Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

The Little Mermaid live action has been one of the most polarising adaptations in recent years and has managed to make a strong impression amongst its doubters. From the casting, to the soundtrack, the film takes you on a wistful and endearing journey that elevates the Disney classic and adds to it with new melodies and a subtle yet powerful reinterpretation of the soundtrack and plot.

Halle Bailey, known for her work as one-half of the singing duo Chloe x Halle, proved to be a revelation in this live-action adaptation. Her portrayal of Ariel not only captured the innocence and curiosity of the original character but also brought a fresh, modern perspective to the role. Her soulful voice and captivating presence breathed new life into the beloved mermaid princess, making her a standout in the film.

The animated Little Mermaid was the first film I ever scored. It was a extremely naive film score. I was very tune oriented, very animation oriented. The songs were, you know, very emotional and had a simplicity to them.[…] [The live-action] takes those elements and draws them into a much more nuanced context. And it’s helped by the fact that people know and love the original and feel those elements in this. It's almost like something you’ve loved as a child has grown up with you.
-Alan Menken
Source: Classicfm 

One of the most significant aspects that set this live-action version apart from its animated predecessor was the reimagining of the soundtrack. Alan Menken, in collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda, took on the task of reworking the beloved songs, and they managed to strike a remarkable balance between paying homage to the original melodies while infusing them with new musical nuances.

The original film's soundtrack, composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, is revered for its timeless and catchy tunes. Classics like Part of Your World, Under the Sea, and Kiss the Girl have become ingrained in pop culture and have been cherished by generations of Disney fans. The challenge, then, was to capture the same magic while adapting the songs to suit the live-action setting and the vocal abilities of the new cast.

Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

In doing so, Menken and Miranda were able to add depth and complexity to the soundtrack. The new arrangements showcased the growth of their musical sensibilities over the years, creating a more mature and textured soundscape that resonated with audiences young and old. The melodies retained their familiarity, but the orchestrations and vocal performances brought a new sense of emotional richness to the songs.

The film's opening number, Part of Your World, exemplified this fresh take on the classic soundtrack. Halle's soprano filled the rendition with a theatrical edge that was both heartwarming and earnest. The orchestral arrangement elevated the song's emotional impact, making it a defining moment in the film that showcased the versatility of Halle Bailey's voice.

Another standout moment was the reimagining of Under the Sea, a song that had won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in the original film. The new version maintained the infectious energy and joy of the original while incorporating new instrumental elements that added an extra layer of depth to the already vibrant song. The visuals and choreography complemented the song, creating a dazzling underwater spectacle that delighted the audience. 

Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

As we follow Ariel's earthy adventures, the soundtrack expands and allows the audience into the inner world of Ariel and Eric. For the first time, and Uncharted waters are two new songs added to the soundtrack. These tracks grant a chance to explore deeper and complex emotions that are unsaid in the original film. The excitement, heartbreak and longing in the melodies add a nuanced layer to the already evocative film.

Overall, the Little Mermaid live-action soundtrack managed to strike the perfect balance between nostalgia and innovation. By honoring the essence of the original songs and their emotional core, while also adding new layers the soundtrack elevated the film to new heights. It was a testament to the creative team's dedication to preserving the spirit of the beloved classic while adding something fresh and relevant for a new generation.


Popular Posts