Little Mermaid, The (Blu-ray) (1989)

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Released 11-Sep-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Music Video-Original Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-@ Disney Animation (10:45)
Storyboards-Extra Figure: Harold the Merman (2:05)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes- How real actors ... (13:13)
Featurette- Howard's stories (16:27)
Featurette-Jodi Benson's journey to the new Fantasyland (4:45)
Deleted Scenes-Seven Deleted Scenes (25:59)
Featurette-Making Of-Treasures Untold: The Making Of The Little Mermaid (45:30)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Storm Warning (8:40)
Featurette-The Little Mermaid: The Story Behind The Story (11:29)
Short Film-The Little Matchgirl (6:39)
Featurette-Under the Sea: An Early Presentation reel (2:35)
Theatrical Trailer-Original Theatrical Trailer (2:15)
Featurette-Funny pictures of John and Ron (1:05)
Interviews-Crew-The animators talk about their characters (1:42)
Featurette-Clements and Musker show The Little Mermaid handshake (0:32)
Music Highlights-Music and More : Disney Songs (13:59)
Audio Commentary-with Ron Clements, John Musker and Alan Menken
Featurette-Disneypedia: From life under the sea (8:25)
Featurette
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 82:48 (Case: 80)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ron Clements
John Musker
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Rene Auberjonois
Christopher Daniel Barnes
Jodi Benson
Pat Carroll
Paddi Edwards
Buddy Hackett
Jason Marin
Kenneth Mars
Edie McClurg
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Alan Menken
Jacques Offenbach
Mark A. Hester


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Catalan
Portuguese
Spanish
English Audio Commentary
English Song Lyrics
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Somewhere deep down in the sea, beyond imagination, is a fantastic adventure! The headstrong mermaid Ariel falls in love with a man, young and handsome prince Eric, and wants nothing more than for him to live with her forever. With the help of her friends, the shy but warm Flounder and Sebastian the reggae chanting crab, she leaves her underwater home and tries in a thrilling race against time to win the love of the prince.

    Every one of us who love films will be familiar with Disney classic animated features, beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 and culminating with Jungle Book in 1967. After Walt Disney, the studio founder died in 1966, Disney struggled to recapture its magic touch from its heyday. This changed with the release of The Little Mermaid in 1989, which grossed over $US210 million against its $US40 million budget. This sparked a renaissance in Disney animation for the next ten years with films such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King becoming instant animated classics alongside The Little Mermaid.

    The Little Mermaid is adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. Disney Studios began to adapt the story soon after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the 1930s, but put the project on hold. Disney Studios were sure that Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales could be brought to life due to their universal appeal, and sure enough, the story about a mermaid who wants to be a human did 'come-to-life' over 50 years later! The Little Mermaid set the template for many animated Disney films in the 1990s. There is a nice, likeable main character, a wonderfully nasty villain and many large and small secondary characters that are easily identifiable and often charming.

    The Little Mermaid uses clean, witty humour that appeals to all ages. Our heroes are innocent and our villains are foolish. There is also a thrilling final battle and a lot of fast-paced action. Don't forget the incredible soundtrack with famous songs that have instant appeal on first hearing. Songs like Under the Sea have become part of our culture that are easily hummed and recognised. Recorded with a full orchestra, the music selection will surely bring back memories of the first time you watched The Little Mermaid.

    And then of course there is the animation, which nowadays has an almost nostalgic value. In the day and age where even Disney focuses on computer animation, it is a benevolent feeling to look at these masses of hand-drawn drawings again. The characters come alive from their animated backgrounds to develop a visual charm which no one can deny. The Little Mermaid is simply wonderful, Disney at its best!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The Little Mermaid used animated hand-drawn cels so it doesn't match the brightness of Disney's subsequent computer-generated features.

    The Little Mermaid's 1080p video transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with AVC MPEG-4 compression. The original theatrical aspect ratio was 1.66:1.

    The Blu-ray is a definite improvement on the 2006 Platinum Edition DVD, with obvious clarity improvements due to the higher bitrate of the Blu-ray video transfer. This is as close as you'll get to the original 1989 cinematic presentation.

    Colour is natural, not overly bright like modern animated films tend to be.

    There are no major artefacts, other than some shots look slightly soft. Still, you must commend the animators for their underwater realism which they achieved in this film!

    Subtitles are available in English, English for the hearing impaired, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish, the audio commentary (a very useful feature!) and a sing-a-long mode for the musical numbers.

Video Ratings Summary
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Shadow Detail
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Overall

Audio

    The English DTS-HD 7.1 audio track will leave little room for complaint as it simply superb!

    The main audio track is an English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. There is also an English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 track and Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs in Catalan, Portuguese and Spanish. The audio commentary is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 also. It's a pity that Disney don't include the original soundtracks on their Region B Blu-ray releases however, I would have enjoyed listening to the original Dolby digital 5.1 track to compare the remastered DTS-HD track.

    Dialogue is clear and synchronised.

    Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's songs enjoy full clarity, every nuance of their score is done justice with this updated mix.

    The surround channel mix of the default English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is replete with directional effects, and realistic sounds of the wind, rain and the ocean.

    The subwoofer has been remastered to provide better bass response in comparison to the original soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
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Audio Sync
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Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Music Video-"Part of your World" - Music video by Carly Rae Jepsen(3:39)

Carly Rae Jepsen has made a new video for this classic song complete with some interesting effects where her reflection sings but she doesn't!

@ Disney Animation (10:45)

We get the animators from the past and present at Disney to discuss the animation techniques used in the film.

Extra Figure: Harold the Merman (2:05)

Featuring mainly storyboards, check out this extra with a deleted character who let down Ursula and pays dire consequences for doing so!

Behind The Scenes- How real actors ... (13:13)

To assist with the animation process, Disney had live action performers act scenes from the film. This extra show you some behind-the-scenes features of this process.

Howard's stories (16:27)

Howard Ashman, the producer and lyricist for composer Alan Menken, is fondly remembered here for his work on The Little Mermaid by his peers. Howard Ashman passed away in 1991, the film Beauty and the Beast was dedicated to his memory.

In their world: Jodi Benson's journey to the new Fantasyland (4:45)

Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel, goes to Disneyland with her family to check out a new attraction.

Seven Deleted Scenes (25:59)

These deleted scenes and the subsequent extras below were included on the 2006 Platinum Edition DVD. The seven deleted scenes include alternate versions of Fathoms Below and Poor Unfortunate Souls, Backstage with Sebastian features Ariel's sisters discovering that she is missing, Sebastian Lost in the Castle highlights Sebastian exploring the Prince's castle, Advice From Sebastian shows the night scene with Ariel and Sebastian, Fight with Ursula is simply an extended scene with different dialogue and Silence is Golden is a song demo of an unused song.

Treasures Untold: The Making Of The Little Mermaid (45:30)

this six-part documentary includes several members of the cast and crew and Roy Disney, film historian Leonard Maltin, former Disney chairman Jeff Katzenberg, director Nora Ephron and director John Waters, famous for Hairspray. Treasures Untold discusses The Little Mermaid's troubled beginnings, long production and the role it played in the studio financial renaissance.

Storm Warning: The Little Mermaid Special Effects Unit (8:40)

This discussion about the complicated special effects on the film focuses mainly on the shipwreck sequence.

The Little Mermaid: The Story Behind The Story (11:29)

This comparison to the original Hans Christian Andersen story demonstrates the differences in the film from the original Danish fairy tale.

Short Film - The Little Matchgirl (6:39)

The film's director Roger Allers, introduces and presents his musical adaptation of another Hans Christian Andersen story.

Under the Sea: An Early Presentation reel (2:35)

Think of this as a work-in-progress demonstration for the studio.

Original Theatrical Trailer (2:15)

The film's original theatrical trailer certainly has aged!

Funny pictures of John and Ron (1:05)

Directors Ron Clements and Jon Musker draw fun caricatures of each other.

The animators talk about their characters (1:42)

A short extra involving discussion of the main characters in the film.

Clements and Musker show The Little Mermaid handshake (0:32)

Another fun extra showing the fun spirit under which the film was developed.

Music and More: Disney Songs (13:59)

The original music video for Kiss The Girl is performed by Ashley Tisdale. There is also an option to view four musical numbers from the film: Part of Your World, Under The Sea, Les Poissons and Kiss The Girl.

Audio Commentary with co-writers/directors Ron Clements and John Musker, and composer Alan Menken

This is a scene-specific commentary mainly. The participants discuss how scenes came about and how certain shots were created. Alan Menken discusses writing the score for the film with lyricist Howard Ashman. The directors provide a wealth of information about the background to many scenes including the voice acting, the animation techniques used and the many complex effects which, at the time, was the most effects used for a Disney animated film. This commentary is required listening for all fans of this film!

Disneypedia: From life under the sea (8:25)

Have a look at the real-life sea animals which inspired the many fun characters in The Little Mermaid.

Under the Sea Adventure: A Virtual Ride Inspired By Disney Imagineers(10:08)

These two extras discuss the plans for a 3-D ride through some of the film's memorable locations.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The 2013 German, United States and United Kingdom Blu-ray Diamond Edition releases of The Little Mermaid only differ in language and subtitling options, otherwise they are identical in extras and specifications.

Summary

    This Diamond Edition of The Little Mermaid is simply a no-brainer. If you haven't bought the Blu-ray release of this wonderful animated classic film, then do so now! Disney has produced yet another comprehensive release for their classic animated films, even producing a 3-D version of the film (Personally, I wouldn't bother with retrospective 3-D releases of films that were not made with 3-D in mind at the time of its cinematic release. Hence, this is why I didn't care for the 3-D Blu-ray release of The Lion King either!). This Blu-ray is guaranteed to make you fall in love again with The Little Mermaid!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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