“The Little Mermaid” is back.
And this time the beloved Disney classic, originally released in 1989 and heralding a new golden age of animated features for the company, is being brought to life via a combination of live-action photography and computer-generated imagery. It still loosely conforms to the story laid out by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837 and hews more closely to the animated feature written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.
Ariel (now portrayed by Halle Bailey) is still a feisty mermaid living under the thumb of her overbearing father King Triton (Javier Bardem). She still swoons over Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) and makes a Faustian bargain with Ursula the sea witch (Melissa McCarthy). And she still has a trio of animal sidekicks (Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina and Daveed Diggs). If you’ve seen the animated original, you’ll be able to predict what is around every crashing wave, which isn’t to say that there aren’t a host of wild deviations.
Let’s run through the 13 biggest differences between the live-action remake and original animated versions of this Disney classic. A word of warning, though: spoilers for the new movie follow.