Disney fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the live-action adaptation of the classic fairytale The Little Mermaid since the remake was announced in 2016. The movie, which comes out on May 26, 2023, is based on the studio's 1989 animated version, which revolves around Ariel, the red-headed mermaid princess, who falls in love with a human prince and proceeds to trade her voice for legs in order to impress him.
The Little Mermaid stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Javier Bardem as King Triton and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, among others. Despite several controversies surrounding the casting in the film, the movie's trailers received positive reactions, and The Little Mermaid has been named as one of the most anticipated releases of 2023.
Here are five mermaid movies to watch while anticipating the release of The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid, Splash, Aquamarine and 2 other beloved movies that feature mermaids
1) The Little Mermaid (1989)
Disney's animated classic The Little Mermaid, is a timeless story about the mermaid princess Ariel, who longs to be a human. Adapted from the original fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, the story follows Ariel as she falls in love with a human prince and makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula, selling her voice in exchange for legs.
The Little Mermaid was a revolutionary movie for the studio, as it marked a significant period of change for animation techniques and the use of CGI. From stunning ocean backdrops to cute sea creatures like Sebastian and Flounder, the movie contains stunning animation work for a movie made during that time.
While there have been many adaptations and remakes of the story, 1989's The Little Mermaid remains a beloved classic that is still cherished by audiences of all ages.
The Little Mermaid can be watched on Disney+.
2) Aquamarine (2006)
Directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, Aquamarine is based on a children's book of the same name by Alice Hoffman. Starring Emma Roberts, Joanna JoJo Levesque, and Sara Paxton, the movie follows two teenage girls, Claire and Hailey, who discover a mermaid named Aquamarine in their swimming pool after a storm.
The movie has become a cult favorite and features themes of friendship, teenage love, and the importance of staying true to oneself. Overall, Aquamarine is an enjoyable and heartwarming movie that is perfect for a family movie night or a fun afternoon watch.
Aquamarine can be watched on Disney+.
3) Splash (1984)
One of the earliest films to be based on mermaids, Splash tells the story of Allen Bauer who falls in love with a mermaid named Madison. Allen first encounters Madison as a young boy while vacationing at Cape Cod when he drowns and is saved by the mermaid. Years later, when Allen returns to Cape Cod as an adult, he is saved by the mermaid from drowning again.
The rom-com, directed by Ron Howard, stars Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. It follows the two as they fall in love despite the odds. The film is known for its whimsical humor, romantic storyline, and fantastic special effects that brought Madison's mermaid form to life.
Splash received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and helped launch the careers of both Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves a good love story, especially one that features mermaids.
The film can be watched on Disney+.
4) Ponyo (2008)
While Ponyo technically does not feature mermaids, the film was inspired by the original Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. The Studio Ghibli animated film was written and directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Ponyo tells the story of a young boy named Sosuke who befriends a goldfish princess named Ponyo who dreams of becoming a human, much like Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
Set in a picturesque coastal town in Japan, the movie follows the adventures of Sosuke and Ponyo as they explore their surroundings and encounter various sea creatures. However, Ponyo's transformation eventually begins to have dangerous effects on the balance of nature, and it's up to Sosuke to help her.
The movie is known for its stunning animation, beautiful music, and touching themes of friendship, love, and environmentalism. The story's innocence and simplicity are perfectly balanced with the fantastical elements of Miyazaki's imagination, making it a delightful watch for viewers of all ages.
Ponyo is available to be streamed on HBOMax.
5) The Thirteenth Year (1999)
The Thirteenth Year is a Disney Channel Original Movie directed by Duwayne Dunham. It revolves around a merman, instead of the usual mermaids. The movie tells the story of a teenage boy named Cody Griffin (played by Chez Starbuck) who discovers that he is turning into a merman on his thirteenth birthday.
Apart from physical tranformations like growing fins, Cody starts to develop abilities like breathing underwater and swimming at incredible speeds. Cody also learns that his birth mother was a mermaid. As Cody tries to come to terms with his new identity, he also faces the challenges of teenage life, including fitting in at school and dealing with bullies.
The Thirteenth Year is a lighthearted coming-of-age story that explores themes of growing up, puberty and the changes it brings about in a fun and whimsical way. The film can be watched on Disney+.
The Little Mermaid will be released in theaters worldwide on May 26, 2023.