One of the first films of Disney’s modern era that truly rejuvenated the fabled studio (which marks another great new film with the arrival of Frozen this winter) is arriving on Blu-Ray for the first time, The Little Mermaid. First and foremost, The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition features the instant classic in a vibrant color and sound like never before. It is truly impressive.
We all know the story of Ariel, a loving life mermaid. She embarks on the journey of a lifetime with her BFF, Flounder, and the reggae-singing Caribbean crab Sebastian. She’ll need more than great friendship to make her dream come true of ensuring the continuation of her father’s kingdom from that evil sea witch named Ursula.
Besides the beyond amazing sights and sounds of witnessing The Little Mermaid in high definition, there is a bounty of extras that has never-before-seen materials… including a deleted character and an all-new music video from Carly Rae Jepsen!
That deleted character, Harold the Merman, is introduced and one can see why it was removed from the theatrical release. Yet, it is fascinating to see the Disney animators’ thought process in terms of streamlining their movie that became a classic. There is a distinct possibility that if Harold the Merman was included, the power of The Little Mermaid would not have been as strong.
Our favorite of all the bonus features on The Little Mermaid Blu-ray is Treasures Untold: The Making of The Little Mermaid. Disney was about to embark on a new era of excellence and to see how their first effort came together is, in many ways, a chronicle of Hollywood history. Without Disney’s animation rebirth, we might not have gotten Pixar or DreamWorks Animation and certainly not Blue Sky over at Fox.
Under the Sea: Early Presentation Reel is also a treasure to behold. The song and sequence would become a standard for Disney in its rebirth and to see how the sequence was originally produced through what we witness in the film itself is brilliant.
The Little Mermaid deleted scenes are many and are another spoke in the wheel of brilliance that is the Blu-Ray release. There are two alternative versions of deleted scenes; Fathoms Below and Poor Unfortunate Souls show another take of the omitted scene that has been featured on past DVDs. The gem of all the deleted scenes has to be Fight with Ursula, which is in fact an alternative ending for the entire film. Again, it shows how keenly aware the storytellers are at the studio to know what would work, and what would not. Given that the future, in many ways, of their studio hung in the balance, it is a stroke of genius what they included, and what they did not.
Two music videos enhance the entire package, with the aforementioned Part of Your World track from Carly Rae Jepsen illustrating the inspiration over new generations that the film still possesses. The Kiss the Girl video by Ashley Tisdale is quaint and is a nice addition from the singer/actress who would become famous in another Disney property, High School Musical.
The last bonus feature we would like to highlight is Animators Comment on Their Characters. Hearing firsthand from the artists who created the fictional souls that live beneath the sea that would enchant the world takes the entire The Little Mermaid Blu-Ray package and elevates it to a whole new level.
Additional bonus features:
- Under the Scene: The Art of Live Action Reference
- Howard’s Lecture
- Storm Warning: The Little Mermaid Special Effects Unit
- The Little Mermaid: The Story Behind the Story
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- John & Roo Make Caricatures of Each Other
- Clements and Musker demonstrating "The Little Mermaid Handshake"
- The Little Match Girl
- DisneyPedia: Life Under the Sea
- Under the Sea Adventure: A Virtual Ride Inspired By Disney Imaginers: Ride The Attraction