Back in May, it was announced that Disney was eyeing a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of a mermaid who wants to be human. It was a massive success at the box office and as a result became an even bigger hit on home video. This move by Disney is really no surprise given the circumstances. Disney has been remaking their old classics left and right. While Maleficent is an absolute dumpster fire, both Cinderella and The Jungle Book are truly outstanding remakes. I can’t really comment on the most recent remake of Pete’s Dragon as I have yet to see it. If I’m being honest, I really don’t want to.
Just to get it out of the way, here’s a list of more live-action remakes on their way from Disney:
- Beauty & The Beast
- The Jungle Book 2
- Maleficent 2
- Winnie The Pooh
- Night On Bald Mountain
- The Sword In The Stone
- Peter Pan
Anyway, a mere three months later, it now seems that those plans for The Little Mermaid are coming to pass. Deadline has officially reported that a live action version of The Little Mermaid is on its way. On top of this, it is also being reported that Disney is pairing Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken for the music. Their mission, should they choose to accept it, is to create a blend of old and new songs. As a fan of the original film and of the late Howard Ashman, I’m not too comfortable with this.
Let’s be honest, the thing that everyone can agree with about The Little Mermaid is how memorable the music is. “Under The Sea”, “Part Of Your World” & “Poor Unfortunate Souls” are near perfect Disney songs. They’re catchy and fun and sadly, Alan Menken usually gets all the credit (admittedly, not by his choice). However, Menken was only the composer of the songs, he was not the writer. Howard Ashman wrote them and his work is usually overlooked. It’s quite sad to be perfectly honest. Now Menken is working with someone else to write new songs for the film. How is that necessary? Ashman’s songs were fine as well as unique. There’s no reason to add or take away anything. Then again, there’s no reason to remake the film in the first place so maybe I’m talking to the wrong people.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will also produce the remake, is working on several other projects with Disney. Evidently, he will be providing the musical accompaniment for Disney’s Moana. Ironically, Moana is being directed by the original Little Mermaid directors, John Musker and Ron Clements. Miranda will also be acting for Disney in the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns which will be starting production in England soon for a December 2018 release.
That being said, Disney has some competition. Universal Pictures and Working Title have also been in development on their own Little Mermaid project for quite some time. Sofia Coppola was also set to direct at one point and dropped out. Universal’s Little Mermaid will star Chloe Grace Moretz in the title role and will be directed by Rebecca Thomas from a screenplay by Richard Curtis. Seems like we’ll just have to see which one does the better job. Most noteworthy, at least to me, The Little Mermaid was the first film I ever saw in a movie theater. Therefore, as a man with fond memories of this film even to this day… PLEASE don’t ruin this one for me, Disney.
More Cinderella, Less Maleficent, for the love of god.