Last week, I took Andi out to see Disney’s live action remake of The Little Mermaid at the SM Aura cinema with her former classmates. We would have wanted to watch somewhere with the Director’s Cut seats – those plush and cushiony reclining armchairs with slots for snacks and drinks — but majority of us were closer to BGC, so to SM Aura we went!
In SM Aura, infants below 11 months old are allowed in the cinema and can watch the movie FOR FREE! Thus, Hailey, who had just turned 7 months old, got to tag along.
The last time Andi and her friends were all together was back in April, a day after their Moving Up Ceremony. So when they finally saw one another again, they couldn’t contain their excitement! There was a lot of hugging, jumping, and shrieking! They insisted on sitting next to one another so they occupied one row and the mommies sat together in the row behind them.
Hailey was with me, of course, strapped to a baby carrier. I’m so glad I brought the carrier with me because going up the stairs to go to our seats in a dark cinema was a bit of a challenge… especially when you’re also lugging around a stroller! Having a carrier definitely made navigating through the movie house easier for me. If you can skip the stroller, best to just leave it at home or in the car. But if you must bring one, I highly suggest purchasing a seat at the very end of the row so that you can keep it on the side and it’s not in the way when people try to find their seats.
The movie was really for the kids but I was actually looking forward to seeing it too. I’ve loved The Little Mermaid as a child and even as an adult, so I was intrigued to find out if the movie will do the well-loved animated classic enough justice.
Admittedly, when I first found out that it was Halle Bailey who was going to play Ariel, I was a bit surprised because… well, she looks nothing like the Ariel we grew up with! But when she started speaking and singing, I could see why she was cast for the role. She has a beautiful voice, which was sweet, just like that of the animated protagonist’s, but much more powerful. She was also able to channel the youthful, playful, energetic, and feminine aura of the original Ariel.
If you ask me, though, which character I like best in the movie, I think my choice would be – surprise, surprise! – Ursula (played by Melissa McCarthy)! We all know that Ursula is pure evil. But the Ursula in the live action was evil AND funny. It was during her scenes and Sebastian’s when I heard the most laughter from the audience. The way she quickly transitioned from one intense emotion to another was also really good. In fact, her performance was so effective that Andi’s friends started scrambling out of their seats to go up to the Mommies’ row, whimpering: “Mommy, I’m scared!” Haha! Annie said that she overheard her daughter Johara talking to Andi, saying “I’m scared” and Andi replied, “I’ll just remind you that it’s not real.” Andi said she wasn’t scared, but she did keep going up to my seat so maybe she was just a teeeensy bit frightened but was trying to be cool about it!
King Triton wasn’t really one of my favorite characters in the animated film, but for some reason, I felt more sympathy with the character (portrayed by Javier Bardem) in the live action. I think now that I’m seeing the movie as a mom – and most especially, as a mom to two girls – I can truly understand why he was so protective of his daughter and how difficult it must have been for him to let go of Ariel so that she can live her dreams. He may be a king, but most importantly, he is also a dad. I especially thought it was sweet when he would refer to Ariel as ‘my little one.’ I suddenly remembered my husband, who may look all big and tough, but is actually really a softie when it comes to his little girls!
My random thoughts while watching the movie:
- Sir Grimsby was cool. Good judge of character and had some valuable words of wisdom.
- Prince Eric can sing! But I feel like he looks a bit too old for Ariel.
- What happened to Flounder?! Was he on a diet?! The original Flounder’s defining features are his cute and chubby cheeks, and now the cheeks are gone! As my cousin said: “Mukha siyang pompano!” Hahaha!
- Sebastian looks stoned. Haha! It must be the eyes! But the voice, accent, and expressions were on point.
- I liked Ursula, and I also liked Vanessa (Ursula in human form). She was only in a few scenes, but she was very memorable.
- Ariel’s sisters are all gorgeous, but why do they all look different?! Do they have different mothers?!
- Wait, Ursula is Ariel’s aunt?!
- Why are some of the scenes so dark?
- Okay… I think this movie IS a bit scary for young children.
Overall, we all enjoyed the movie. With all the colorful visuals and catchy songs, I could imagine how magical and mesmerizing it must have been for the kids, especially to Hailey. Even if I’ve seen the cartoon version hundreds of times before, the 2023 film was still worth watching as they added some new elements, such as new songs, Ariel wearing high-heeled boots with her gown, that fun island party scene, and Ariel singing in her head (which the audience could hear) in contrast to the animated Ariel who was totally mute after she traded in her voice for her legs.
This movie is special to us because this was Hailey’s first time to watch a movie in the cinema. I’m happy to say that she was so well-behaved all throughout. Not once did she cry, and only wriggled and whined a bit when she was already hungry and sleepy. Funny thing is, she slept twice during the movie, despite the blaring noises! How did she do it?!
It’s also memorable because it was my first time to watch a movie with both my kids, and also Andi’s first movie with her friends. Having her friends there was definitely the highlight of the whole experience for her.
Have you seen The Little Mermaid? Did you like it? Tell me your thoughts!