The Little Mermaid Live! (2019) Review

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This was a live broadcast which combines the animated Disney film along with live performances of the songs.

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I have to admit that I did not fully read that it was a combination of the animation and the songs being live, I actually thought it was going to be more of the musical version live. Similar to Hairspray, Grease and the UK we had The Sound of Music. Partly my own fault that I was not prepared for parts of the animated film and then the songs being the live part.

That format made it rather disjointed to watch, although I can understand that was so they had enough time to change the sets for the performances, as lets face it a lot of money had been put into the production. It did look fantastic at times and that was certainly a big plus for it all.

The Little Mermaid is easily one of my favourite Disney films and Ursula is my favourite villain. I was therefore very excited to see how Queen Latifah was going to take on ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ and she did not disappoint at all. Considering her amazing performances in Chicago as Mama Morton and Hairspray as Motormouth we know she has the vocal range to nail a song like that. Very much a scene stealer for sure.

The effects used to make Ariel swim around in the sea did look very impressive and probably better than I expected. Auli’i Cravalho was a good Ariel, you may recognise her voice from Moana! Shaggy as Sebastian was actually inspired casting right for ‘Under the Sea’? It certainly made me smile that is for sure.

While some of the musical numbers looked impressive with some good vocals, something magical was missing from the production as a whole. The amount of time between the musical numbers is highlighted by the use of the animated film and that is not really what you want with a film marketed as live (I know it was broadcast live in the US).

It just seems that the obsession around the musical live on TV hasn’t really been nailed yet and all of the productions I have seen so far don’t quite capture musicals on stage and aren’t like film musicals so it is a very grey area at the moment. The Little Mermaid was different again considering it was just musical numbers with the original film, not the stage musical to screen which I guess might have been a little bit better? If anyone else has watched this I am very curious to know how you found it?

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