Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
So I seem to get most of the Disney releases for review, due to the fact that I am immature (or it could be because I have kids, unlike Mr. and Mrs. Ascully). As a result I feel that I am becoming the expert on kid movies in general, and I have to say that kid movie covers are pretty generic, but they always seem to work. You really have to include a lot on a cover made for children, and you also have to basically use every color you can imagine. this is at least the way Disney handles their covers, and who am I to argue. This cover includes Ariel, and her daughter melody, who is the new focus of the Little Mermaid II. Also included are a few of the members of the old guard, including Sebastian and Flounder, as well as the new evil villain Morgana, who is the sister of the witch Ursula, form the original movie. The cover is busy, colorful, and it works.
The menu is a fluid underwater scene that is quite well done, and presents Ariel and Melody swimming with fish and turtles. it is accompanied by a loop form the music, which of course is similar to the upbeat tunes of the original Little Mermaid.
- The Little Mermaid II Underwater mer-venture Challenge Game – You are presented with more games based on hitting shells and so forth. I don’t get these silly games, and neither does my child. Perhaps some people enjoy them. but I just find them a silly addition to these kids movies.
- The Little Mermaid II DVD Storybook – This is a reading of the story of the film. You can have it read to you, or kids can read the story themselves. It would be interesting for some kids to practice their reading, but seeing as how the story is presented in the DVD, it is a pretty strange inclusion.
- What Am I Sea Creature Game – Again, these “games” as they are called are not all that great, and while I thought this one was the best of the games, it was still not good. In this game you are presented with clues about a certain sea animal, and you are left to guess what is being described. Of course it is presented for kids, but at least this one kept my attention.
- Music Video- There is a song that did not make it to the DVD, entitled “Gonna Get My Wish” which is a song that is sung by the character Morgana, It is not that great of a song, like most of the tunes in the movie, and it is not really needed in the movie itself.
- Merbabies – Included on the disk, but not related directly to the Little Mermaid, is a short animated Disney presentation entitled Merbabies, which was from1938. It is a fun little watch, and probably the best extra on the disk.
The Movie: 4/10
It is hard to compare the Disney straight to video releases to the original films that preceded them, but that is what you end up doing, simply because that is your only reference. The Little Mermaid II is a bit like a redo, as most of the straight to video releases are. It plays like the original, without the originality and without much of the fun. that is not to say that it is not a great ride, but it just is not the same, and cannot give you the same feeling of joy that you experienced while seeing the original.
The Little Mermaid II deals with Melody, the Mermaid daughter of Ariel and Princ Eric, who have now become married and of course, had a child. Melody is kidnapped while meeting her grandfather and the rest of the ocean folk by the evil Morgana. Ariel is able to rescue the young girl, but it is decided that since Morgana has declared basically war on all Mermaids, that Melody should never be allowed to venture into the sea, and she is forced to stay on land with her parents. Ariel tries to protect Melody by herself never going to the sea again, and she tells King triton that Melody can not even know of his existence.
Of course when Melody gets older, she is fascinated by the sea, and drawn to it. At Melody’s12th birthday, nobody can find her, as she is of course swimming in the sea with a dolphin. The rest of the movie revolves around Ariel trying to protect Melody from Morgana, as she explored the sea, as she proclaims that she “can’t help it” as she “just loves the sea.”
Melody eventually is presented with this whole new world to explore, and she runs into trouble with Morgana, who convinces her to try to steal King Triton’s powerful trident, not realizing that Morgana is using her to try to steal from her grandfather. Morgana shows Melody that she is really a mermaid, but that she needs the trident to allow Morgana to make Melody a full mermaid.
The story is very reminiscent of the original, but it just lacks the originality and the impressive music that made the Little Mermaid such a classic. This just seems to be an empty shell (sorry about that) of the Disney classic that it is based on.
Audio & Video: 5/10
The video itself is fine, but I have to comment on the animation. I know that this is a straight to video release, but it looks like it is, as the animation just seems to come up short. There are times when I think it looks great, but other times where it seems as if I was watching a television animated show, which means it is not what it could be. It bothered me a bit. Overall the colors looked fine, and the wide screen presentation seemed ok, but there just was something missing.
The audio sounded great, and the music sounded great, even though the songs are not classics like the original.It is presented in 5.1 Surround Sound, and like all Disney DVD releases, it sounded great.
This is a rent if you have kids who have seen the original movie. I can not say that it was great, but it was entertaining. I have to add that my 3 year old son had issues with watching the Little Mermaid II, as he kept telling me that it was a “girl” movie. I find this hysterical as his favorite Disney film is Mulan, but it was a real struggle to get him to see this one, as he has never seen the original. I would say Disney has done better, and perhaps you should rent the original again, or watch something else instead of struggling through this unoriginal attempt to create the magic of the original.
Overall Score 4/10