Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1989. Walt Disney Pictures, Silver Screen Partners IV. Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker. Screenplay by Ron Clements, John Musker, additional dialogue by Howard Ashman, Gerrit Graham, Sam Graham, Chris Hubbell, based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. Produced by Howard Ashman, John Musker. Music by Alan Menken. Production Design by Michael Peraza Jr., Donald Towns. Film Editing by Mark A. Hester. Academy Awards 1989. Golden Globe Awards 1989.
The Disney studios had fallen into a slump by the mid-eighties, their films performing poorly at the box office before writer/producer Howard Ashman came up with a project that turned things around and began the studio on its road to being the entertainment titan it is today. Inspired by the story by Hans Christian Andersen, this stunning film is about Ariel, a member of a royal mermaid family living deep beneath the sea who constantly disappoints her father Triton with her desires to be more than just a pair of swimming fins. Her fascination with the human world is merely mischief until she lays her eyes on a handsome human male named Eric and a goal is set: Ariel makes a deal with Ursula the sea-witch allowing her to become human in exchange for her voice, but then how is she to tell Eric who she is when it’s her voice that he recognizes her by? Gorgeously animated, this film’s finale is perfect for those who were horrified by the story as children, and is punctuated by a fantastic musical score written by Ashman and his Little Shop Of Horrors collaborator Alan Menken.