The Little Mermaid (2018)

dir. Blake Harris

Well, it certainly doesn’t have any of the magic of the Disney version. Which would be fine, if it retained any of the magic of Hans Christian Andersen’s original. But it does not. The Little Mermaid is an extremely confused story about a girl and her uncle encountering a mermaid being held captive at a circus. Is this mermaid the same mermaid featured in the film’s animated opening sequence, which more closely tells the original fairy tale story? It’s not really made clear. Is the little girl, suffering from an ambiguous illness but constantly referred to as having a special magic of her own, a mermaid too? Also not really ever clarified. Meanwhile, the circus fortune teller is later shown to have the ability to manipulate time and matter to her will, yet never bothered using these universe-commanding powers to escape the circus before. Towards the end of the movie, a random werewolf type character is thrown in out of nowhere. He’s also a hero now. At its core, all the The Little Mermaid really seems to have to say is “believe in things” and “swimming is nice to do”, yet its cinematic attempt to convey these messages is so contrived and confusing that by the movie’s end, the average viewer will likely wind up losing all belief in everything and never wanting to swim again.

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