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The Little Mermaid: 30 Years of Fish Gingers [Review]

The Little Mermaid turns 30 and I wonder who cares. While taking my sweet time getting through the latest trip back into the soon-to-be irrelevant Disney Vault, I came to realize something. This might be the greatest Disney movie of the 1980s. It’s weird when animation matches the zeitgeist, but hear me out. Ariel and her journey perfectly mirrors every great 80s tale from Less Than Zero to Wall Street. Yeah, I’m going there.

A kid from a rural era makes a deal with a seedy underworld type to gain fame and fortune. However, she loses a central part of herself but makes due since she wants to change her central identity. While she faces some struggles due to this challenge, order is quickly restored by destroying the class of person that helped her cheat her way to the top. Nobody learns a lesson and the ruling class is allowed to keep ruling the roost.

If Ronald Reagan was in early on-set dementia by 1989, he would’ve applauded the film.  The 30th Anniversary Blu-ray is pretty good. A few of the special features are holdovers from the last Blu-ray, but there are some new featurettes that make use of the 12 year olds currently in the Disney stable. I kinda wish I would’ve got to check this out in 4K, but I’m not sure if it would be anything better than an upscaled HD transfer. Oh well, check it out for the stunning DTS-HD 7.1 audio track.

The Little Mermaid special features

  • Sing-Along Mode – Sing along to the movie in this  sing-along version of the film.
  • Alan Menken & the Leading Ladies Song – From the voice of a mermaid to the tunes of a muse, the music of Alan Menken has scored the soundtrack for some of Disney’s most iconic leading ladies. Join Alan, Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas Singing Voice), Lillias White (Calliope) and Donna Murphy (Mother Gothel) as we celebrate the music of their films in honor of the one that started it all … “The Little Mermaid.”  In this discussion, the ladies will share their memories of musically creating their characters with Alan, discuss what it means to be part of the Disney Princess/leading lady legacy and create new memories as they sing with Alan around a baby grand piano.
  • “What I Want From You…Is YOUR VOICE” – Enter the recording studio and get an inside look at the cast of “The Little Mermaid” in their original recording sessions.
  • Stories From Walt’s Office – Gadgets & Gizmos – Like Ariel, Walt Disney was a collector of many different things from miniatures to early mechanical characters that inspired the invention of audio-animatronics. We take a look at some the collections that Walt kept in his office in the third episode of this series.
  • #TreasuresUntold – Join Ruby Rose Turner and Olivia Sanabia from the Disney Channel Original Series “Coop and Cami Ask the World” as they take a deep dive to explore some hidden treasures and fun facts about Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
  • DCapella “Part of Your World” Music Video
  • Classic Bonus Features – revisit four exciting bonus features from previous releases including:
    • Deleted Character: Harold The Merman
    • Under The Scene: The Art Of Live Action Reference
    • Howard’s Lecture
    • Audio Commentary With Ron Clements, John Musker and Alan Menken


  • “Part of Your World” – A 30-Year Retrospective – Songwriter Alan Menken and Jodi Benson, the acting and singing voice of Ariel, sing the epitome of Disney “I Want” songs “Part of Your World” and discuss its impact since it was first heard 30 years ago.
  • Classic Bonus Features – Over 3 additional hours of previously released classic bonus features including Deleted Scenes, Easter Eggs, Music Videos and more!


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