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Angelina’s ‘80s Archive: The Little Mermaid

Countless people have grown up with fairy tales and, whether we like it or not, the Walt Disney Company is a leading source for those stories. Though by the time fairy tale films are released by Disney, they bare little resemblance to the original works of authors such as The Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and (as is the case with The Little Mermaid) Hans Christian Andersen that inspired them, you can’t deny that they know how to make a movie. The Little Mermaid is no exception, so here is this week’s Sea-Witchin’ Bio… (I really tried something there and I do not think it worked.)

Release Date: November 13, 1989

Synopsis: Mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson), a teenage princess and daughter of King Triton (Kenneth Mars) wishes to be human. Infatuated with Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes), whom she rescued from a shipwreck, Ariel makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula (Pat Carroll), trading her voice for three days on land. During the three days, and without the voice that is the only thing Eric knows about her, she must have a true love’s kiss or revert to her mermaid form and become Ursula’s slave. Ursula plans for Ariel’s failure, but with the help of her friends, the “little mermaid” may just get her way. 


The woman behind the witch. Do you know who gave voice to Ursula? ?? #PoorUnfortunateSunday

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Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Three. Jodi Benson is in another Disney movie—Enchanted (2007), which stars Amy Adams. Amy Adams is in Doubt (2008) with Meryl Streep, who stars in The River Wild (1994) with Bacon. 

Come For: The movie that is remarked as the beginning of the “Disney Renaissance.”

Stay For: The chance to face your own anger at anyone who wouldn’t want to be a mermaid, as well as the fun that comes from trying to analyze and justify Ariel’s choices. Plus, (the man, the myth, the legend) Alan Menken’s Oscar-winning score and Original Song, “Under the Sea.”


We could watch these sparkly booms all day. Maybe we will! ??? #FourthofJuly

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Had I Seen It? In typical American girlhood fashion, absolutely!

Do I Like It? Yes. The movie is beautiful, and I’ll take a “Part of Your World” sing-along any day, but I still get angry when people/mermaids fall in love with people they haven’t even truly met! The Little Mermaid is not my absolute favorite Disney film, but I do believe it deserves the praise it gets.

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Look at this sketch… isn’t it neat?! ??: @disneyanimation

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This article is being released on my birthday, so if you’re reading this, that means I’ve turned 20! It also means I want to say “Happy Valentine’s Day!” to you all. Don’t forget to show yourselves some love, whatever that means to you. And remember to join me next week for coverage of our first ever TV show: the pilot episode of Family Ties (1982).

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Angelina is a senior at BU, studying English in the College of Arts and Sciences, with a focus on Shakespeare. She is from Somerville, MA. In addition to writing for HCBU, Angelina is the Director of BU On Broadway Off Broadway and has been involved with theater through BU Shakespeare Society, Wandering Minds, and Stage Troupe. Outside of school, she enjoys dancing, music, baking, and movie marathons. Her pop culture heart lives in the 1980's.
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