The Little Mermaid remake could learn from Disney's mistakes (but won't)
It's possible that 2023's The Little Mermaid has learned from Disney's remake missteps, but it may not change enough to right their remake mistakes.
Disney's live-action remakes have been under fire, but the upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid may have a chance to outdo its predecessor's mistakes. In the 2010s, Disney kicked off a trend of releasing live-action versions of its most beloved animated classics, drawing criticism that they weren't sufficiently different from the originals to justify their existence. However, Disney's upcoming remake of 1989's The Little Mermaid has shown some early promise for doing something new that's not unlike previous remakes.
While Disney's other live-action remakes have tended to be one-for-one adaptations of the original animation, The Little Mermaid has broken the mold of the live-action remake. From a diverse cast to musical additions to the original's iconic soundtrack, The Little Mermaid made a plethora of changes, showing it can overcome criticism of Disney's other remakes. While the Little Mermaid remake seems promising at first glance, it's hard to hold any hope for The Little Mermaid given that Disney seems to be ignoring the shortcomings of its previous remakes. With the upcoming live-action Disney film not due until 2023, only time will tell if The Little Mermaid has learned from its mistakes senior.
Why The Little Mermaid Can Finally Be Different
Most of Disney's previous live-action remakes have drawn criticism for focusing too much on the real-life version of the original (such as The Lion King), but The Little Mermaid has shown that it can be different. The Little Mermaid has strayed from previous live-action Disney remakes with its diverse cast, notably Halle Bailey as Ariel. While The Little Mermaid's cast has been negatively impacted, Bailey's Ariel diversifies a story that was previously portrayed as all-white, making it possible for The Little Mermaid to tell a better story and attract more fans.
Another big change from The Little Mermaid in 2023 is the new addition to the soundtrack. Disney's "Renaissance" era films are defined by their iconic music, especially The Little Mermaid, so changing that would be extremely risky, but it also bodes well for live-action adaptations. For the upcoming Disney remake, Lin-Manuel Miranda has teamed up with original The Little Mermaid composer Alan Menkin to write new songs for the soundtrack. However, given how prominently Halle Bailey's version of "Part of Your World" is featured in the trailer, fans of The Little Mermaid can rest assured that the soundtrack The special features of the original film will be preserved.
Why Disney Will Probably Not Make The Little Mermaid Different Enough
Despite indications that 2023's The Little Mermaid will differ from the original Disney film, it is unlikely to avoid Disney's previous criticism. As promising as its elements are, The Little Mermaid could join a slew of live-action remakes, all of which contain the same problems. One example is Disney's Pinocchio remake, which received the same criticism, showing that Disney hasn't changed its remake formula. Since The Little Mermaid was already in production after Pinocchio was released, it's unlikely that any lessons from Pinocchio will be applied to the latest remake.