There's Something Fishy About 'The Little Mermaid' Review Scores — Update — Critics Must Be Crazy (2023)

Updated 5/29/23 with a review below. Turns out I really liked this movie!

Something crazy is happeningThe little MermaidRotten Tomato user reviews. I fully expected this film to do better with critics than audiences, given how the culture wars usually work.

Instead, the reviewer rating is just 67% as of this writing, while audiences give it a whopping 95%—significantly higher thanThe jungle book86%. This movie scored 94% from critics.

This is actually quite similar toThe movie Super Mario Bros.which scored just 59% with critics while 96% of fans commented positively on the filmon Rotten Tomatoes. But this is reflected almost exactly on Metacritic, whereThe movie Super Mario Brosit scored just a 46 with critics, but scored an 86 with audiences.

Meanwhile, Metacritic'sThe little MermaidThe page reflects almost the exact opposite of Rotten Tomatoes:


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(Video) The Little Mermaid Audience Score LOCKED at 95%? Something Smells FISHY!

This is much more in line with what I expected to happen with the audience reviews, as this film has been so embroiled in culture war discussions around race-swapping, "wokeness" and so on, as well as Disney fatigue. Many people who aren't at all invested in the culture wars, however, are sick of live-action remakes.

(Video) The Little Mermaid REAL Audience and Critic Scores Are HIDDEN! The Effort to SAVE a Fishy Flop!

I totally get itOutrageousthat this film would have a much higher rating with the public than with the critics. Critics, while not entirely politically aligned, are far more likely as a group to be sympathetic to social justice politics and less reactive to changes made to beloved classics than the average moviegoer. I would expect this film to have a fairly wide spread of negative and positive reviews, and a score within striking distance of the critics' score (a little higher or a little lower, but not nearly 30 points higher!)

Indeed, its live-action remakeThe little Mermaidhe scores nowveryhigher with public thanthe 1989 cartoon classic, which sits at 88% with audiences and 92% with critics. We have to believe that moviegoers love the remakeeven morefrom the original? This was definitely not the caseBeauty and the Beast,which did better with critics and audiences as a cartoon by a wide margin.

Do I think Metacritic's 2.1 accurately reflects the quality of this film? Definitely no. CinemaScore actually has audience members giving it an 'A' grade, so it's definitely warmly received.Beauty and the Beast’sThe live-action remake also earned an "A" CinemaScore, but reached an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I know Rotten Tomatoes takes user review moderation seriously and tries to prevent reviewers from being bombarded, but these ratings seem inflated beyond what is realistically possible for a film receiving such a lukewarm reception from critics.Peter Pan & Wendy,Disney's latest live-action remake,scored slightly lower thanThe little Mermaidwith critics(62%) but completely bombed with audiences at just 11%.

Even simplycasual forum observationand social media, you see a pretty wide range of reactions, from wild praise to "meh, it was okay" to "that was hot garbage." There is no way that 95% on Rotten Tomatoes or 2.1 on Metacritic are accurate reflections of what people are actually saying about this movie in the real world. Make of it what you will.

Finally, I should point out that what Rotten Tomatoes shows on its front page are the "Verified Audience" ratings, but you can click on "All Audience" and suddenly it's a very different picture:

This seems like a more realistic reflection of what has become a very controversial film. Controversy leads to negative reviews. (Note: The indisputableSuper Mario Bros. Moviegets 95% with "All Audience" and 96% with "Verified Audience".)

(Video) The Critics LOVE The Little Mermaid But Do They Really?

Likewise, if you click on Top Reviewers instead of All Reviewers, you'll see the rating drop to just 47%. This aligns even more closely with all audiences. Weirder and weirder.

I haven't seen it yet. This is not a criticism, obviously. I think it looks fine. My biggest concern with all of these live-action remakes is that they almost always lose at least some of the magic that the original animated versions had. Even the ones I've enjoyed, likeBeauty and the Beast,I then think, "Well, I'd rather just see the original!"

And honestly:Wouldn't you?


The Little Mermaid Review: A Delightful Surprise

There is a fun scene in the new oneLittle Mermaidlive-action film where Ariel grabbed a hat from Prince Eric, playfully slapping him on the head after grabbing it from the peddler's head. Later, Scuttle steals the hat to have the pair follow the bird to the lagoon so they can woo the would-be lovers with a slightly altered version of himKiss the girl.

Well, speaking of hats, time to eat mine. I was deeply skeptical of this latest Disney remake. I've been sold on the whole project for some time now and thought this was going to be another soulless cash grab by the House of Mouse. I was wrong. The critics must be crazy, because this is an absolutely delightful picture and is quite possibly my favorite of all the live-action remakes of the princess.

Much of this is due to the powerful performance—and the songs—of lead Halle Bailey as Ariel. She's gorgeous throughout, perfectly capturing everything we loved about the original Ariel, but adding a bit more depth and adventure to the character. She and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric have great chemistry, which definitely helps. Indeed, the entire cast is great and the covers of old songs are really fun and enjoyable.

Is it a perfect movie? No way. There are a few new songs and the only one I liked is the Scuttle rap, performed by Awkwafina with some harmonizing by Sebastian. Daveed Diggs is great as the grumpy majordomo crab as well. But the new song about Prince Eric is forgotten, as is Ariel's new number. It pales in comparisonUnder the seaandPart of your worldboth are wonderfully adapted here. Bailey's singing voice really elevatesPart of your worldto a whole new level. It's brilliant. But I miss the cartoon versionUnder the sea,with all the fish on their musical instruments.

(Video) "The Little Mermaid" - Movie Review

Indeed, my biggest complaint is the fish. I don't like the effort to make Sebastian and Flounder (Jacob Tremblay) seem "realistic". You lose a lot of the fun expressiveness of these characters going that route. I'm excited that the movie was so bright and colorful after the trailers made it seem so much less, but I honestly dislike the art direction for the aquatic creatures.

Rounding out the cast is Javier Bardem as King Triton where he does a very good job as the strict then yielding father. His emotional farewell to Ariel hit all the right notes. (The multiracial brood of his daughters makes you think he really went under the sea too).

I was skeptical about Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, but she also does an amazing job, really capturing everything about the original villain perfectly. Her comedic timing and charm really pay off here.

Overall, this ended up being a really pleasant surprise for me and my kids. We all went in a bit tired and skeptical and we all left with smiles on our faces, although my daughter and I cried like babies at the end. I'm really a shouter when it comes to father/daughter or father/son stuff and this tugged at the heartstrings just right. Probably the best of Disney's live-action movies, which I'm shocked—but happy—to report.

I guess you can match me with an audience on this one. It's a treat. I amyetIt's surprising that it's getting such a high audience critical score, but it's really worth seeing on the big screen. I'm glad I was wrong!

Tell me your thoughts onTwittertheFacebook.

As always, I'd love it if you didfollow me here on this blogandsubscribe to my YouTube channelandmy substackso you can stay up-to-date on all my TV, movie and video game reviews and coverage. Thanks!

(Video) The Little Mermaid - Movie Review


Was The Little Mermaid a box office hit? ›

Disney's “The Little Mermaid” hooked nearly $96 million over its first three days in North American theaters. That opening is on par with the $91 million “Aladdin” secured in 2019 on its way to more than $1 billion at the global box office.

Is Ursula really a villain? ›

Voiced by American actress Pat Carroll, Ursula is a villainous sea witch who offers a mermaid princess named Ariel a temporary opportunity to become human so that she may earn the love of Prince Eric within three days.

Are Ursula and King Triton related? ›

Although the story is the same as the one in the movie, it rescued a concept for the original animated movie that was eventually dropped, which is that Ursula and King Triton are siblings. That storyline doesn't appear in the Disney animated canon but is explored on stage.

Why does Ursula hate Triton? ›

Ursula hated Triton for being ruler of the sea and she wanted his reign and powers. Hence, she used his land / human curious, naïve, and rebellious daughter Ariel to overtake his throne.

Why did Chloe Grace Moretz quit The Little Mermaid? ›

Now, aged 21, Chloë explains what prompted that decision. “I pulled out of a bunch of stuff I was attached to, to reconfigure who I was and reconnect with the projects that I will be choosing in the future,” the actress tells Yahoo Movies UK.

What Disney animated film is still the all time most watched and biggest box office film? ›

With $1,072.4 million worldwide, "Frozen" has also entered the list of the top ten biggest films of all time. "Frozen" is the first billion-dollar film for Walt Disney Animation Studios and its first film to receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Is Ursula a drag queen? ›

Once Upon a Time, Ursula Was a Drag Queen.

Is Ursula the daughter of Poseidon? ›

Ursula and Tritons parents are Poseidon and Amphitrite. When Poseidon died Ursula got Amphitrite's shell and half of the sea and Triton got the trident and half the sea. Triton married Athena and Ursula recalls having feasts.

What mental illness does Ursula have? ›

Then there€™s Ursula whose preoccupation with vanity, power obsession and generally selfish, manipulative behaviour is a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder.

What was Ursula before she was evil? ›

In the past, Ursula was a resident of King Triton's palace, before being banished and exiled by order of the king. Scorned, she has since vowed to exact vengeance by harnessing the power of the king's trident and installing herself as ruler of all the ocean.

Does Ursula have a son? ›

She first appeared in the book, Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel as the owner of Ursula's Fish and Chips. She appears once again in Rise of the Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel and reveals to have a daughter named Uma, who is the main antagonist for Descendants 2.

Who is more powerful Ursula or Morgana? ›

Morgana is a woman who appears in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. She is the younger sister of Ursula, but Ursula is worse than Morgana. She was loved less than her older sister Ursula, because Ursula had more powers than Morgana did. She is voiced by Pat Carroll, like her sister.

Who is Triton's wife? ›

Athena was the wife of King Triton, and the mother of Ariel, Andrina, Arista, Aquata, Adella, Alana, and Attina. She was the Queen of Atlantica, and beloved by her family and subjects.

Is Ursula a Kraken? ›

3. Ursula is a squid – not an octopus. Ursula's original design was inspired by many different sea creatures, including scorpion fish and manta rays, before director Ron Clements decided to base the character on an octopus.

Does Ursula have a daughter? ›

Description. Meet Uma, fierce leader of the high seas, daughter of Ursula, the sea witch, and the newest villainess-in-training in Disney's Descendants 2!

What is the controversy with the new Little Mermaid movie? ›

It's far from the first time the film has attracted controversy: Bailey, a Black woman, was a victim of racist backlash in response to her casting as Ariel; some expressed disappointment that a drag queen was not cast in the role of Ursula, a character based on the drag performer Divine; and still other viewers of the ...

Is Little Mermaid sad ending? ›

Unlike other Disney fairy-tale endings, the end of The Little Mermaid is deeply bittersweet. True love saves the day, and there's a big wedding.

How was The Little Mermaid supposed to end? ›

If the Little Mermaid kills the prince and lets his blood drip on her feet, she will become a mermaid once more, all her suffering will end, and she will live out her full life in the ocean with her family.

What is the least successful Disney movie of all time? ›

  • Pinocchio (1940) ...
  • Pinocchio (1940) ...
  • The Rescuers Down Under (1990) ...
  • The Rescuers Down Under (1990) ...
  • The Black Cauldron (1985) ...
  • The Black Cauldron (1985) The Black Cauldron (1985) Trailer (VHS Capture) ...
  • Treasure Planet (2002) List slides.
  • Treasure Planet (2002) Treasure Planet (2002) Official Trailer #1 - Animated Movie HD.
Nov 29, 2022

What is Disney's most sold movie? ›

The sequel to the hugely popular original, Frozen II exceeded expectations as the highest-grossing Disney animated movie of all time.

Is Ursula black or white? ›

In reality, the character was based on a white drag queen, Divine. "I'm confused... what makes Ursula black? She was based of Divine, who is white She was voiced by a white woman When she takes human form she's white," yet another well-versed Little Mermaid fan noted.

Is Ursula A Boy or a girl? ›

Ursula is a feminine given name in several languages. The name is derived from a diminutive of the Latin ursa, which means "bear".

Who married Ursula? ›

Ursula can't believe that Ariel managed to make Prince Eric fall for her without her voice. She transforms herself into a human woman named Vanessa and uses Ariel's voice to cast a spell on Prince Eric and traps him. Ursula/Vanessa convinces Eric to marry her and the wedding arrangements are made.

Is Ariel Poseidon's daughter? ›

Since Ariel in The Little Mermaid is Triton's daughter, and according to Greek mythology, Triton is the son of Poseidon, this makes Ariel the granddaughter of Poseidon. And who else is on that family tree? None other than Hercules's father Zeus, who is the brother of Poseidon.

What God is Ursula? ›

Ursula the Sea Witch was one of the main antagonists of the second half of the fourth series of Once Upon a Time. She was portrayed by Merrin Dungey as an adult and Tiffany Boone as young. Ursula is also the only daughter and child of King Poseidon, god of the seas.

What goddess is Ursula based on? ›

Ursula is based on the sea witch from The Little Mermaid. She is the daughter of Poseidon from Greek Mythology.

What is Ariel's disorder in The Little Mermaid? ›

In the movie The Little Mermaid (Clements & Musker, 1989), Ariel displays symptoms of disposophobia, which is defined as the fear of getting rid of things.

What does Ursula symbolize in The Little Mermaid? ›

In short, Ursula represents feminism, the fluidity of gender and young Ariel's empowerment. Ariel can be anything she wants, yet she chooses the role of young bride and human conformity.

What is the human version of Ursula? ›

Jessica Alexander plays Ursula's human alter-ego. In the original, animated version of The Little Mermaid, Ursula knows that leaving Ariel on her own in the human world might turn out to be more problematic than she originally thought.

What were Ursula's last words? ›

To help unfortunate merfolk, like yourself, poor souls with no one else to turn to. Ursula : [her last words] So much for true love!

Who kills Ursula? ›

Yes, Ursula dies in The Little Mermaid.

Like in the 1989's Disney classic, Ursula meets her end at the hands of Ariel (Halle Bailey) and Eric (Jonah Hauer-King).

How did Ursula lie to Ariel? ›

Ursula is the villain from The Little Mermaid.

For her big evil move, she tricked Ariel into signing her voice away in exchange for a pair of human legs for Ariel.

Who did Ursula have a child with? ›

No" James Bond girl Ursula Andress in the early 1980s ... and revealed they'd had a child together. Turns out when Hamlin and Andress co-starred in "Clash of the Titans," which came out in 1981, sparks flew. Over the course of their three-year relationship, Hamlin (then 28) and Andress (then 44) became parents.

Who is Gaston's child? ›

Gil, Son of Gaston.

Was Ursula Triton's sister? ›

Although The Little Mermaid live-action confirms Ursula is Triton's sister, the Sea Witch does not have a mermaid's tale like Ariel. Rather, Ursula's appearance is radically different from her family, and she sports tentacles that look like a permanent black dress.

Is Ursula more powerful than Maleficent? ›

Ursula is quite the powerful witch, but Maleficent is more powerful. Ursula's look like parlor tricks against Maleficent. The former also has more non-combat spells. It would be a big fight and Maleficent won't walk away unscathed but she would still end up victorious.

Is Morgana the bad guy? ›

Morgana is the younger sister of the sea witch Ursula and the main antagonist of Disney's 2000 direct-to-video animated sequel film The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, the sequel to Disney's 28th full-length animated feature film The Little Mermaid.

Did Poseidon and Medusa have a child? ›

Medusa was the only Gorgon who was mortal; hence her slayer, Perseus, was able to kill her by cutting off her head. From the blood that spurted from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two sons by Poseidon.

Is Ariel Poseidon granddaughter? ›

Poseidon is the father of King Triton, and therefore the paternal grandfather of Ariel and her sisters.

Who is Poseidon's wife? ›

Amphitrite, in Greek mythology, the goddess of the sea, wife of the god Poseidon, and one of the 50 (or 100) daughters (the Nereids) of Nereus and Doris (the daughter of Oceanus). Poseidon chose Amphitrite from among her sisters as the Nereids performed a dance on the isle of Naxos.

Who is the daughter of the Kraken? ›

Kala is the daughter of who is known around the Grand Scarrier Reef only as the Kraken. For the longest time, she got along with her father just fine, as her father was sweet and would teach her several things.

Is The kraken a girl? ›

Vast grotesque tentacled creatures who live in the sea, and which are extremely dangerous to anyone or anything that comes too close to them. They are commonly believed to be the female counterparts of the dragons, since no female dragon has ever been seen.

Who does Ursula love? ›

In Women in Love Ursula's relationship with and eventual marriage to Rupert Birkin is contrasted with her sister Gudrun's destructive love affair with Gerald Crich.

Is Ursula the king's sister? ›

In this novel, Ursula is King Triton's younger sister who was betrayed by him as a child for choosing a tentacled form instead of a mermaid's tail, and grew up as a human in the town of Ipswich with an adoptive human father.

Is Ursula older than Phoebe? ›

Ursula Was Famous Before Phoebe

Ursula Buffay may have been a minute older than Phoebe, but she was on television two years earlier too.

What is the name of Maleficent's daughter? ›

Meet Mal and Evie: Mal (left) is played by Dove Cameron (Disney Channel's Liv and Maddie) and is the daughter of Maleficent, played by Kristin Chenoweth (Glee, Broadway's Wicked). Evie (right) is played by newcomer Sofia Carson and is the daughter of the Evil Queen, played by Kathy Najimy (Hocus Pocus, Sister Act).

How is Little Mermaid doing in the box office? ›

BOX OFFICE: Disney's #TheLittleMermaid scores $38M in its first day & is on pace for $120M+ over the 4-day weekend. If it tops $126.9M, it will be 3rd highest Memorial Day weekend ever.

How is Little Mermaid doing at the box office? ›

It has performed better overseas, where it has earned nearly $400 million to bring it global haul north of $500 million, making it the third highest-grossing movie of 2023. The franchise has crossed the $7 billion mark at the global box office to become the fifth highest-grossing film series of all-time.

How did Disney Little Mermaid do at the box office? ›

Despite mixed reviews from critics, the live-action remake of "The Little Mermaid" dominated the box office during Memorial Day weekend, with about US$117.5 million in domestic ticket sales over four days.

Did The Little Mermaid do well? ›

Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' rakes in $117 million at the US box office on opening weekend. CNN Business.

When did The Little Mermaid lose her head? ›

The headless mermaid

Twice she has lost her head, once the arm was sawn off, and several times she has had paint poured on her.

Was The Little Mermaid a hoarder? ›

Ariel's hoarding also interferes with her normal life. She ditches her father by hunting for trash instead of going to a concert she promised to attend. One of the main side effects of disposophobia is obsessing over the collection at the expense of daily obligations.

How much did it cost to make The Little Mermaid 2023? ›

Despite being faced with multiple controversies, particularly the casting of Bailey as Ariel, it managed to succeed at the box office, grossing $197.8 million against a budget of $250 million.

How much money does The Little Mermaid need to make? ›

The answer is a staggering $200-250 million dollars, and that does not include the massive amount of marketing and promotion Disney has spent on this film.

How much did it cost to make The Little Mermaid? ›

The film, which cost $250 million to produce, has so far brought in $68.3 million internationally, bringing its worldwide gross to $185.8 million. However, the film struggled in China, bringing in just $2.5 million over the weekend.

How much money did Little Mermaid make? ›

Is The Little Mermaid based on anything? ›

The character is based on the title character of Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" but was developed into a different personality for the 1989 animated film adaptation.

Did the little mermaid use computer animation? ›

7 'The Little Mermaid' (1989)

The Little Mermaid was the final Disney animation produced using traditional hand-painted cel methods, where Disney began to implement a mixture of digital coloring with hand-drawn drawings that were instead scanned.

Is The Little Mermaid set in? ›

The Little Mermaid action takes place under the sea, in the kingdom of Atlantica that is supposedly located in Denmark, where Hans Christian Andersen is from.

What is the mental illness in The Little Mermaid? ›

In the movie The Little Mermaid (Clements & Musker, 1989), Ariel displays symptoms of disposophobia, which is defined as the fear of getting rid of things.

Who did the Little Mermaid fall in love with? ›

Ariel was right to fall in love with Prince Eric at first sight, and we've been wrong to sell him short ever since.

Who is the new Little mermaid 2023? ›

The movie tries too hard to be what it is not, it would have worked way better as a new original story even if it was based on the same tale. Halle Bailey doesn't do it bad as Ariel, her acting is ok and she has a great voice. Eric is ok too as well as Bardem as Triton.


1. Rotten Tomatoes is LYING To You About The Little Mermaid!
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5. The Little Mermaid reviews LOOK FAKE, Rotten Tomatoes audience score is REALLY 94%?!?!?
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6. we need to talk about the little mermaid 😶🐙🐠🧜🏾‍♀️ (the little mermaid review)


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