DVD Review: The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition Blu-ray @ 11 October 2013 06:53 PM


Princesses have come to Disney’s rescue more than once. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs took Walt Disney and his studio from short subjects into the much more prestigious world of feature films. Cinderella brought the studio back from the WWII setbacks. And The Little Mermaid re-ignited Disney animation, officially launching a second golden age.


It also redefined the musical form of animated features for the first time since Snow White. That is due largely to the vision of lyricist Howard Ashman, who can be seen on the bonus features conducting one of his insightful lectures. With the spectacular music of composer Alan Menken (who made his debut as an underscore composer with this film), the results reverberated throughout the entertainment industry.


Those of us who still pine for cel animation (or 2-D, which seems dismissive) have so much to savor in this film, in particular Glen Keane’s animation of Ariel herself. Even though elements of earlier Disney heroines were referenced (including Alice), no previous Disney animated lady ever had the range of expression as Ariel, thanks in no small part to the live modeling done by Sherri Stoner, who you can see in the best of the numerous bonus features, “Under the Scene: The Art of Live Action Reference.” (Fans of Animaniacs also know her writing and acting in that great show.)


As to acting in The Little Mermaid, the cast is superb, from the leads like Pat Carroll as Ursula to little gems like the seahorse voiced by Will Ryan. What might be overlooked is the fact that Jodi Benson plays two roles: Ariel and her “evil twin,” Vanessa), both so distinctly that it’s easy to think of them as two different voice actors). A little bit of trivia, too, about Sam Wright, who voices Sebastian: he was one of the featured players in the 1974 Broadway show, Over Here!, the first such show with music and lyrics by Richard and Robert Sherman (check out the cast CD, it’s great).


One quirky note: Is it just me, or does Prince Eric look a lot like David Seville from the '80s Saturday morning cartoon version of Alvin and the Chipmunks?



If you want to have the lion’s share of bonus features on DVD, keep your Platinum Edition or find a used copy. Almost everything is only on the Blu-ray, as listed below:


2013 DIAMOND EDITION (2013)

Blu-ray Bonus Features
 “Part of your World” Music Video Carly Rae Jepsen
 @DisneyAnimation: Go behind the Scenes with Today’s Top Disney Animators
  (with Ron Clements, John Musker, Mark Henn, Ruben Aquino, Brittney Lee,
  Hyun-Min Lee, Kira Lehtomaki, Chad Sellers and John Kahrs)
  Deleted Character Harold the Merman
 Under the Scene: The Art of Live Action Reference (Ron Clements, John Musker,
  Kathryn Beaumont, Sherri Stoner, Joshua Finkel)
 Part of Her World Jodi Benson’s Voyage to New Fantasyland (includes
  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort )
Howard’s Lecture
 Crab-E-Oke Sing Along
 John & Ron Make Caricatures of Each Other
Animators Comment on Their Characters
 Clements and Musker Demonstrating “The Little Mermaid Handshake”

 Treasures Untold - The Making of The Little Mermaid
 Storm Warning: The Little Mermaid Special Effects Unit
Audio Commentary
Kiss the Girl - Ashley Tisdale Music Video
 Disney Song Selection
 The Little Match Girl (2006 Short)
 Deleted Scene: “Fathoms Below” Alternate Version
Deleted Scene: Backstage with Sebastian
 Deleted Scene: “Poor Unfortunate Souls” Alternate Version
 Deleted Scene: Sebastian Lost in the Castle
Deleted Scene: Advice from Sebastian
 Deleted Scene: Fight With Ursula (Alternate Ending)
 Deleted Song: “Silence is Golden” (Song Demo)
Under the Sea Adventure: A Virtual Ride inspired by Disney Imagineers
  (Ride the Attraction / Ride with Disney Imagineers / Behind the Ride that Never Was)
Disneypedia: Life Under the Sea
The Story Behind the Story
 Under the Sea Early Presentation Reel
Original Theatrical Trailer

DVD Bonus Features
 Part of Her World Jodi Benson’s Voyage to New Fantasyland (includes
  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort )
 Deleted Scene: “Fathoms Below” Alternate Version
 Deleted Scene: Fight With Ursula (Alternate Ending)

2006 PLATINUM EDITION

 Treasures Untold: The Making of The Little Mermaid
 Storm Warning: The Little Mermaid Special Effects Unit
Audio Commentary
Kiss the Girl - Ashley Tisdale Music Video
 Disney Song Selection
 The Little Match Girl (2006 Short)
Original Theatrical Trailer
 Deleted Scene: “Fathoms Below” Alternate Version
Deleted Scene: Backstage with Sebastian
 Deleted Scene: “Poor Unfortunate Souls” Alternate Version
 Deleted Scene: Sebastian Lost in the Castle
Deleted Scene: Advice from Sebastian
 Deleted Scene: Fight With Ursula (Alternate Ending)
 Deleted Song: “Silence is Golden” (Song Demo)
Under the Sea Adventure: A Virtual Ride inspired by Disney Imagineers
  (Ride the Attraction / Ride with Disney Imagineers / Behind the Ride that Never Was)
Disneypedia: Life Under the Sea
The Story Behind the Story
 Original Theatrical Trailer
 Under the Sea Early Presentation Reel
 The Little Mermaid III Musical Sneak Peek (Direct-to-DVD promo)
Art Galleries


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