Haunted Mansion Review

 Ready for a little spookiness in August? I'll be honest the desire to throw on a jumper, buy pumpkins and embrace all things spooky has hit me early this year, mainly due to the depressing summer weather here in the UK. But something still feels slightly off about releasing a ghost movie in the middle of summer but that is exactly what Disney have done with Haunted Mansion. Haunted Mansion is the second film of its name release by Disney, The Haunted Mansion (Rob Minkoff, 2003) was my go-to childhood scary movie, although there is no link between the two films. It is also the second film to be based on a Disney ride, the first being the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The ride features at five Disney Parks, under three names: The Haunted Mansion, Phantom Manor and Mystic Manor, and the film makes numerous nods to the dark ride. So, join me foolish mortals on a journey to the Haunted Mansion.  Haunted Mansion's opening act is perfect, scary and full of mystery. As we open

The Little Mermaid Review

It’s time to take a trip under the sea with Disney’s newest live action reimagining: The Little Mermaid. The animated classic was released in 1989 to critical acclaim, it is credited as breathing life back into Disney animations and began the renaissance period of Disney movies. After multiple live action remakes, all with varying degrees of success, more often than not failing to equal their animated counterparts, can the live action The Little Mermaid live up to the legacy of its animated counterpart? I’m pleased to say it makes a decent attempt, The Little Mermaid is an interesting remake, that fails to fully carve its own identity but it’s still an enjoyable watch. As a massive Disney fan, I’m excited to share my thoughts with you! So, read on for my full review. (There may be minor spoilers). 

There is nothing quite like sitting in a cinema, the lights darken and the Disney opening begins, it signals the impending magic! And the new Disney 100 opening is just stunning, as it comes to a close, we are transported to a world of life both above and below the sea. Halle Bailey delivers a wonderful performance as Ariel, the mermaid that dreams of a human life above the sea with her prince, Eric (Jonah Hauer-King). The adaptation features all the favourites alongside Ariel and Eric: Javier Bardem delivered an okay performance as King Triton, Melissa McCarthy stole the film as Ursula, bringing sass, humour and style to the role. The various voice roles of: Sebastian (Daveed Diggs), Scuttle (Awkwafina) and Flounder (Jacob Tremblay) are all perfect. Just like the characters, the main story goes mostly unchanged. Additions are made, but they make the overall story feel rushed at times which is a shame and a surprise considering the two hours plus runtime. A running theme with the live action remakes of recent is the hesitancy to copy the animated version shot by shot, but also being hesitant to change anything in any real meaningful way. Which leaves the film in a limbo situation, and in the case of The Little Mermaid we get a film that is at times conflicted in its general vibe and tone. The mashing of the original, with new ideas not coming together seamlessly. 

The main issue with The Little Mermaid and this combining of old and new is the songs. ‘Part of Your World’ and its reprises, ‘Under the Sea’, ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ and ‘Kiss the Girl’ all feature alongside three new songs. Be prepared that ‘Les Poissons’ does not feature at all. The three new songs are equally disappointing, so clearly written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, they do not even try to blend and fit with the original songs, creating that conflict in tone. The first of the songs sung by Eric, ‘Wild Uncharted Waters’, is perhaps the most disappointing, it’s rare to have a song by a prince in a Disney Princess movie. And this song was nothing but boring, ill placed in the narrative and did not fit the sound. The second, ‘For the First Time’ sung by Bailey was sweet yet unmemorable and better suited to the stage. The final song, ‘The Scuttlebutt’ is sure to be a hit with children but again didn’t blend. Alan Menken once again delivers a magical and enchanting score, the perfect partner to the visual spectacle. Director Rob Marshall and Cinematographer Dion Beebe visually create a true Disney fairytale, easily the most stunning live-action adaptation. Each shot is beautifully crafted, the scenes above the sea are full of light and vibrant colours. Under the sea, they play with shadows and bold colours, the overall result is captivating. My favourite visual moments are: During Under the Sea, the fireworks and the Kiss the Girl boat scene.  

Bailey’s performance is delightful, her expressions during the scenes where Ariel has given up her voice, faultless. I loved the moment she helps Eric guess her name. But it is McCarthy who is absolutely sensational, she was born the play the role and I need more! Hauer-King is drab and leaves little impression, similar to Bardems Performance. Ariel’s sisters, are upgraded from singing in a show to, and it’s a little unclear but I believe rulers or protectors of the world’s oceans? And they gather for a meeting called the Coral Moon, again it’s a little unclear what this actually is. They certainly should have had a larger role throughout the film. The final element of the film to touch on is the costume. The mermaids look wonderful, Ariel’s tail is beautiful. But the dresses Ariel wears whilst human are disappointing, to start there is only one dress in two colours, you have the blue one and the pink one. Both of which are fine, but when you compare them to the four dresses Ariel wore in the animation, I couldn’t help but feel shortchanged. Where was the wedding dress, where was the glittery purple dress Ariel wears when she turns human? I expected more from Colleen Atwood costume wise. 

Overall, The Little Mermaid is a visual spectacle, that at times would have benefited from either sticking more closing to or distancing itself from the original animation. Bailey and McCarthy are unmissable, a pure joy to watch. I could certainly see scope for an Ursula prequel. Despite its faults, The Little Mermaid is an enjoyable watch, that will bring some much-needed magic into your day. 

What did you think of The Little Mermaid? Leave a comment!

Thank you for reading xx


  1. Anonymous30/5/23

    I really enjoyed the movie and I also loved the ‘under the sea’ performance,it was also a visual spectacle.


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