Disney has released The Little Mermaid from the Disney Vault. The little girl inside of me is jumping for joy, shouting “Part of Your World” at the top of her lungs.
For those of you who are confused as to what exactly the Disney Vault is, it’s a term used to describe the torment of Disney fanatics everywhere by holding Disney Classics, such as “The Little Mermaid,” captive for decades, making them unavailable for purchase anywhere and everywhere, depriving us not only of the joy these movies provide to us, but our most beloved childhood memories. Just kidding. Kind of.
“The Vault” actually refers to the removal of a Disney movie from production, usually for 10 or so years. This process is supposed to create a demand for the movie once it’s re-released (or whatever).
The Little Mermaid DVD/Blu-ray combo pack means reliving some of the movie’s most memorable moments, like Sebastian’s ode to the ocean, “Under the Sea,” witnessing Princess Ariel walk for the very first time, and my personal favorite, meeting the oh so charming Prince Eric – who knew cartoon characters could be so good looking?
The Little Mermaid painted a picture in our heads of what life might actually be like under the sea. It inspired our imaginations. What little girl never pretended to be a mermaid in her backyard swimming pool? Or searched for Princess Ariel at the beach?
The Little Mermaid taught us to follow our dreams and to stand up for ourselves – lessons we’ve carried with us our entire lives. Flounder taught us friendship while Sebastian taught us responsibility. Scuttle taught us about “dinglehoppers” and “snarfblats” (I’m sure I’m not the only one to have run a fork through my hair). Even Max, Prince Eric’s Old English sheepdog, taught us loyalty.
As kids, we didn’t realize that The Little Mermaid was much more than a movie, but a thousand and one life lessons packed into 85 minutes of magic. Obviously, “The Little Mermaid” has had a significant impact on the kids who grew up watching it time and time again, but growing up and growing out of what are now our favorite childhood memories was inevitable.
Granted that most of us haven’t seen the movie in years, it’s not unlikely our taste in movies have changed a bit. Watching the movie, being much older and much more mature (most of us, anyway), the movie may not offer the same enjoyment it did when we were eight or nine years old.
We look for movies we can relate to with much more complicated plots – but I guess none of us were ever really able to relate to a mermaid princess, deceived by an evil sea witch, longing for a life among the humans. But that’s beside the point. What “The Little Mermaid” offers – music, magic, and mermaids – isn’t enough to satisfy our cinematic desires.
Our perspectives have probably changed, too. Let’s talk about Ursula. Watching the movie as kids, Ursula was nothing but the “bad guy”, out to get Ariel. But her bodacious bod,
her saucy lipstick, and her long, red fingernails suggest Ursula to be much more than that. As she swings Floatsam and Jetsam around her neck as boas, she teaches Ariel to “never underestimate the importance of body language” in “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
Ursula is a superficial, insensitive witch who believes looks are the only means by which women can get what they want. Ursula convinces Ariel she doesn’t need a voice to win her prince’s affection.
I know, I know – it’s pretty painful to admit that “The Little Mermaid” isn’t our favorite movie anymore, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a Disney movie marathon every now and then. Still, The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite childhood memories. I’d sit inches from the TV screen in my living room, singing along to “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of your World,” crying tears of joy when Eric and Ariel were married, and hiding behind my “blankie” when Ursula grows ten times her normal size.
“The Little Mermaid” has instilled in every little girl who’s experienced its magic hope for a “happily ever after.” Its mystified us with its magic and adventure. We’ve formed lifelong friendships with Ariel, Flounder – even Sebastian. The fact of the matter is no matter how old we get, “The Little Mermaid” has always been much more than a movie.