Rated G - Running time: 1:22 - Re-released 11/14/97

Well, what can I say about it? Originally released in 1989, The Little Mermaid is the one that started the new incarnation of Disney; after a period of mediocre animated features, this was the kickoff to the new era. What followed was the string of Oscar-winning hits we now know and love: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, etc.

Ariel (voice of Jodi Benson) is a mermaid who dreams of life above the surface. Against the wishes of her father Triton, the king of the ocean (Kenneth Mars), she involves herself in a plot to meet a handsome prince after saving his life. Unfortunately, to do that she's got to make a desperate deal with Ursula, the sea witch (Pat Carroll). With a trio of hapless friends on her side [Sebastian the crab (Samuel E. Wright), Flounder the flounder (Jason Marin), and Scuttle the seagull (Buddy Hackett)], she barely gets by.

The Alan Menken/Howard Ashman soundtrack is exceptional, featuring hits like "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl," and "Part of Your World," and the animation and characterization are top-notch. All the voice actors do an excellent job, particularly Carroll, who practically steals the show as Ursula, and Wright, whose Jamaican crab accent is funny and lovable.

Those who are interested probably have already seen this, or have their own copy at home. I find it a little disconcerting that Disney is already re-releasing this eight-year-old movie, showing that they obviously have nothing else ready for the holiday season to compete with Don Bluth's Anastasia. Does this mean they're moving away from their recent habit of releasing a feature every six months, and planning to start dishing out reruns on a regular basis? But it's still worth seeing at the theatre, and the new generation of little ones will love seeing their old favorite on the big screen. *****

Copyright 1997 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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