The Little Mermaid (1989)

Film and Plot Synopsis

With unforgettable characters, thrilling adventures, soaring Academy Award®-winning music (1989: Best Music, Original Score, and Best Music, Original Song, “Under The Sea”), The Little Mermaid is one of the most celebrated animated films of all time. Venture under the sea where Ariel, a free-spirited mermaid princess, longs to be part of the human world. After bravely striking a bargain with Ursula, a sneaky sea witch, Ariel embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. With Flounder and Sebastian at her side, Ariel will need all of her courage and determination to make things right in both her worlds. (Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures)

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Little Mermaid, The [4K UHD]

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‘The Little Mermaid’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
The Little Mermaid (1989)Ariel (Jodi Benson) is a 16-year-old mermaid princess who lives in the Kingdom of Atlantica under the Atlantic Ocean. Despite being a princess, Ariel is unsatisfied with her life as a mermaid and dreams of being part of the human world above the sea. She collects human artifacts that have fallen into the ocean and wonders what each of the items does.

Ariel and her best friend Flounder (Jason Marin) often visit their friend Scuttle (Buddy Hackett), a seagull who often gives Ariel inaccurate information about her treasures and life above the sea. Ariel frequently travels on the surface of the ocean so that she can observe the humans and their ships. Ariel’s father, King Triton (Kenneth Mars), does not approve of her obsession with the surface world. He does not understand her desire to be apart of their world and forbids her from making any contact with the surface world.

One night, Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright), Triton’s crab advisor and the court composer, travel to the ocean surface to observe some fireworks that are being shot off from a ship. Once there, they see a birthday celebration for the young, handsome Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes). Eric’s family wishes for him to marry and settle down, but the prince has not met the woman of her dreams yet. Ariel immediately falls in love with the prince. Unfortunately, a sudden violent storm rolls in and causes havoc on the ship. Eric is thrown overboard, and Ariel rescues him and takes him back to the shore. While Eric is unconscious, Ariel sings to him. Her song concludes just as he regains consciousness, forcing Ariel to hide rather than revealing her existence as a mermaid. Eric is transfixed by the memory of the voice of the woman who saved him. Eric becomes obsessed with finding the girl.

Ariel too becomes obsessed with joining Eric in his world. Triton notices his daughter’s change in behavior and confronts Sebastian about what he knows. Loyal Sebastian tells his king the truth about Ariel’s love for a surface dweller. Triton travels to Ariel’s grotto where she stores her surface artifacts. In a rage, Triton destroys her treasures believing that he is protecting her from harm. Immediately after, Triton feels remorseful for what he has done, but he does not make amends with Ariel. Two blue eels. Flotsam and Jetsam (Paddi Edwards), observe the encounter and suggest to Ariel that she visit the sea witch, Ursula (Pat Carroll), for assistance.

Ariel, listen to me. The human world is a mess. Life under the sea is better than anything they got up there. Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright)

Ariel visits Ursula, who offers her assistance…for a price. Ursula tells Ariel that she can transform the mermaid into human form for three days in exchange for Ariel’s voice. Within the three days, Ariel must receive true love’s kiss from Eric to make the change permanent. Otherwise, she will transform back into a mermaid, and she will belong to Ursula. Ariel accepts and is immediately transformed into human form. Flounder and Sebastian rush her to the surface before she drowns. Ursula places Ariel’s voice into a nautilus shell. Secretly, Ursula plans on using Ariel as ransom to obtain Triton’s powerful, magical trident.

Once on shore, Ariel is discovered by Eric, who takes her back to his castle. Eric is unaware that Ariel is the one who saved him due to Ariel being mute. Over the next couple of days, Ariel spends most of her time with Eric. At the end of the second day, Eric almost kisses Ariel, due to Sebastian setting a romantic mood, but the kiss is interrupted by Flotsam and Jetsam who are spying on Ariel to ensure that she fails. Ursula is furious at Ariel’s near success and decides to become personally involved. She transforms herself into a human woman named Vanessa but uses Ariel’s voice to woo Eric. She also casts a hypnotic enchantment on Eric to make him forget about Ariel.

The next day, Ariel is informed that Eric will be marrying Vanessa immediately. Scuttle accidentally discovers Vanessa’s true identity and tells Ariel. Ariel pursues the wedding barge, while Scuttle does what he can to delay the wedding ceremony. Scuttle’s efforts accidentally break the nautilus shell around Ursula’s neck which restores Ariel’s voice and breaks the spell over Eric. At the same time, Sebastian returns to the kingdom and informs Triton of the situation. Triton rushes to help his daughter. On the ship, Eric rushes to kiss Ariel, but the sun sets, and Ariel transforms back into a mermaid and is imprisoned by Ursula. Triton arrives and confronts Ursula, demanding the release of his daughter. Ursula offers for Triton to take Ariel’s place and surrender his trident to the sea witch. Triton agrees and is immediately transformed into a polyp which causes him to lose control over Atlantica.

Bursting with new power, Ursula declares herself Queen of the Seven Seas. Eric tries to kill Ursula with a harpoon, and Ursula turns her attention to the surface dweller. Before Ursula can kill Eric, Ariel becomes involved, distracting the sea witch. Ursula uses her new power to try to kill Ariel, but accidentally kills Flotsam and Jetsam. An angered Ursula uses the trident to grow to an enormous size. Ursula gains control of the entire ocean and creates a vicious storm. Sunken ships rise to the surface and Eric commandeers one. Ursula captures Ariel and prepares to kill her when she is suddenly impaled by the ship that Eric is controlling. Ursula dies and all the polyps there were under her control, including Triton, revert to their original forms.

In the aftermath, Ariel realizes that she and Eric cannot be together due to their differences. Triton realizes that Ariel’s love for Eric is true and transforms her back to human form again. A short time later, Ariel and Eric marry on a ship at sea where both of their families watch in approval. After the ceremony, Ariel and Eric head out to sea to have their own adventures together.

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Our Rating

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution released The Little Mermaid on November 17, 1989. John Musker and Ron Clements directed the film starring Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, and Rene Auberjonois.

User Rating: 5 ( 3 votes)
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