(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning)
Doug (vo): The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. Well, okay, this could kind of be interesting. I mean, the animation looks pretty good, and maybe we could see the backstory of some of these characters. Maybe we can see Ursula and how she got where she was, and the interaction with the sisters and the father and the mother. Okay, this could be interesting.
Doug (vo): It starts off showing Ariel and her sisters with their mother and father, and suddenly, this pirate ship comes out of nowhere, okay, and apparently kills the mother in a very awkwardly done edit. Seriously, you couldn't have just cut to black? This is really weirdly done. But, okay, let's keep going. So, the father is so discouraged by the death of his wife and the fact that she loved music so much that he decides to outlaw music throughout the kingdom. (Beat) Oh, it's this stupid thing. Yeah, this story that you've heard a million times that probably started with Footloose, and, yeah, it wasn't even really good when they did it then. And like that, you know every single damn thing that's gonna happen. Everybody's sad, they all want to sing, but they can't sing. So Ariel goes and tries to find out where she can sing, but that conflicts with the father, and they get angry at each other, and he's not really bad, he just doesn't see what's really important, and they're gonna butt heads, and then some stupid last-minute villain is gonna come in and try to screw everything up. Oh, God.
Doug (vo): No surprises, nothing new. Even half the songs, you've heard before. They're just sort of reworked versions of famous conga songs. In fact, how do they know the song "Shake, Señora" if they live underwater? That- THAT SONG WOULDN'T BE EVEN RECORDED YET...! (Resumes speaking calmly) Okay, I'm probably thinking too hard about that, but nevertheless, this is not a very good movie. It's not...awful, per se. I mean, it definitely has awful moments in it, but...again, you can definitely get an idea that they're trying to put something decent together. I mean, the pacing's not that bad, it will take moments to be quiet and sort of let the emotion sink in. They do try to give the sisters personalities, but there are six of them, so it's kind of hard to remember which one's which.
(Scenes focusing on the animation and characters are shown)
Doug (vo): And like I said before, the animation is damn impressive. I mean, okay, we're not gonna see any grand landscapes in this or anything, but just look at the line work, look at the expressions, look at how flowing and elegant it is. For a direct-to-DVD movie, hell, just for an animated Disney movie in general, it's really, really nicely drawn. It's also interesting to see a movie where not only the main characters are good-looking. I mean, you know how this works, it's usually the male and the female and they look really pretty or handsome, and everyone else is supposed to look cartoony or over-the-top. Here, the sisters are in a lot of the film, and they're all drawn beautiful. So it's kind of interesting just seeing these really good-looking characters throughout the entire thing, it isn't just the main lead. They allow for some nice expressions and flowing movements, and it's, like I said, really, really nicely drawn.
(Several scenes focusing on the villain, Marina Del Ray, are shown)
Doug (vo): But that doesn't excuse the fact this is just a dumb story with dumb writing. There's this villain, played by Sally Field, who's kind of a servant of the king, looks after the girls, and sort of wants to be the second-in-command. Once in a while, she'll get a laugh, I mean, Sally Field can be very funny. But to answer the question that everybody is thinking, including myself, no. It's not Ursula. But wait a minute. In the first film, she describes herself that she used to be in the palace, and then she did these evil things, and she was thrown out. That's exactly what this character does, and it even kind of looks like a younger, skinnier version. I mean, why, why wasn't this Ursula? She even has killer eels that go after the heroes. It was so obviously meant to be Ursula! I was waiting the whole time to see some sort of magic zapped her, or she was transformed or something, or they give her a new name, like Ursula is actually a demeaning name, and that's what you'll be called now or something. But, no. It's just a completely different character that has Ursula's backstory. Come on, you could've had Sally Field play a young Ursula. We wouldn't have minded.
Final thought Edit
Doug (vo): So, yeah, the movie's pretty stupid and makes no sense. I guess if you just have little kids that want to see it just to see nice music and Ariel swimming around looking pretty, it's fine for that. It's not like Beauty and the Beast 3 or Mulan II where there's arguably bad stuff for kids in it. I mean, it's...harmless. But it's also mindless. Nothing in it is original. Every line, every plot thread, you can point to a million other movies that have not only done it, but have done it better. I guess it's fine if you just want to distract your kids for an hour and a half, but anyone looking for the magic of the original, this one's dead in the water.
(A scene showing all the characters dancing in a conga line is shown)