Audiences have made their first trip under the sea for Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” starring Halle Bailey. With the film’s Los Angeles premiere now concluding, first reactions to the musical have begun to hit social media.
Ahead of its May 26 debut in theaters, Disney unveiled footage of “The Little Mermaid” at last month’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas, showing an early glimpse at Melissa McCarthy singing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” as Ursula.
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Variety also reported that director Rob Marshall and his husband, producer John DeLuca, held a private screening of the film, with a guest list including Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Matt Damon and Ben Platt. The star-studded audience apparently applauded after each musical number and continued to rave during a post-screening reception.
The musical features a soundtrack by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken (who wrote the score for the 1989 original), with four new original songs. Along with Bailey and McCarthy, the cast also includes Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina, Jacob Tremblay voicing Flounder, Daveed Diggs voicing Sebastian and Awkwafina voicing Scuttle.
First reactions generally praise Bailey’s turn as Ariel in the film.
Variety artisans editor Jazz Tangcay was a big fan, calling Bailey “extraordinary” and McCarthy a “bad-ass.”
Disney’s live-action is magical, emotional and enchanting. Rob Marshall just directed Disney’s best ever live action film. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken’s beautiful music shines. Halle Bailey is absolutely extraordinary! and Melissa McCarthy is a bad-ass Ursula. pic.twitter.com/4ZlpsF8m0D
— Jazz Tangcay (@jazzt) May 9, 2023
Critic and Variety contributor Courtney Howard called the film “charming, but incredibly spotty,” highlighting some of the actors.
#TheLittleMermaid: Charming, but incredibly spotty. Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy & Javier Bardem put their heart & souls into a film that can’t escape its animated legacy. Best when it leans into campy bonkers, yet limits its fantasy elements for no reason. pic.twitter.com/c7Bt2BO5rq
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) May 9, 2023
Journalist and Variety contributor Simon Thompson said that the film “doesn’t deliver the magic of the animated classic,” but says there are enough new additions to keep things interesting.
Endearing but uneven, #TheLittleMermaid doesn’t deliver the magic of the animated classic but there are plenty of creative touches from Rob Marshall to float the audience’s boats. Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy are great. Daveed Diggs and Awkwafina provide solid comic relief. pic.twitter.com/kt1pVURZiL
— Simon Thompson (@ShowbizSimon) May 9, 2023
Kirsten Acuna, correspondent for Insider, called the film “mostly paint-by-numbers.”
#TheLittleMermaid is filled with a few great performances from Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy, but it's a mostly paint-by-numbers remake that's isn't as good as the animated masterpiece. pic.twitter.com/YY4ielYXiR
— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) May 9, 2023
Gizmodo and io9 contributor said the movie is “exactly what you think it is,” arguing those who are excited for the film will enjoy it but that it “just feels so unnecessary.”
It’s real simple. Are you excited for #TheLittleMermaid? You’ll like it. It’s exactly what you think it is. Are you skeptical and worried about it? That’s valid too. It looks weird and disjointed. Bailey is great, McCarthy rules, the songs work but it just feels so unnecessary. pic.twitter.com/n4qp7MsVFH
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) May 9, 2023
Next Best Picture editor-in-chief Matt Neglia said the film looks “visually rough” under the sea, but highlighted Bailey’s “gorgeous singing and empathetic charm.”
It may look visually rough under the sea, but THE LITTLE MERMAID eventually recreates some of the original’s magic through its timeless story & cast. Daveed Diggs & Melissa McCarthy are highlights but Halle Bailey is the one astonishes with her gorgeous singing & empathetic charm pic.twitter.com/DhmmtOLaLJ
— Matt Neglia (@NextBestPicture) May 9, 2023
See more reactions below.
#TheLittleMermaid is a live-action remake that retains the heart and soul of the story we know and love, and it’s elevated even further by a note-perfect star-making performance from Halle Bailey – she was born to be on the big screen, & she’s why this new take is worth watching. pic.twitter.com/Tcewp2L4MY
— Zoë Rose Bryant (@ZoeRoseBryant) May 9, 2023
— Kathia Woods (@kathia_woods) May 9, 2023
Disney’s #TheLittleMermaid is definitely one of the better live-action adaptions. Halle Bailey pours incredible emotion into Ariel and I got chills watching her, while Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula and Daveed Diggs’ Sebastian steal scenes all day. pic.twitter.com/DHhIkbIj8s
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) May 9, 2023
#TheLittleMermaid makes it pretty close to being the best live action Disney movie, however it still struggles in the villain department. Halle Bailey IS Ariel and I had literal chills throughout her performance. This is a little mermaid retelling like you’ve never seen before. pic.twitter.com/JjtLOR61vL
— Felicia (@becomingfelicia) May 9, 2023
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