Be Our (or My) Guest… for this “Beauty & the Beast” Comparison: 1991 vs. 2017 Adaptations

Warning: contains spoilers***


Many of us remember or grew up on the 1991 cartoon of “Beauty and the Beast”. I used to watch it as a small child. I have watched it in recent years, as well.

Of course, I understood the story better more recently than as a little kid. A selfish prince is cursed with becoming a monstrous beast and his servants turning into furniture or props. The enchanted rose loses petals and the beast must love another, and she must love him back by the time the last petal falls. Then the spell will break. A provincial village girl named Belle is seen as strange by her community. Her father goes out on a trip somewhere, but gets lost. Despite the servants’ kindness, the beast imprisons him. Belle finds her father and is willing to take his place. Things move in another direction.

I stopped there because this post is not the synopsis for either adaptation. It is to compare and contrast them.

The 2017 live-action remake featured Emma Watson as Belle, after being known for playing Hermione in the “Harry Potter” movies. Her voice might not match or even sound similar to Paige O’Hara (who voiced Belle in the 1991 cartoon). I also noticed that she couldn’t sustain certain long notes in certain songs as Paige O’Hara did. But I still admired her portrayal of Belle.

The live-action remake also focused on plot holes that didn’t make it into the animated version. For example, there was a lot of emphasis on what happened to Belle’s mother (she died from a disease when Belle was a baby), as well as the Beast’s parents. One plot hole that was mentioned at the beginning explained why no one had wondered what had happened the prince. It was because the curse also wiped the outsider’s memories. While that covered the unanswered question, I felt that the narrator had forced it in instead of it sounding more natural.

Minor parts of the story were changed from the 1991 film, as well as songs. Some songs were added or changed up a bit. One wasn’t sung and that was the song, “Human Again”, when the servants saw the progress Belle and the Beast were making with their romance.

Because I expect differences from originals to remakes, I found both adaptations to be equally good. The cartoon was lighter in mood, compared the live-action reboot. The live-action remake had some changes, but I knew they would. Movie-makers usually don’t like to copy the original sources of either the films they’re remaking or books. They feel that they won’t succeed as much. Of course, many people like the original movies or book sources much better than the reboots or book-to-film adaptations.

Nevertheless, I would rate each version of “Beauty and the Beast” 5 out of 5 stars. I felt that they were too different for me to decide which was better or not as good.



Character Critiques… True as They Can be… Beauty and the Beast-1991

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

The animated version of “Beauty and the Beast” remains one of my favorite Disney movies. I liked the live-action remake equally to the cartoon.

However, this post will only critique the characters in the 1991 cartoon. I will discuss all the major and minor characters (including the 3 silly girls in love with Gaston).

1: The Beast:

We all know how and why he became a beast and what he had to do to turn back into a human. His struggle to show kindness communicated well. He had trouble smiling and showing manners. He needed assistance from his servants.

When he grew and changed into a kinder entity, though, there was not much that either hinted at his change or did it gradually. It was a little too abrupt or sudden for plot convenience. The only hint is when he saved Belle after she ran away. However, I did like the beast more after he changed into a nicer character.

HIs anxiety right before the “Beauty and the Beast” song number felt real. I could easily relate to that since I often have to deal with anxiety.

2: Belle:

The provincial village girl who loves to read and is often misunderstood by her community was also well-developed. She was naïve and a little whiny at times, but also strong and brave. She refused to marry Gaston and longed for freedom and adventure. Her relationship to her horse, Philippe was adorable. She and her father’s bond also did well. And her attempt to love the beast was brilliant.

There is a conspiracy theory about Belle having Stockholm Syndrome, but I’m not sure if it’s true. Belle was a likable character.

When she entered the west wing, despite the Beast’s order to never go there, I appreciated how she resisted with Lumiere and Cogsworth, and checked out the area. I felt when she discovered the prince’s portrait before he’d turned into a beast, I felt that it was an important plot element. Had she gone there, would the ending have differed and would she have been confused?

3: Gaston:

The handsome man who wanted to marry Belle was also the main antagonist. Like the other villagers, he considered Belle’s father crazy and wouldn’t believe him about the beast until Belle revealed him to them. His sense of humor and sin was well balanced.

4: Lefou:

He was Gaston’s sidekick. He was silly, but also sinful. He tried to keep Gaston in a good mood. His character design was humorous and appropriate for his personality. Although when Gaston died, we never know what happened to Lefou after.

5: Maurice:

As the father of Belle, and un-liked by the village, Maurice is a great inventor. He also shows love and concern for his daughter. His fear at times was done well. I liked how he got excited over the props in the Beast’s castle (and didn’t know that they were once people). The moment he played with Cogsworth and called him an invention was hilarious.

Because he was unpopular, I often felt sorry for him. However, he was also a likable character.

6: Lumiere:

The kind servant who was turned into a candlestick was willing to take Maurice in, despite the Beast’s rules at the time. He was willing to give Belle dinner and the song, “Be Our Guest” was great.

I will say when he first greeted Belle, he went a little to far with the kissing. When he was mad that the beast let Belle go, his assumption that maybe it would’ve been better if Belle never came at all made him believable. Although, he seemed to have trouble remembering her name. Right before the “Beauty and the Beast” song number, he still called her, “the girl” instead of her name, “Belle”. Does Lumiere struggle to remember names of new people?

7: Cogsworth:

The clock servant had little sympathy when the beast was still nasty to outsiders. He disapproved of Maurice staying inside the castle because he was worried that the beast would find out, and then he did. When the beast changed into becoming nicer, so did Cogsworth.

8: Mrs. Potts:

One of the few female characters in this movie was turned into a tea-pot. She was kind like Lumiere. When she offered tea to Belle, that was sweet. The way she raised Chip was also great.

9: Chip:

He was Mrs. Potts’s son. He was so cute with Belle and was very brave. When he laughed at the beast’s bad eating manners, and Mrs. Potts gave him a dirty look, I must admit that I agreed with Chip. I appreciated how he helped Belle and Maurice escape from being sent to the asylum.

10: The 3 silly girls:

The blonde triplets who were in love with Gaston were funny. However, someone in a YouTube video pointed out that they didn’t do much to enhance the story. I couldn’t help but agree with them. However, their actions still amused me.


Do you want to mention anything you like about these characters?


Why I Often Like the Movies More than the Books

book vs movie pic final

“The books are always better than the movies,” say everyone, but me. Of course, if I have neither read the book nor seen the movie, I would not have a say. But at least with, “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Flies”, “Aladdin”, and “The Little Mermaid”, I like the movies a lot more.

Now all these opinions are my own, so everyone can still prefer the books over the movies. A lot of people get disappointed when something they liked in a book was cut from the film adaptation or changed. I totally understand that. With me, though, there are sometimes moments in books that I didn’t like, and if removed or altered, I appreciated. The “Harry Potter” franchise is actually one of the biggest of these. You can read that on another post, though.

“Lord of the Flies” was a required book when I attended high school. I found it boring, but the movie engaging. “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid”, like many other Disney movies, were based off fairytales. And the original stories were pretty R-rated. I don’t know if they were all told to children, but, of course, Disney had to drastically clean them up to make them appropriate for all ages. There are several moments from Disney classics that would not be acceptable today (i.e. a damsel-in-distress or a guy kissing a strange unconscious girl to wake her up). There are also several moments that aren’t historically accurate, and if they were, the movies would not have been rated G or PG.

Films usually have a time-limit to their productions as well as budgets. So that is why many exciting content, unfortunately, has to be cut. I actually am trying to get myself to read more. I enjoyed reading fiction for fun until fourth grade. I would only read fiction if forced to. Then right before eighth grade, I read the “Harry Potter” books. I would only read for fun if it was a “Harry Potter” novel.

Anyway, I tend to view book-to-film adaptations differently. There actually are rare occasions when I like something in the books more than the films. But, generally, the opposite is more like me.


Oh Monster’s University, My Critique Sings for Thee

Warning: Contains spoilers***

I saw the first “Monster’s Inc.” film in the movie theatre when it first came out in 2001. I was 20 days away from turning 8. I liked it then.

And then came the prequel, “Monster’s University” in 2013. With a better understanding of films and storytelling, I comprehended the story and elements. I have studied writing and storytelling, so I have viewed the movie from a writer’s POV. I identified the plot points, characterizations, conflict, twists, and more.

Here are the elements I thought were done well:

1: The Plot Twists

Mike was desperate become a scarer. He wrote out a plan for the rest of his college career and when he made it to the real world. Regardless of what others told him, Mike was still determined to convince others that he could scare easily. When he was kicked out of the scaring program in the middle of the film, he still wouldn’t give up. After so much hard work, Mike “won” the final competition. Sully had cheated to make Mike win. Disgusted, Mike broke into the door lab and actually tried to scare, only to discover that everyone was right all along. He couldn’t scare a single child. Sully finds him, and the two return to the monster world. They get expelled, but find work in the mailing room of Monster’s Incorporated.

I appreciated how the story was not too predictable. When Mike thought he’d won the final scaring part, I was surprised to find out that he didn’t. More twists and turns occurred, and although Mike didn’t achieve his goal, the ending was still satisfying.

2: The characters’ origins before “Monster’s Inc.”

Mike dreamed of becoming a scarer. Sully bragged about being the son of a famous scarer. Randall was Mike’s first roommate and wanted to fit in with the cool kids. Their motivations evolved what they eventually became when the events of “Monster’s Inc.” began.

I knew beforehand that Mike and Sully started out as foes. I didn’t expect Randall (or Randy, as he preferred to be called) to start out as Mike’s roommate and be friendly. I felt the biggest moment for setting up the characterizations in “Monster’s Inc.” was when Mike tried to sign up for the scare games. Randy turning down Mike’s scare team hinted at how he was going to go bad. Sully offering to join, even though Mike didn’t want him, gave a clue that the two would form friendships after being enemies. These things all matter.

3: Every line of dialogue was super-important to the story

This may sound obvious to some, but every line of dialogue in any form of written or visual media needs significance to the plot. Each line represented the characters’ motivations and moved the story forward very well. I find this has done better than in some other movies.

Now onto what I didn’t exactly agree with:

1: Monsters being discriminated for not looking frightening

Although this is crucial to the plot, I found to be the equivalent to human racism. Mike was kicked out of the scaring program just because he wasn’t scary. That was discriminatory.

In fact, I am pretty sure that in real life, Mike would actually be a little scary. I don’t know about most people, but if I saw something that looked like him walking around, I would certainly freak out, because I wouldn’t expect something like him to exist.

Of course, it is not okay to fear people because of their looks. But that is my one criticism of “Monster’s University”.

I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. It is one of those movies I can easily watch over and over again.


Feel “The Jungle Book” Rhythm: The 1967 and 2003 Cartoon Comparisons

Warning: Contains spoilers***


“The Jungle Book” was the first animated Disney feature since Walt Disney had died a year before in 1966. I did not watch recent live-action remake, so it will not be part of this comparison.

I actually saw the sequel from 2003 first. I didn’t see it in the movie theater, but I did watch it regularly after it came on DVD. The opening starts off with Mowgli using shadow puppets to narrate the story of the first movie. It then starts its own plot. Mowgli is forbidden to go into the jungle because his authority figures consider it dangerous. But Mowgli just misses the jungle. Baloo misses Mowgli and rebels against Bagheera’s demand to not take Mowgli back. After Mowgli is punished for leading the other children from the village to the jungle, Baloo finds him and takes Mowgli back into the jungle. However, Shere Khan is still out to hurt Mowgli.

I haven’t seen “The Jungle Book 2” in years. However, I did see the main feature from 1967. It gave me a better understanding of the sequel. As an infant, Mowgli is raised by wolves. Years later, Bagheera forces him into the village, but Mowgli keeps resisting and wants to stay in the jungle. He meets and befriends Baloo, gets kidnapped by monkeys but trusts them, runs away after Baloo tells him to go to the village, and faces the dangerous Shere Khan.

Now onto my opinions: I found the first film to be less engaging than the sequel. The sequel was more modernized and had a new cast of voices. I also appreciated how Shanti becomes a more major character and is not whiny or too reliable on males. Her name is not said when she is first introduced at the end of the first installment. She also has no speaking lines; just a song and a giggle. Despite how she becomes essential in the second movie, I felt that having her in the first movie was just a quick and cheap way to get Mowgli to go to the village. There were no hints to Shanti, except at the beginning credits with her voice actress’s name. But she was just referred to as “the girl.”

Also, in the main movie, why did Baloo deliberately fake his death, other than for plot convenience? It seems common for there to be sad moments before the happy endings in Disney movies. But rather than having someone save Baloo more believably, he just surprisingly turned out to be alive.

I still enjoyed the first film enough to rate it 4 out of 5 stars. However, I favor the sequel more, even though I haven’t seen it in several years. The film wrapped up more believably and there was no forced content just for plot convenience.


We’re Off to Start the Critique… The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (R-rated YouTube Parody vs. 1939 film)

Warning: contains spoilers of both versions***


While browsing through YouTube, I came across something called “R-rated Wizard of Oz”. It is an animated parody of the 1939 movie. There, Dorothy is fierce, tough, and slays threats.

I will not put a link here for copyright reasons. However, you can go to YouTube and search for “R-rated Wizard of Oz”. Then you can watch it.

What I discovered about that version was that I liked the tough and fierce Dorothy more than in the actual film from 1939. The slaying might have been a little much, though. However, after seeing the parody, it made me find the 1939 movie-Dorothy a lot less likable.

Now I am not trying to put down the character or act overly feminist (since feminism is not one of my specialized topics for my blog posts), but I will admit that now I find the 1939 film version of Dorothy too whiny and closer to being a damsel-in-distress.

Yes, it was the 1930’s, when standards for females differed from today, and whininess and damsels-in-distress were accepted, and possibly expected. However, growing up in a time where females want equality and to prove they are not weak or dependent on males, I am among many others who frown upon female characters as whiny damsels-in-distress. Today’s standards of female characters being fierce, strong, brave, and not very whiny, would have been shocking and maybe against standards in the 1930’s. “The Wizard of Oz” was a huge success and remains a popular classic today. However, if it had come out today, or if Dorothy were fierce and tough in the movie back in 1939, would either one have been a flop? Would “The Wizard of Oz” not have become a big classic today? Would people today have complained about Dorothy being too whiny and damsel-in-distress like, therefore, not liking her as a character?

In the film, Dorothy kept whining about wanting to go home and would cry if she didn’t get what she wanted in Oz, such as when the Wizard refused to see her. In the scene where the wicked witch locks her in a room after Toto escapes, Dorothy just sits and cries. Rather than trying to figure out a way to escape by herself, she waits for the other three (male) companions to rescue her. Dorothy was rarely angry without whining or crying.

In the R-rated parody, Dorothy is somewhat dark, but tough, fierce, and brave. She showed less fear when defeating the wicked witch at the end as well as when she overthrew the flying monkeys. While the killing was not as necessary, the clip demonstrates what is expected for females in any creative work today, regardless of setting.

I liked “The Wizard of Oz” when I was a child. But if there is ever a remake (not counting the Muppets version from the mid-2000’s), I think updating Dorothy’s character to being fiercer and less whiny would make both the character and the adaptation more successful.



“Paranorman” (2012): Must be the Time of the Critique

Warning: Contains spoilers***


I first discovered this film when my family watched it in the living room of our house. I didn’t see the whole thing until the second time on my own. However, I saw enough that it caught my interest.

“Paranorman” portrays a young boy, named Norman Babcock, who can talk to the dead. He is the only one who can see ghosts. However, others don’t understand him and they think he is crazy… except for a heavy kid named Neil, who gets excited by Norman’s special powers.

But Norman is given a task to stop a witch’s curse from raising the dead. He fails and the zombies go to town. The community tries to hurt the zombies until Norman understands them and discovers that they are not trying to hurt anybody.

I enjoyed the movie enough that I watched it over and over again on my own. In fact, “Paranorman” is one of the few movies I can watch a lot in a short period of time.

And now, what I admired about the film:


1: The humor


Despite the dark tone, the humor added was done well. I loved the scene of the guy waiting for his snack at the vending machine while the zombies come closer to him. The dialogue also expresses humor effectively. It’s especially funny in the second half of the film.


2: The plot twist revealing the “witch”


I appreciated the twist on how the “witch” was just a miserable little girl that nobody had understood and had been executed for “witchcraft”. That plays well into what people should be expected to know today. Obviously, there were never wicked witches who flew on broomsticks and cackled in real life. However, the accusation of people being witches throughout history and getting punished for it actually happened in history.

Of course, people have changed then and try to support those that others constantly miscomprehend. I adored how Norman tried to talk to the girl, called Agatha, to get her to stop the jinx. After the fight scene, the next one calmed down and showed Agatha’s true innocence.


3: The historical facts about Puritans


Although this is frowned upon in storytelling if overdone, just the right amount that the plot needs will make it work. In “Paranorman”, the facts about the Pilgrims and their culture engaged my interest in the film even more. I was reminded facts that I had almost forgotten myself, like when people found guilty of witchcraft were no longer considered humans.


Now onto the parts I believe could have been portrayed better:


1: Believability


Despite the humor in the plot and characterization, I found certain elements to be unbelievable. While that didn’t bother me much, I was surprised when I discovered that “Paranorman” was based off a book. Book rules are another story, but characters do have to behave like real people. Unless the movie changed pretty much everything from the book, I feel that the story and characters could have been more believable.

For example, Norman walks to school for minutes by himself, at age 11. If the story took place in the 70’s or earlier, then that would have been believable. However, it takes place around the time it was released. If you let your eleven-year-old child walk to school in a city alone, you could get in trouble with CPS.

Another example was when Salma barely reacted to Norman thinking that the zombies were about to eat him. She just sighed and answered his question about finding out where the witch was buried. Even if you didn’t care about your classmate, wouldn’t you be scared if he or she called you and told you about a zombie currently attacking him or her? I certainly would.


2: The character stereotypes


Norman’s mother is more gentle and shows more effort in understanding him than his father, who is rougher and refuses to comprehend what he goes through. His older sister, Courtney, gets annoyed with his actions, talks on the phone a lot, and talks with the stereotypical teenage girl language. Doesn’t anyone find these clichéd at this point?


3: The mildly mature content


I used to think “Paranorman” was rated PG-13 due to the language, mildly sexual terms, and dark tone. It is actually PG, like almost every children’s movie is these days. The others may have crude humor or mild language (not cursing, but words like “idiot”), but they are not usually like “Paranorman”. I don’t know if a child under 12 should watch “Paranorman” unless they are considered very mature for his or her age.


Overall, though, I would rate “Paranorman” 5 out of 5 stars. I still enjoyed it very much and hope to watch it again soon.





A Whole New Critique… for Disney’s “Aladdin” (1992)

Warning: Contains spoilers***


The Disney film, “Aladdin” remains on my top favorite movie lists. From the characters, to the songs, to the story elements, it has done very well for me. I watched it when I was little and then again starting in college? Why did I go so many years without watching it? Let’s just say I went through a weird phase of avoiding certain Disney movies.

We all know the story. A young street urchin who has to steal to live falls in love with the princess. But by law, she can only marry a prince. With the help of the genie, Aladdin “becomes” a prince just to win the princess. Things do not go as planned.

I could spend an entire post summarizing the movie. But here I am going to point out what I liked and what I felt could have been better. First I will begin with the strengths.


1: The plot and other story elements


Of course, any movie has to follow the classic plot structure in order to be released. What I admired about “Aladdin” is that it’s not only engaging, but has a strong plot focusing on the romance between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. I also appreciated how each character had a goal that made them rounder and likable. Aladdin wanted to have a better life and win Jasmine. Jasmine wanted freedom and the rights to make her own choices. Jafar wanted to overthrow the sultan and become the ruler of Agrabah. The genie wanted freedom from the lamp. The tones that set the moods for the scenes were also done well. Tension happened at the right spots (such as the final battle between Aladdin and Jafar), as well as melancholy (like when Jasmine cries over Aladdin “going to die”) and the beautiful satisfactory moments (like when Aladdin frees the genie on his third wish).

One thing about the final battle scene I supported was how Aladdin was on his own to defeat Jafar. In some Disney movies, the main character has support from at least one other or works together with a group. In “Aladdin”, where the hero is on his own to overthrow the villain, it adds more growth and change to the hero. Now onto the next strength.


2: The genie’s character


I really loved Robin Williams as the voice of the genie. I heard the genie was based off Robin Williams’s comedy. A lot of references are hard to be picked up by children, but are easy for adults to understand. The movie references the genie did were great. I also liked when he pretended to be a female flight attendant and cheerleader. In both scenes he wore the same wig and I found that humorous. I heard that in the second movie (Return of Jafar) and the TV series, someone else voiced the genie (I can’t remember his name). But I liked Robin Williams more for Genie. May Mr. Williams rest in peace.


3: Aladdin and Jasmine as a couple


Many people described their relationship as realistic, although there are a couple exceptions of when I found their actions unbelievable (like when they almost kissed right after meeting and Jasmine getting sad when she heard about Aladdin’s execution that obviously didn’t happen). Other than that, I liked how they first acted after leaving the market. Aladdin hesitated at times or behaved a little awkwardly (probably typical in the early stages of romance). I thought the ending of the movie with the short reprise of “A Whole New World” was very sweet and beautiful. For some reason, I have always been drawn to Jasmine and Aladdin as a couple ranked as my favorite.


Now onto the parts I felt could have been better.


1: Too predictable at times


I get that everything in a story needs to be important, if not at the current moment, then later. But I felt that “Aladdin” became too predictable at certain times. When Iago talks about stuffing crackers down the sultan’s throat, when Aladdin speaks about living in a palace, and the “Cosmic Power!” moments, are also examples of this. I know foreshadowing is essential in storytelling. But I felt that “Aladdin” kind of over did it.


2: The mystery of the people, animals, and props in the parade during the “Prince Ali” number: Where did they come from and where did they go after?


The genie dressed up Aladdin in prince attire. He also turned Abu into an elephant. But when he is creating the parade, we don’t get to see or know where the people, props, and animals all came from. Did Genie create them all from scratch? Did he borrow them from other places? A little of both? And after the parade is done, where did they all go? I get that the plot needed to move forward, but I felt that plot hole was too loose to end.


3: How does Iago know how to imitate others?


He mimicked Jasmine’s voice, both by repeating something she had said right before about when she’s queen, and tricking Aladdin with Jasmine’s voice just so he could give Jafar the lamp. He also knew how to speak and sound exactly like Jafar. That part of his character development goes unexplained.


4: Out of all the deadlines for a princess to be married, why make it her next birthday?


I found this to be very amateurish. That choice felt too random to me as if the creators didn’t put any thought into it. Most importantly, it feels too out of place for the story. Why couldn’t the deadline be something else, like a certain humble (and not festive) holiday, moon phase, or a date set by royal standards that was the same for every past prince or princess, regardless of birth dates?

While a birthday in the story does not have to be shown with hullabaloos, gifts, etc. (of course, that would have really detracted from the plot of “Aladdin”, even if there was conflict), it should be crucial enough that the story could not work without it. In “Tangled”, it is important, and so is it in “Sleeping Beauty”. But in “Aladdin” I just felt that it didn’t really belong. If you’ve seen “Tangled”, you saw how Rapunzel valued her birthday and wanted it to be enjoyable. She begged Mother Gothel to let her leave the tower and go see the lights that always appeared on her birthday. In “Sleeping Beauty”, Aurora’s sixteenth birthday plays a role to the plot and Maleficent’s goal (according to a plot summary I’ve read online).

But in “Aladdin”, after the sultan tells Jasmine that she must marry a prince by her next birthday, that specific choice ends there and doesn’t show significance after. Had the creators scrapped it and replaced with something else, either that can be treated as ordinary or something more relevant to the plot, it would have done nothing to the other story elements. In fact, in the Broadway production, the mention of that next birthday was actually removed. It was probably also scrapped entirely. I was glad they did that. I hope that it’s also removed from the live-action remake, coming out next year, and won’t be surprised if it is.


All in all, I would still rate “Aladdin” 5 out of 5 stars. It is still a great movie for people of all ages that I would gladly recommend.



“The Little Mermaid” (1989): Wish this Critique… Part of Our World

Warning: contains spoilers***

Many of us have seen and enjoyed Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” from the characters to the music and much more.

That being said, I will critique the movie. Also, like I said at the beginning, this post will contain spoilers. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, but want to, I would recommend doing that first.

We all know the story. A young mermaid princess longs to live on land, defying her father’s rules, and wants to be with the human prince of her dreams. However, making a deal with the sea witch, she must give up her voice to receive a pair of legs. Things go well and then get worse. But the story ends happily.

Here are the aspects of the film I thought were done well:

1: Ariel’s beautiful voice (both speaking and singing): This is an obvious one that’s important to the story. But if her voice didn’t sound pretty (like if it were nasal or deep like a male), then the story would’ve gone in an unimaginably different direction (and maybe wouldn’t have succeeded that much). But anyway, I think Ariel’s voice ranks as one of my favorite Disney character voices. And although this is also crucial to the plot, I still think to my self, Too bad she gives up her voice and doesn’t have it for a big chunk of the story.

2: The plot and everything that connects to the ending: From the main plot, to Ursula’s goal to become the ruler of the sea (and has Ariel make a deal with her), to Eric’s love for that “mystery girl” and wondering where she was (until he found out that it was Ariel all along), to Grimm’s plan for Eric to get married, everything adds up nicely to the ending. They all stay relevant to the main story line.

3: The songs: There’s not a single song from “The Little Mermaid” that I dislike. Whether it’s fun like “Under the Sea” or beautiful like “Part of Your World”, they all have great tunes that match the tones of the messages communicated.

Now here are the criticisms and unanswered questions that are not common plot-holes among the Disney fan community (i.e. Why was Ariel okay with eating seafood at the castle?):

1: Ariel has six sisters with similar names that start and end with ‘A’ and are all three syllables.

Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, and Alana: those couldn’t confuse me any more. I had to study the sisters’ names for such a long time and couldn’t always remember them right. For example, I had one thought Andrina’s name was Andromeda. That was how tough it’d been.

I felt this was too amateurish. Story-tellers should never give their characters names that are too similar (i.e Mary and Maria) as this may confuse audiences, whether it’s literature or on the screen. The only exception is if there’s a reason for it that’s necessary to the story.

Another aspect of this that bugs me is that most of the sisters were NOT in anyway important to the story or enhancing the plot. Maybe Andrina was important when she revealed to King Triton that Ariel was in love. But that was really it. I recently have been wondering why couldn’t Ariel just have one or two sisters with distinguishing sounding names that don’t start with the same letter, which brings me to my next point:

2: What was the purpose of the concert at the beginning of the movie?

It seemed to me the only reason for the concert was to introduce the daughters of Triton to the audience. There is no reason explained in the movie what the purpose of it was. It’s just a celebration, but of what? And it didn’t play any role of moving the plot forward or even foreshadowing.

3: Why didn’t King Triton ever apologize to Ariel for destroying her collection and the statue of Eric?

This one, perhaps, bugs me the most. Every time I’ve watched the film, the moment Ariel starts crying brings tears to my eyes. It makes me feel so sorry for her and disgusted with her father. In fact, I even think to myself, someone needs to call CPS and have Ariel and any of her sisters under 18 taken away for good. Of course, that wouldn’t have happened. The point is that it makes King Triton more unlikable. It is never okay for a parent to destroy their child’s belongings if they don’t approve of them and out of anger, especially if the child didn’t do anything bad enough to be punished. And even then, parents shouldn’t destroy the things, they should just confiscate them.

I even supported Ariel making a bad decision to see Ursula and make a deal with her as a result. I also supported Ariel’s lack of reason for good choice making when Sebastian tried to stop her, but she was just too mad at him to listen.

While the story ended nicely when King Triton finally understood Ariel’s desire, turned her into a human, and let her marry Eric, it would’ve been more satisfying if he had taken the time to apologize to her for destroying her stuff. The most appropriate moment, in my opinion, would’ve been when he hugged her from the wedding boat. He could’ve said something like, “Oh, and before I forget… I’m sorry for destroying your stuff. It was wrong for me to do that.”

That would have made him more likable. Not only should a parent apologize to his or her kid if he or she destroys their things, but he or she she should also replace them. Although this would have been hard to fit into the movie, the story would have also wrapped up extra nicely if King Triton had restored Ariel’s collection by, perhaps, creating new ones with his rake. It probably would have only fit after the credits or something. I could be wrong, though.

4: Why wasn’t Ariel invited to Eric and Vanessa’s (Ursula in disguise) wedding?

Despite King Triton’s views on humans at that moment and Ariel being mute, the castle staff were very nice to her. Eric still fell in love with her, in spite of assuming she hadn’t saved him and that “mystery girl” with the beautiful voice was somebody else. Carlotta took good care of her from bathing her to escorting her the dinner table. Grimm even showed sympathy to Ariel. Regardless of those things, Ariel didn’t get invited to Eric and Vanessa’s wedding, not even as just a guest. Or if she did, she got to the wedding boat too late, when they were departing,

I felt that was not very nice of Eric or his staff’s part. Yes, Eric was under a spell, but why didn’t Grimm, Carlotta, or any of the other people invite Ariel to the wedding? Did they forget? Did Eric tell them not to while under Vanessa’s spell? Who knows?

While the movie has its perks and flaws, I would still rate “The Little Mermaid” 5 out of 5 stars. I would also consider it one of my favorite Disney movies (the other top ones probably being “Aladdin” and “Pocahontas”).

Note: Why did I not mention the plot hole of Ariel not writing notes to communicate with the humans when she signed Ursula’s scroll, you may wonder? To be honest, it is not one that bothered me as much. Plus, I think it would have resolved the story too quickly and would have stopped the conflict.