‘The Little Mermaid’ First Reactions

The world premiere of The Little Mermaid drew a star-studded crowd last night, with celebrities turning out to the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles to celebrate the highly anticipated live-action remake of the beloved Disney classic. The red carpet was awash in blue, the color of the sea, as stars like Halle Bailey (Ariel), Melissa McCarthy (Ursula), Jonah Hauer-King (Eric), Javier Bardem (King Triton), Daveed Diggs (Sebastian), Jacob Tremblay (Flounder), Awkwafina (Scuttle) arrived to celebrate the film.

Directed by the legendary Rob MarshallThe Little Mermaid is the live-action retelling of the 1989 Oscar-winning animated film. After the premiere, Disney lifted its social media embargo on reactions, and those who had already seen the film were free to give their thoughts.

Praise for Halle Bailey as Ariel & the movie

Brandon Lewis said that Bailey “belongs in the new A-list class”:

Kathia Woods said that The Little Mermaid “is a tribute to all little girls to dream big.” She also said that Bailey is “sheer magic.”

Ron Seoul-Oh called Bailey “radiant, charming & every bit a Disney princess.”

Michael Lee said it was “romantic and full of musical joy, even if it’s slightly overstuffed.”

Matt Neglia said that Baileyastonishes” with “her gorgeous singing & empathetic charm.”

Tessa Smith said “I can’t stop thinking about The Little Mermaid.”

Praise for the rest of the cast

Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton and Star Trek: Prodigy fame) earned kudos for his portrayal of the crab Sebastian as well.

John Nguyen called out Hauer-King as “charming” as Eric.



Critic Courtney Howard shared the following thoughts.

@BecomingFelicia was also not sold on Ursula, saying the film “struggles in the villain department.”

What is The Little Mermaid about?

According to Disney, The Little Mermaid reimagines the nearly 35-year-old tale. They’ve released the following plot summary:

“The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.” Source

If you’ve watched the original animated version, that sounds pretty close to the storyline. However, the runtime of this new The Little Mermaid is almost an hour longer than the original movie. Details have been scant about what the extra time could include, but it’s a safe bet that there will be new songs and new depth to characters that only got a little screen time.

Sneak Peek at a classic song

Two days ago, Disney released a sneak peek of the live-action version of the song “Part of Your World.” You can watch it below:

How to watch The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid will release in theaters on May 26, 2023. It will be available on Disney Plus later this year. Full reviews of the film will also be available later this month before the movie hits theaters. 

What do you think of the first reactions to The Little Mermaid? Join the conversation by commenting here or connecting with us on Twitter @MoviesWeTexted.  

If you’re looking for something else to watch, be sure to check out our review of Disney’s Peter Pan & Wendy.