character studiesHow ‘The Little Mermaid\' set the movie tone for our entire generationRachel Paige
Twenty-five years ago this week, a new era of animation was born. Pretty much right after its release in 1989,
There’s a high chance you and your siblings grew up not only watching the movie, but singing along to the movie, and then jumping into pools and trying to throw your hair back in just the right way, in the hopes of mimicking Ariel. It’s okay, we all did it, because
quickly became a staple VHS, then a staple DVD, and now it’s something in heavy rotation on Netflix. But, you might not realize just how important
was the birth of what many refer to as the Disney Renaissance.
Here’s a very quick and condensed Disney animation history lesson for you: Once upon a time, the giant media conglomerate was struggling in the cartoon department. Walt Disney had set up his little animation empire — and let it be noted that many thought he was crazy for trying to make full-length animated features for the general public — and was churning out film after film. Walt passed away in 1966, and his brother, Roy, took over the company. Then, Roy passed away in 1971 and it was as if the company lost its footing for a little bit. And, on top of that, other animation studios were starting to get in on the animation game, and they were turning out higher quality films which were making more of a profit. During the ’80s, Disney Animation released films like
. While none of these films were “bad,” per say, none of them were really great, either.
is downright scary, actually, and frightened many young children hoping to see a feel-good movie (myself included).
Meanwhile, other animation studios were releasing films like
which greatly out performed any Disney release. The studio needed to do something to regain its former glory. Cue Ah-Ah-Ah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah!
Disney decided to re-think a film Walt had originally wanted to make in the 1930s — Hans Christian Andersen’s
. They didn’t just want to make another animated film, they wanted to make an animated musical, even bigger and better than the ones they had done in the past. They wanted to make a show-stopping Broadway-feel musical, and turned to the musical team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken for assistance. It worked. When
opened it outperformed the other new animated release that weekend —
went on to become the highest grossing fully animated film to date, and won two Academy Awards that year, one for score and one for song (“Under the Sea”).
Rachel enjoys binge watching television shows on Netflix, substituting peanut butter for other ingredients while baking, and talking about her two favorite animals—ducks and dinosaurs. She wrote a book, and it\'s selling very well overseas. Her patronus is Jeff Goldblum in
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Great article, I agree with the opinion and most of the Disney related facts, they are spot on. However, I know from a short research that the highest grossing fully animated film (not computer made) was ‘The Lion King’. Correct me if I’m wrong. And even so, I believe most sources seem to forget about our japanese friends’ masterpiece ‘Spirited Away’ grossing results. Otherwise, great article.
It had such an impact on me, I am having a mermaid wedding this December!
The Little Mermaid…what can i say…I admit, in my early 20′s I was “hooked” by the animated feature…The mysterious sea, the enigmatic mermaids…and Ariel was one of them…I was “submerged” into the mermaid mythos…but soon, I realized it wasn’t Ariel who was packing up all the super natural mysteries; it was Eric…Ariel was nothing but an admirer for this human so all my positive sentiments for the Little Mermaid fizzled out…Soon, Disney Princesses only equates to weak women, easily tamed and melted by male leads and so, I avoided any Disney Movie that depicts a “Princess.” But lately, another Disney Red head changed all that…It was Pixar’s Merida of “Brave”….I was back at admiring Disney Princess…The new ones and it’s Merida I thank for.
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