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The New Little Mermaid Changes 2 Classic Songs to be Less Offensive

The New Little Mermaid Changes 2 Classic Songs to be Less Offensive

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The Live-Action Little Mermaid is coming soon, and it is bringing with it waves of changes. Now, two classic songs from the original film have had makeovers.

Live Action The Little Mermaid

Credit: Disney

Over the past years, Disney has developed a habit of rebooting animated classics as live-action films. Among the movies that have received reboots are Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Lion King, Aladdin, and Dumbo.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989), which was just named to the National Film Registry, is the next classic animated film in line to see its live-action remake’s theatrical release come to fruition. Its release date is set for May 26, 2023. The movie’s cast includes stars like Halle Bailey (Ariel), Melissa McCarthy (Ursula)Daveed Diggs (Sebastian), and Jonah Hauer-King (Prince Eric.)


Become part of Ariel's world with this new Little Mermaid full-length movie trailer
Credit: Disney

The Live-Action Little Mermaid is already making waves with some of the changes to the storyline and characterization present in the 1989 version. Most notably, the director and creators say they are working to reframe outdated content and incorporate diversity. For example, Prince Eric himself is getting an entire backstory, which you can read about here.

And now, another change has been announced. This time, it affects the music.

Update to 2 Classic Songs

Credit: Disney

In an interview with Vanity Fair, composer Alan Menken shared changes that set the film apart from the 1989 animated classic. In fact, two of the original songs received updates.

“Kiss the Girl” is the first song to receive edits. Menken stated, “People have gotten very sensitive about the idea that (Prince Eric) would, in any way, force himself on (Ariel).”

Credit: Disney

Perhaps this change is in reference to the lyrics “It don’t take a word/not a single word/go on and kiss the girl.” Interestingly, in the animated film, the song “Kiss the Girl” is a manipulation tactic that Ariel’s friends concoct to coerce the prince into kissing Ariel.

The second song to receive an update is Poor Unfortunate Souls. Menken stated that there are “lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn’t speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice.”

Credit: Disney

In the 1989 film, Ursula uses manipulative lines to coerce Ariel into signing her contract. These include, “Yes, on land it’s much preferred/for ladies not to say a word” and “It’s she who holds her tongue who gets a man.” These lines seem to be likely candidates for the edits, although Menken did not cite them directly.

It will be interesting to see whether the updates also address lyrics that could be perceived as body shaming. But there was no mention of it in the interview.

New Music

Credit: KtP writer Donna

Of course, the film will also have some new songs blended in with the songs from the animated film and the Broadway musical. Menken stated, “Clearly, everybody wants a new song for the live-action film for awards consideration.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda came in to work on the new songs. These include a song for Prince Eric called “Wild Unchartered Waters,” a song for Sebastian and Scuttle called “Scuttlebutt,” and a song for Airel, sung completely in her head while she is voiceless. They also created a song for King Triton, but it will likely not make the theatrical cut.

Audiences will be able to see how it all comes together in a few weeks once the live-action version of The Little Mermaid hits theatres.

What do you think about the live-action adjustments to “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and “Kiss the Girl?” Let us know in the comments.

Source: Vanity Fair

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Tuesday 16th of May 2023

Anyone who decides it’s a good idea to take life pointers from Ursula has a lot bigger problems than song lyrics.

And will probably tragically end up as sea weed in a witch’s garden.

R. Wyatt

Wednesday 12th of April 2023

Gross. Not doing a “woke” version of my favorite movie.

Peter B.

Tuesday 11th of April 2023

Very sad that Disney keeps changing/altering stories and storylines just to fit a narrative or check a box. Honestly, where does it stop??? We cannot keep changing everything because a few people might have their feelings hurt. The vast majority of people do not even think about what Disney is changing until they mention the changes they are making.


Sunday 9th of April 2023

Your cultural appropriation is showing. You know that this story is a folks tale from the Denmark? Perhaps you don't.

Frankly, ALL the live-action remakes have been horrible. To compare Will Smiths interpretation of the Genie in contrast to Robin Williams? Silly.

The original Mulan was AWESOME! The live action version...pale (the presentation itself) by comparison.

But to change a song about how 2 teenagers and their first kiss? Because the original didn't include "consent"? Seriously?

That. That is just stupid.

Like many of the comments about this being about empowering women more. The original already DID THAT.


Saturday 8th of April 2023

Thank you. Animated versions were good. Leave them at that.

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