The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning (2008)

Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Jim Cummings, Sally Field,
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning is a video starring Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, and Jim Cummings. In the kingdom of Atlantica where music is forbidden, the youngest daughter of King Triton, named Ariel, discovers her love...
  • 6.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2020-03-15 Added:
  • Robert Reece, Evan Spiliotopoulos, Jule Selbo, Jenny Wingfield, Hans Christian Andersen, Writer:
  • Peggy Holmes, Director:
  • Producer:

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7 / 10

Wonderful and beautiful animation, not so interesting story

Ever since Disney's "sequels" department has been under new management, there has been a HUGE upgrade in quality. There have only been two animated releases so far, Cinderella III and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. I am not sure if any more sequels are in production.

Consistent between both films is the very high quality animation. TLM:AB keeps CGI to a minimum and much effort has been made to keep the characters close to the original character models (and in many cases, character models have heavily improved over the original). This is probably as good as it will get without the original team of animators.

What saves this film is the fantastic hand-drawn animation in the age of ugly CGI and lazy flash-drawn cartoons. I would go as far as to say that the animation here is on-par or higher than the original 1989 release (the original was plagued with off-model animation). Unfortunately, the story is only so-so. The plot is very weak but effort has been made to develop all of the sisters' personalities, which I really appreciate (they are believable sister to sister relationships). I think Disney recognised that without Alan Menken, the music for TLM would not have charm or beauty. Disney did the right thing for this film by keeping songs short and to a minimum.

This film highly deserves a chance to be seen by many, unlike the rushed and horrible Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.

7 / 10

Very charming prequel, and rather sad...

This prequel was very enjoyable and charming. I don't think it isn't as good as the classic first film or the series(a childhood favourite of mine), but I do think it is an improvement over the rather average Little Mermaid 2:Return to the Sea. Here, the animation is breathtaking, beautifully fluid and colourful, and fairly true in terms of style to the original. The music, while not as catchy as Alan Menekn's score in the original, is still surprisingly delightful. I Remember was outstanding. And the voice acting is great, Jim Cummings is a worthy replacement of Kenneth Mars as Triton, and Jodi Benson(who also voiced Thumbelina in the Don Bluth movie, Ariel isn't the only role she's done, it's just the role she's best remembered by) is just amazing as Ariel, with a fantastic singing voice that makes me want to sing with her. Remember the song in the series' episode Wish Upon a Starfish, Daring To Dance, amazing song, amazing vocals that reduced me to tears. Marina-marvellously voiced by Sally Field- is an improvement over the bland Morgana, Sebastian is hilarious, there is nice character development and Benjamin is so cute. And the beginning with Ariel's mother brought some poignancy. However, the film is too short, the plot while a wonderful idea is rather so-so in execution and takes time to get going, and Flounder's voice was more teenage than innocent-sounding, the latter suited the character more. Still it is a very charming prequel and well worth the look. 7/10 Bethany Cox

6 / 10

A sweet Disney sequel

The Little Mermaid is one of Disney's most lovable classics, it's one of my personal favorites, so I did want to see the sequel, which was pretty average. Normally most Disney sequels are lame or a waste of time, but it seems as if Disney is finally getting something right because The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning is a very sweet movie and was a nice prequel for Ariel to see what her life was like before she met Prince Eric and we learn a little bit about her family and how she came to meet Flounder. This is definitely a must see for the kids, it has fun music, cute characters, and a charming story that anyone could fall in love with. I liked that they chose a different story rather than continuing her life with Eric, I just like the "they lived happily ever after" and that's it, so this was a nice idea to get to know Ariel's sisters and mother.

In this Disney prequel, we explore Ariel's life before she became human, met Eric, met Ursela. Her father is heart broken after her mother is killed by a ship, he forbids music since it reminds him of her and her beautiful voice. Ariel and her sisters grow up in a very boring world with no music or life at all, but Ariel is thirsty for fun, to spice up her life. She comes along with friends who are also trying to make life a little more fun. But a mermaid named Marina is trying to take over the girls and their lives so she can eventually control the kingdom.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning is a fun Disney sequel and was a pleasure to watch. The songs are a lot of fun and the story just charms it's way into your heart. This isn't my favorite Disney sequel, but it was a huge improvement over the second Little Mermaid. I would recommend this for the family or kids, it's a charming film and of course who could resist Sebastian and his fun crazy life under the sea? He, Ariel, and Flounder bring life to this story and I'm sure you'll enjoy it as well.


9 / 10

A Great Prequel

This movie was remarkably refreshing and entertaining. The overall appearance of the film was pleasant. I really enjoyed the character design and animation; the film was very true to the original designs portrayed in the first Little Mermaid, and included just enough of modern 3d animation techniques to give additional depth to the 2d creations without spoiling its 2d nature. The story had a solid plot that supported other Little Mermaid films, as well as giving the viewer a touching glimpse of Ariel's mother and a deeper understanding of King Triton's character. The songs, while not as moving or masterful as Menken and Ashman's work on the first Little Mermaid film, were decent and fit in well with the overall theme of the movie. The movie flowed easily between the musical numbers and non-musical moments.

This is definitely one of those "Movie #3"s that rises well above the awful direction (plot, character, music, etc) that most sequels seem to follow.

10 / 10

Everyone's lovable red-head is back starring in the first Disney prequel

Everyone's lovable red-head we all know and loved is back in a new adventure. You know who I am talking about - it's Ariel and starring in the first Disney prequel, 'cause I wouldn't call it a sequel. Set before she walked on land and married her Prince.

Under the narration of Sebastian, the story starts with King Triton and his wife, Queen Athena, have seven young daughters (the youngest of whom is Ariel). The entirety of the underwater kingdom of Atlantica is filled with joy, music and laughter. The merfolk are shown relaxing in a lagoon above water, and Triton gives Athena a small music box. A pirate ship approaches and they attack, stealing the merpeople's possessions. Everyone escapes except Queen Athena, who is crushed by the pirate ship. Devastated by Athena's death, Triton throws the music box away and bans music from the kingdom. Ten years later, Triton's daughters live under a strict schedule maintained by their governess, Marina Del Rey an original villainess voiced by Sally Field; no relations to the two witches what so ever. Marina hates her job and longs for Sebastian's, who is the king's attache. Ariel is frustrated by their current lifestyle, which brings her into conflict with her strict father. During their morning "walk", Ariel tickles her sister Adella with kelp, and she is given the punishment of cleaning barnacles. While carrying out her punishment, Ariel encounters Flounder, a fish, who is making music. That night, Ariel sees Flounder outside the window, and follows him to an underground music club. She is overjoyed by the presence of music, and is shocked when she learns that Sebastian performs at the club. When her presence is revealed, at first all the club patrons flee, but Ariel sings a song explaining her love of music, and she joins the club with an oath. That's all I am telling you. You will have see it for yourself.

It's great to finally see Ariel's mother Queen Athena, who looks like Ariel. But I can see some differences between mother and daughter: Athena's hair is a different shade of red compare to Ariel and done up almost like a ponytail. And her eyes I think are green. Overall, Ariel's Beginning is another excellent Disney OAV (original animated video),and prefect to go with the original film and "Return to the Sea." I love out of Ariel's sisters Alana (pink fin), Arista (red fin) and Attina (orange fin).