What ‘The Little Mermaid’ Remake can learn from ‘Splash’ 

The live-action remake of the 1989 classic movie is due out this May with Halle Bailey as the titular mermaid and Melissa McCarthy as the evil Ursula. Fans have been eagerly awaiting the remake ever since Bailey was first announced as Ariel the mermaid back in July 2019. 

Many fans, however, are worried that it will not live up to the same expectations that the 1989 animated film gave audiences. However, given that the studio had the confidence to put the film out into theaters when it comes out, it seems that this may be a remake that is set to break box-office records and be a pure delight with the critics given that the teaser trailer has already blown away so many just by looking at its visual scope and magnitude. 

However, there is one movie that this Disney remake can learn from another mermaid movie. That movie being Splash, of course, and even though that is said to also be getting a remake, let’s just focus on the Ron Howard film. 

In Ron Howard’s 1984 feature, a lonely man named Allen (Tom Hanks) encounters a beautiful mermaid named Madison (Daryl Hannah) who saves Allen’s life after almost drowning at sea. The two meetup again on land when Madison uses his wallet to try and find Allen. 

The story is a sweet, realistic, comedic take on falling in love with a mermaid but the plot and romance are not what The Little Mermaid remake can learn. I’m actually talking about the practical effects in the film. While watching it, I noticed that Madison’s tail was completely practical and that would have, obviously, been the case because it was 1984 and CGI was not really a thing back then. 

Knowing that CGI was not used and the filmmakers still managed to capture a beautiful underwater world and a replication of what a mermaid might have looked like was magnificent to look at. For the case of the 2023 movie, it’s obvious that CGI will be inevitable but overusing it may sully the art form and the film may rely too heavily upon the artists to bring their creations to life because the last thing that I want from this remake is an oversaturated CG world that can’t find the balance between reality and computer data. 

If director Rob Marshall pulls this trick off well, nobody has anything to worry about and we can all go home with light hearts. 

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