I’ll be perfectly honest, The Little Mermaid is one of my most favorite films of all time, animated or otherwise. Not only did it help usher in a new generation of Disney animated magic, but its just one of those movies that holds precious memories for me as I grew up watching it with my family and friends. Looking back now, it’s exciting to think how influential it would become in helping usher in the Disney Renaissance of the early 90s.
That said, it’s hard to believe it took them as long as it did, but Disney has made a near-perfect film even better by releasing it as an enhanced Blu-ray in their excellent The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition. From the beautiful hard-crafted art to the timeless songs, there’s never been a better way to go ‘under the sea’ with Disney’s classic than now.
The story follows the life of our sixteen-year old mermaid heroine Ariel (voiced to perfection by Jodi Benson) who loves to go exploring and learning all she can about humans and the surface world. Her overprotective father King Triton (Kenneth Mars) on the other hand doesn’t like her doing so, and after learning of one of the her recent adventures he sends her to her room. Frustrated by her father and still wanting to go exploring, Ariel sneaks off with her two friends Flounder and Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright) and soon comes across a ship with the young Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes) aboard, whom she takes a liking to. Without giving a lot away, this meeting sets off a chain of events which leads to all sorts of magic and adventure as Ariel finds a way to be with Eric and bring their two worlds together.
Everything I loved about the original classic is here and more, with the biggest improvement being the 3D version that’s included here. While the 3D does give a nice depth to the picture, it’s not as mesmerizing as when it was added to Beauty and the Beast 3D. Still, it’s a nice extra for those who enjoy the effect and depth it brings. And since the film has been given the diamond treatment, Disney has spared no expense cleaning up the visuals and making everything look and sound better than ever before in high-definition. The colors and art really shine here, and the incredible music and songs have never came through louder or clearer than they do here, which is sure to have families dancing when “Under the Sea” plays again and again.
There’s also plenty of special features to keep viewers busy long after the movie ends. There’s audio commentary with directors John Musker and Ron Clements, and composer Alan Menken who share their thoughts on the movie and how it all came together. “@DisneyAnimation” is a nice extra that features some of the new talent working at the studio as they meet with some of the older talent who worked on The Little Mermaid. Probably one of the coolest extras here is the “Disney Intermission” feature, which plays one of five random songs from the film in a karaoke style every time the Blu-ray is paused. Rounding out the extras are a behind the scenes feature, “Deleted Character” has the directors talking about how Harold the Merman was cut from the film, and plenty of more extras than you can shake a flipper at.
The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition takes an already near perfect film and makes it even better with an amazing high-definition transfer and added 3D version of the film. The remastered visuals have never looked better and the film’s amazing soundtrack remains one of the most memorable ever conducted; both of which are served well through the Blu-ray format. Fans of the beloved classic will feel like they’re going under the sea again for the first time, while newcomers are sure to love this whale of a magical tale.
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Walt Disney Studios