During the 95th Annual Academy Awards, the stars of Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid presented the first trailer for the long-anticipated film. Halle Bailey will play curious mermaid Ariel and Melissa McCarthy will play the notorious antagonist Ursula. Bailey and McCarthy stepped out on stage and were introduced in the same manner as all the other awards presenters, but instead of handing out an award, they surprised the audience with a first look at The Little Mermaid!
The trailer includes many recognizable scenes from the iconic 1989 animated film of the same name. The trailer opens with a shipwreck. Ariel spots an unconscious Prince Eric (played by Jonah Hauer-King), who has fallen from the ship and is sinking into the ocean. She brings him to the surface, saving his life. When she returns home to her underwater kingdom, her father King Triton (played by Javier Bardem) chastises her for meddling with human life. Immediately after his warning, Ariel is shown swimming to the surface again to investigate the sound of fireworks. Her best friend Flounder (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) warns her to stop.
We soon see Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, convincing Ariel to give up her voice to become human. It doesn’t take much effort to convince her, and she sacrifices her voice to gain legs. Once Ariel becomes human, we see her seagull friend Scuttle (voiced by Awkwafina) and crab guardian Sebastian (Daveed Diggs). Scuttle can’t quite pinpoint what’s different about Ariel, so Sebastian kindly points it out: “She got legs, you idiot!”
The rest of the trailer is a montage of colorful scenes set to Halle Bailey singing “Part Of Your World.” Her beautiful singing voice is perfectly suited to the character of Ariel. From the looks of it, many scenes in the trailer remain faithful to the original film. We get a glimpse of the “Kiss The Girl” scene with Ariel and Prince Eric in the rowboat. From the set to the costuming, it appears to be very closely modeled on the original scene.
The cast of The Little Mermaid is a great mixture of talented seasoned actors and promising newcomers. Jonah Hauer-King, who plays Prince Eric, has had several acting roles prior to this casting, including a starring role in A Dog’s Way Home in 2019, but this will be his first major role in a Hollywood blockbuster.
Halle Bailey herself is a relative newcomer as well. She has an established musical career with her sister Chloe as part of the duo Chloe X Halle. She had some minor roles before playing Skyler Forster in the television show Grown-ish, which was her largest role prior to this casting. Playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid will be her first starring role in a major motion picture.
In addition to these fresh faces, we saw several familiar actors in the trailer as well. Melissa McCarthy plays a wickedly entertaining Ursula, with the perfect eyeshadow look to match the animated version. Javier Bardem takes on a fatherly role as merman King Triton. Jacob Tremblay nails the voice of anxiety-ridden Flounder. And Daveed Diggs is sure to be great in voicing the neurotic Sebastian the crab. The voice casting of Awkwafina as confidently incorrect Scuttle has lots of potential as well.
One of The Little Mermaid’s most important elements is the music. The film is co-produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose passion for music is an asset to the film. Alan Menken, longtime Disney collaborator and composer who scored the original film, returned to score the remake and write new songs with Miranda. Together they wrote four new original songs to be included alongside the classics we all know and love. Miranda has hinted that there may be some rapping included as well. We can’t wait to hear the new additions to the soundtrack!
After much anticipation, the surprise first look at The Little Mermaid did not disappoint. The visual effects are stunning and will be even more beautiful on the big screen. It is sure to be a wonderful way to introduce new audiences to a story beloved by fans for the last 34 years.
The Little Mermaid premieres in theatres on May 26th! See it at Regal.