Disney’s 'The Little Mermaid' Makes a Splash with STEM Twist

The Live-Action Remake Highlights Ariel's Passion for Unearthing Ancient Treasures and Exploring Human History

Disney’s (DIS) 'The Little Mermaid' splashed on the screens and true to the original story, Ariel loves STEM. In fact, the whole story starts with her obsession for human artifacts and the human world - what does that make her?! An archaeologist and anthropologist.

Archaeology is, as defined by Merriam-Webster, the scientific study of material remains (such as tools, pottery, jewelry, stone walls, and monuments) of past human life and activities. While an anthropologist is the study of human beings and their ancestors through time and space and in relation to physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture.

In the beginning of the movie, Ariel dives deep into the ocean to explore and find more artifacts from old shipwrecks. She and Flounder find a fork, not knowing what it is Ariel says, “It’s the smallest trident I’ve ever seen.”

Ariel finds a
In Disney's "The Little Mermaid," Ariel finds a "fork" and wonders what it is, as her curiosity about artifacts and human culture grows. ("The Little Mermaid")

She finds all sorts of trinkets, wondering what they are used for. “Part Of Your World” shows her yearning to be among humans, and includes her interest in their artifacts and history.

She sings:

Look at this trove, treasures untold

How many wonders can one cavern hold?

Lookin' around here, you think

"Sure, she's got everythin'"

I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty

I've got whozits and whatzits galore

You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!

But who cares? No big deal, I want more


When she rescues Prince Eric, she sees how intriguing and handsome he is. But, in this writer's opinion, that’s not how they fall in love.

A Love of Artifacts and Maps

One of the most interesting parts to the story is how Prince Eric and Ariel really bond. Ariel stumbles into his study that contains almost as many artifacts and maps as her own hidden cavern that he has found on his adventures at sea.

The two pour over the treasures and Eric tells her all he knows about different places and where specific artifacts come from. You can see this is what solidifies their fondness for each other. Their shared perspective of the world expands their love story to be almost more realistic.

It seems the Live-Action remake of the 35 year old movie is resonating with audiences, it dominated the Memorial Day Weekend Box Office raking in $118.6 million.

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