seas.
How did the CGI animal companions fair? Sebastian, Flounder, and Scuttle are a fun and endearing trio. They actually have very important roles in the movie, which I won’t spoil. Daveed Diggs is very funny as Sebastian and the character is actually kind of cute in a strange way. Awkwafina is amusing as Skuttle with a variety of clumsy hijinks. I wish Flounder was less bug eyed, but he grew on me as the story progressed. Ursula’s duo of eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, are a darker and creepier version of the characters. Disney focused on photo realistic animals and it worked much better than I anticipated.
You don’t have to worry about the music in this version of The Little Mermaid. It has one of the best soundtracks among the live action remakes. Everyone does a fantastic job with their musical roles, but I want to give particular attention to Halle Bailey. She’s one heck of a singer. I suppose it makes sense because she has a background in the music industry. You might notice subtle changes in some of the lyrics, but none of it made a significant difference in my opinion.
My complaints are very small. Sometimes the visual effects looks like a video game. They can seem cartoonish and unpolished. Basically, the CGI is an inconsistent because it can look amazing or really weird. I definitely felt a few pacing issues. Maybe the movie was 15 minutes too long. I also never felt like Atlantica was a fully realized kingdom. It seems like Disney kept the sea creatures down to a minimum and Atlantica had an understated design. Granted, more CGI was probably prohibitively expensive.
Here’s my public service announcement. I know some fans of the animated movie are determined to hate the changes in the 2023 remake. Sorry, but changes were absolutely necessary. The animated version of Ariel was dumb, gullible, and her entire fascination with the surface world was about a guy she had a crush on. I would go as far to say Ariel was a bad influence on young ladies. There! I said it and mean it! This new and improved version of Ariel is a better role model with actual character development and a mind of her own. It’s about time.
That’s the end of my review. Have you seen the latest version of The Little Mermaid yet? Are you planning to see it in theaters or waiting for streaming? Leave a comment. Play nice. No toxic fandoms allowed. Maybe I’ll see a few more films in theaters before the end of the year. I’m prioritizing movies that would be a good experience on premium screens. Thanks for visiting and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Let’s go, my fellow gamers! It’s time for the Summer Game Fest! The big gaming news for 2023 started with an hour long PlayStation showcase. It wasn’t the most exciting showcase from Sony, but I found plenty of great announcements. Here are my favorite trailers and PlayStation entries in the Summer Game Fest.
Assassin’s Creed: Mirage
I was pleasantly surprised with this announcement. Assassin’s Creed: Mirage had a brand new trailer with gameplay and a release date. I thought it was getting pushed back in the 2024 release window, but this game is coming out on October 17 instead. Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong. Mirage is going back to the roots of Assassin’s Creed with an emphasis on stealth mechanics. I’m not very good at stealth games, but there’s a lot of demand for a traditional AC experience. Hopefully, it will be accessible to the hardcore AC fanbase and casual gamers.
Cat Quest: Pirates of the Purribean
We’re finally getting a new Cat Quest game in 2024! If you’re unfamiliar with the Cat Quest franchise, it’s a side scrolling, 2D series in the vein of Zelda. The protagonist is always a cat in a fantasy world. In this case, the game will take influences from Pirates of the Caribbean and similar titles. I’m sure it will be an entertaining adventure game with plenty of charm and humor.
Dragon’s Dogma II
Honestly, I never played the first Dragon’s Dogma, but this sequel appears to be a fun action RPG. Details are vague, although it seems like this game might have an open world environment and a variety of boss fights. This fantasy RPG shares similarities with The Witcher and Dragon Age. Capcom didn’t provide a release window, which means we could be looking at a 2024 launch or later.
Final Fantasy XVI
I was surprised to see the latest Final Fantasy game at this showcase because Square Enix is having a pre-launch celebration on June 11. Final Fantasy XVI adds dramatic changes to the franchise’s gameplay and it looks far more appealing to me than previous releases. It seems like the combat has several new features and the characters actually turn into massive creatures for summoning. This game might prove divisive, but I’m definitely curious.
Immortals of Aveum
Who says we don’t see new IPs anymore? Immortals of Aveum reminds me of Halo with a magical twist. This first person action game is launching on July 20, although the gameplay looks kind of rough. Hopefully, the project will be functional enough to release on time. At the moment, the story seems convoluted, but I’m fascinated with the game’s blend of FPS mechanics and magical spells. 2023 is becoming a big year for magic IPs.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Everyone waited excitedly for this PlayStation exclusive. In fact, Spider-Man 2 was one of the few single player exclusives at this showcase. On a positive note, this game looks daring and ambitious with a great cast of characters, including villains like Venom and Kraven the Hunter. Peter Parker obtains the black Spider-Man suit early in the game and Miles Morales also plays a big role in the story. Spider-Man 2 probably has a bigger map than the previous entries, although the gameplay looks unpolished. I’m feeling a little worried because Sony didn’t announce a release date. Allegedly, this long awaited sequel is still on track for a Fall release, but we’ll see. It’s better to have a functional game than a broken mess.
Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater
I heard leaks about the remake of Metal Gear Solid 3. It’s probably a PlayStation 5 exclusive, but the real details are a complete mystery. Konami didn’t reveal the development team or anything else. The trailer was just a brief cinematic cutscene. I never played the Metal Gear series, but this game might be a decent way to begin. Given the lack of gameplay, Metal Gear Solid Delta is probably in the early stages of development. I doubt we’ll see a release any time soon.
Phantom Blade 0
How should I describe this game? It’s a dark fantasy that takes place in ancient China with an emphasis on hack and slash combat. The gameplay looks fast and exciting in a bleak environment. Some people love the soulsborne genre, but I’ve never been a fan. I prefer a combat style that’s more similar to Ghost of Tsushima. Maybe this game will be something entirely different. Regardless, I’ll keep an eye on this one. Phantom Blade 0 is most likely a PlayStation exclusive and it’s probably coming in 2024 or beyond.
Street Fighter 6
Here was another surprise at the PlayStation showcase. Capcom is marketing hard for Street Fighter 6. I hope it lives up to the hype. This fighting game seems like a breath of fresh air with a multitude of characters, new combat styles, modern animation, and innovative accessibility features. June 2 is the release date, which is hardly a week away. I don’t know if the hardcore Street Fighter fanbase will approve or not. We’ll see what happens.
The following games weren’t part of the PlayStation showcase, but they had recent announcements during the Summer season.
AEW Fight Forever
There was a time when I played wrestling games on a regular basis. Nowadays, I’m not a fan of physics based WWE games from 2K or similar titles. AEW Fight Forever is a throwback to arcade wrestling games with fast pacing and less complexity. The gameplay looks downright messy, but I’ll check it out anyway. Plus, THQ Nordic announced a release date for June 29. It’s coming out at the end of the month, which was unexpected news. THQ Nordic isn’t a partner in the Summer Game Fest, but it seems like they have announcements lined up.
Alone in the Dark
Horror fans are eating well this year. The reboot of Alone in the Dark seems like a challenging survival horror game with influences from the Cthulhu mythos. It also stars David Harbor and Jodie Comer as the playable characters. This game is releasing on October 25, just in time for Halloween. It’s another recent announcement from THQ Nordic and we might see more before the end of the Summer.
Mortal Kombat 1
I expected an announcement for this new Mortal Kombat universe. However, the gameplay trailer was a much bigger reveal than I anticipated. The trailer for Mortal Kombat 1 included brutal and visceral fatalities with impressive cinematics. We also got a release date on September 19, which was a huge shocker. I didn’t think a new Mortal Kombat installment would come out in 2023. Subverting expectations can be a wonderful thing.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II
Most of the Warhammer games have turn based combat or real time strategy elements, but Space Marine II is a third person shooter. Thank goodness for a little variety. The publisher is Focus Entertainment, which probably means it will be a solid AA title. Many of their games are linear with strong gameplay and interesting storytelling. At the very least, Space Marine II should have exciting combat and unique world building. The Warhammer showcase didn’t provide a release date, but it still might come out this year.
Not the most impressive list? Apparently, PlayStation is focusing on multiplayer games, VR support, underwhelming indie titles, and cloud gaming for some reason. The PlayStation fanboys are probably unhappy. Unfortunately, Sony didn’t show many single player games or first party exclusives. I suppose we’ll see how the rest of the Summer Game Fest performs. Did you enjoy the PlayStation showcase or did it feel like a huge disappointment? Do you have any predictions for the rest of the Summer Game Fest? Leave your thoughts, complaints, and theories in the comment section. It’s a rough world, so treat each other with respect. Thank you for visiting my blog and I promise to post more updates for the Summer Game Fest. Have a good week!
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