I think I may have finally figured out why every live-action Disney reboot has a been a disappointment. Despite some strong efforts, genuinely stunning performances, and even Christopher Walken as a giant orangutan, these movies almost always achieve good but not great status. Almost always. Disney has a sandwich problem; a sandwich needs be better than the sum of its parts, but the way Disney approaches adapting these classic films with huge names and budgets make them too big and busy. Imagine eating a truffle filet mignon sandwich with gold-encrusted bread and a side of saffron fries. Yeah, it’s good and certainly decadent, but a BLT still tastes better. Now we have the same problem with The Little Mermaid as a great new star might get drowned out in this movie’s excesses.
Variety confirmed Halle Bailey landed the role as Ariel for the upcoming The Little Mermaid reboot. In addition to being part of R&B group Chloe x Halle with her sister, she also stars in the Freeform Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish, also with her sister How sweet! She’ll be helming the film that kicked off Disney’s Renaissance, alongside plenty of high-caliber support, including original composer Alan Menken, and a strong supporting cast including Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay and maybe even Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. Not too shabby for a first time lead role. These choices, along with what will surely be beautiful underwater shots and CGI, should make this a standout film. Should.
This is what makes the live-action reboots so frustrating; you’re almost guaranteed to have flashes of brilliance, but never anything more. Disney can’t do a straight remake, so the tight 90-minute films become bloated with extra songs and wolf drama. By all accounts, Bailey seems quite talented, creating a growing music and acting career with her sister that started out on Youtube. Director Marshall even said that Bailey was always the Ariel frontrunner during his months long search. Unfortunately, it seems like she’ll be another big fish constrained in a small pond of Disney’s creation, which is way too ironic for how much money pumped into these movies. The Little Mermaid reboot is yet to have a release date.