If Disney's Little Mermaid had been faithful, would it have been better?

DementedSheep

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You can question whether they should have picked that story in the first place but no a kids movie should not end with the protagonist killing themselves and then being stuck in limbo in a way that is designed to guilt trip children.
 

infohippie

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Something Amyss said:
PaulH said:
Labyrinth of the Faun is considered to be one of the greatest modern takes on authentic fairy tale traditions. It channeled itself well as bleak, dark and the fae as suitably Other-like.

Pretty sure it will give kids nightmares however. They tried to sugarcoat a little but it still gnaws at your soul and turns your blood cold.
Joke's on them, I have no soul!

Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!

I've not heard of this before. Book? Movie? I may have to check it out and see if it nibbles at anything else.
It's also known as Pan's Labyrinth, or in its original language it is El Laberinto del Fauno.
 

CaitSeith

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Chemical Alia said:
sky14kemea said:
Well the little kids probably wouldn't have liked it as much, that I can tell you.

Disney is mainly for kids. Sure they usually kill off a parent but it's off-screen and usually at the beginning. I doubt they'd ever have a tragic ending. Unless you wanna pay for childrens' therapy.
Around the time that the Disney Little Mermaid came out, I remember having a videotape of this other Little Mermaid movie that was made in Japan in the 70's. The story was a much more faithful adaptation of the original, including the ending.

I still remember thinking about it and comparing the two cartoons to each other. Even as a young kid, I could tell that it was really low budget compared to Disney and was weirded out by the low frame rate and really bad voice acting because I didn't understand why it was like that. Some mermaids also didn't wear any bras, but others wore full outfits. I remember being annoyed by the fully clothed mermaids but all the boobs were no big deal.

I always thought of the anime one as "the serious one with the blonde mermaid and the sad ending" and the Disney one as "the happy one with the songs." I thought the ending was sad, but the sea monsters scene scared me a lot more. I happened to watch it again on Youtube just last week, weirdly enough, and looking back on it, the ending is a lot more disturbing to me as an adult than it was as a kid. Then again, I watched a lot of cartoons as a kid that had tragic stuff going on in them.

Did anyone else happen to watch it as a kid? I'm actually kind of curious as to how other people reacted to it.
Yeah, I just mentioned that movie in another post. I still remember that the mermaids' sisters cut their hair and gave it to the sea witch in exchange for a knife to kill the prince and transform the little mermaid back. I think I still don't get why she acted like the hair was a big deal, but it certainly was a dramatic scene when she couldn't kill the prince.

I also used to watch some cartoons with tragic stuff and weird anime as a kid. Did you ever watch Phoenix 2772?
 

Nazulu

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I believe these 'original fans' completely miss the point of this family movie. That's what I think. Though I do wish they could come up with something more interesting than the usual happy ending, but what can you do? Little too late to contribute.
 

Asita

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Not really, no. Among other things, the original Little Mermaid almost had a "dark for the sake of darkness" thing going on, with the same kind of token effort towards being bittersweet that Swan Lake has[footnote]"It's not really a full tragedy because she can earn a soul in 300 years and then go to heaven!"[/footnote]. And for the most part, I don't think that Disney's changes really detracted from the quality of the story.
 

MeatMachine

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I would say that approximately 100% of the source material Disney bases its non-original stories on should not be faithfully and accurately adapted for child audiences.

This isn't the 1200's anymore - we don't take our children to witness public lynchings to educate them about moral lessons and consequences.
 

M0rp43vs

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Don't worry op. I'm sure they'll use it in the gritty live action cg reboot. Which focuses on Ursula who is portrayed by a famous actress instead.
 

Casual Shinji

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Chemical Alia said:
Growing up in the 80's most kids movies were kinda dark and disturbing. You had shit like The Neverending Story and The Secret of NIMH, and one never thought much of it because you're a kid so you never really question it.

I never saw The Little Mermaid anime, but I know Japan has a thing for super tragedies. I don't know if you've ever seen Dog of Flander (also based on a book), but yeah... It was also during that time (70's through 80's) that Japan made a lot of anime shows based on classic literature, and generally stuck pretty faithfully to the source material. The of anime of The Wizard of Oz has a scene with a giant spider in the woods, and the Pinocchio anime has a scene where Pinicchio is contemplating killing a boy for his heart.
 

mduncan50

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M0rp43vs said:
Don't worry op. I'm sure they'll use it in the gritty live action cg reboot. Which focuses on Ursula who is portrayed by a famous actress instead.
My vote is for Kirstie Alley!
 

Quellist

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Some of those old Fairy Tales were dark. Sleeping Beauty wasn't awakened with a kiss...the Prince raped her while she was unconscious, she gave birth and her child, crawling up her body to find milk accidentally pulled the needle out of her finger...

Little Red Riding Hood unwittingly ate the flesh and drank the blood of her grandmother (served up by the disguised wolf) before the wolf devoured her...

No, i really don't think Disney should stick to the source material when it comes to their movies!
 

sageoftruth

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Imperioratorex Caprae said:
Not sure whats more disturbing, a story about a girl who falls in love, gets rejected and kills herself or a story about a girl who falls in love with a guy she hardly knows and gets married to the said dude... They're both pretty disturbing, the latter sends a message that crushes can develop into a lasting relationship which can set up a poor expectation of reality.

Happily ever after isn't something I'm comfortable with teaching kids because it actually hurts them in the long run, setting up expectations of life being all sweetness and light after marriage.
That said, the other story is more tragic and a cautionary tale to kids saying that things might not always work out the way you want but there's no reason to throw your life away just because someone doesn't love you.

I had a friend who ended up with a mix of those two things, she married a guy and after a few years the marriage fell apart and she jumped off a bridge. In her suicide note she called her marriage a fairy tale specifically and finding out that happily ever after is not to be. Dangerous mindset, and it ended up being her downfall.
Agreed. If we wanted to make Little Mermaind less kiddy, I'd probably stick with the original story, but replace "kills herself" with "gets over it eventually".
 

Chemical Alia

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Casual Shinji said:
Chemical Alia said:
Growing up in the 80's most kids movies were kinda dark and disturbing. You had shit like The Neverending Story and The Secret of NIMH, and one never thought much of it because you're a kid so you never really question it.

I never saw The Little Mermaid anime, but I know Japan has a thing for super tragedies. I don't know if you've ever seen Dog of Flander (also based on a book), but yeah... It was also during that time (70's through 80's) that Japan made a lot of anime shows based on classic literature, and generally stuck pretty faithfully to the source material. The of anime of The Wizard of Oz has a scene with a giant spider in the woods, and the Pinocchio anime has a scene where Pinicchio is contemplating killing a boy for his heart.
Yeah, exactly. I think I saw a bunch of those classics adaptations, now that you mention it. There's something weirdly interesting about them. Watership Down was another one that would fit in that category. I certainly can't speak for all kids, but I was easily traumatized by literally everything as a kid (I was afraid of purple balloons for years, now I'm just afraid of ALL balloons). But it wasn't so much the tragic themes themselves in those movies and cartoons that freaked me out, it was usually the special effects of the movies themselves or something about the animation, especially when it was not very believable, which was so common in the 80s. It was the confusion that messed with my head the most. If Disney did it in typical Disney quality of the time, it might not have had the same effect on me.
 

Drathnoxis

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Something Amyss said:
I don't know, I grew up with Return to Oz, Labyrinth, and the Black Cauldron. Kids might dig the real ending.
Ugh, The Black Cauldron. I rented that when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares. I couldn't even make it past the part where all the skeletons come out of the cauldron, it was just far too scary. Also I think reading the Return to Oz book gave me nightmares too, that part where that jack in the box guy was guarding the wall I think.
 

DEAD34345

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mduncan50 said:
Imperioratorex Caprae said:
Not sure whats more disturbing, a story about a girl who falls in love, gets rejected and kills herself or a story about a girl who falls in love with a guy she hardly knows and gets married to the said dude... They're both pretty disturbing, the latter sends a message that crushes can develop into a lasting relationship which can set up a poor expectation of reality.
Well the movie version sets up some messed up expectations of what love can and/or should be, which is bad, however the book goes further and says that if life does not meet those messed up expectations then you should kill yourself. I'm going to have to go with that one being more disturbing.
I'm pretty sure the message was actually that you shouldn't abandon your entire former life to be with some man you met 5 minutes ago. She kills herself in the end, sure, but you could still have a much more faithful adaptation which keeps the message intact without that being the specific ending if you wanted to, as long as you showed some serious negative consequences.

Even without that change though, I'd say the original story is less harmful to kids' well-being than the Disney one. I think kids can handle sadness and violence and all of that stuff in their media pretty well, by and large. What you really need to be careful about is teaching them the wrong lessons.
 

MrFalconfly

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AccursedTheory said:
Do I think a movie primarily aimed at the low teens or below should have an ending where the primary character kills herself after being rejected by her potential love interest?

No.

80s Disney movies may have been a bit too light hearted on occasion, but I don't think the answer to that is grisly suicide and social rejection. More recent Disney movies have found a better compromise, where the movie is overall pretty light, but with enough complexity that the old farts can enjoy it too (Zootopia being a pretty good example).

EDIT: Not that the 80/90s stuff didn't have adult themes too, of course, but I think the balance has gotten better.
So, "main character commits suicide" is a bit too serious, and "real world", but Dumbo getting a bad LSD trip is completely fine?!?

I don't understand Disney "child friendly" some times.

I mean, I had nightmares about Pink elephants after I saw that sequence (I was 6, at the time).
 

DefunctTheory

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MrFalconfly said:
AccursedTheory said:
Do I think a movie primarily aimed at the low teens or below should have an ending where the primary character kills herself after being rejected by her potential love interest?

No.

80s Disney movies may have been a bit too light hearted on occasion, but I don't think the answer to that is grisly suicide and social rejection. More recent Disney movies have found a better compromise, where the movie is overall pretty light, but with enough complexity that the old farts can enjoy it too (Zootopia being a pretty good example).

EDIT: Not that the 80/90s stuff didn't have adult themes too, of course, but I think the balance has gotten better.

So, "main character commits suicide" is a bit too serious, and "real world", but Dumbo getting a bad LSD trip is completely fine?!?

I don't understand Disney "child friendly" some times.

I mean, I had nightmares about Pink elephants after I saw that sequence (I was 6, at the time).
I... well... YES. Of course a trippy vision is more kid friendly then suicide.

One is a bit weird with some weird implications if your old enough, and perhaps a bit scary for some kids. The other one is straight up horrifying.
 

MrFalconfly

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AccursedTheory said:
MrFalconfly said:
AccursedTheory said:
Do I think a movie primarily aimed at the low teens or below should have an ending where the primary character kills herself after being rejected by her potential love interest?

No.

80s Disney movies may have been a bit too light hearted on occasion, but I don't think the answer to that is grisly suicide and social rejection. More recent Disney movies have found a better compromise, where the movie is overall pretty light, but with enough complexity that the old farts can enjoy it too (Zootopia being a pretty good example).

EDIT: Not that the 80/90s stuff didn't have adult themes too, of course, but I think the balance has gotten better.

So, "main character commits suicide" is a bit too serious, and "real world", but Dumbo getting a bad LSD trip is completely fine?!?

I don't understand Disney "child friendly" some times.

I mean, I had nightmares about Pink elephants after I saw that sequence (I was 6, at the time).
I... well... YES. Of course a trippy vision is more kid friendly then suicide.

One is a bit weird with some weird implications if your old enough, and perhaps a bit scary for some kids. The other one is straight up horrifying.
You don't get my point.

The original Little Mermaid was a childrens book.

Maybe, it's just because I'm a Dane, and had it read aloud to me as a really small child, but looking back, the Pink Elephants sequence "scarred" (both scared, and scarred) me a lot more than the original Little Mermaid story by H.C. Andersen.

Did your parents never read Little Claus and Big Claus to you? Or The little Match Girl? Or the Nightingale? Or The Steadfast Tin Soldier (fyi, both the main characters die in that one)?!?

As for dark childrens stories. What about the Brothers Grimm stories. They were a lot more dark.

EDIT:

I mean the original story actually had a pretty poignant point. It's sort of the anti-50 Shades (or rather, anti cult). Don't turn your back on your friends and family for someone you don't know, and literally only met 2 minutes ago.
 

The Ditz

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I think that if you can improve the original by changing it, you should...

Imperioratorex Caprae said:
Not sure whats more disturbing, a story about a girl who falls in love, gets rejected and kills herself or a story about a girl who falls in love with a guy she hardly knows and gets married to the said dude... .
...but, they didn't, as Imperioratorex Caprae notes. They just replaced a depressing ending with a delusional one.

I'm no writer or anything, but I would have gone with an ending along the lines of:

Ariel finding out that being with the prince is slowly killing him, so she runs off back to the sea.

At that point you could either have him think she drowned or have him catch up to her as she is in the water, changing back, and have her explain who she is and why she's leaving before a final kiss and a farewell 'i'll never forget you...'

Have a scene a few years later with the prince and his new wife laying their baby into her crib before the camera pans back to the name of the baby on the crib's plaque 'Ariel'.

:That way the story wouldn't be all sunshine and roses without being super depressing. It would also allow for a sequel where the prince and family are lost at sea, Ariel finds the prince's daughter and turns her into a mermaid. It could end with the daughter deciding whether to stay with the now queen of the sea, Ariel... or go back to her former life to search for her family and maintain the rule her family has.
 

Smygskytt

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MrFalconfly said:
You don't get my point.

The original Little Mermaid was a childrens book.

Maybe, it's just because I'm a Dane, and had it read aloud to me as a really small child, but looking back, the Pink Elephants sequence "scarred" (both scared, and scarred) me a lot more than the original Little Mermaid story by H.C. Andersen.

Did your parents never read Little Claus and Big Claus to you? Or The little Match Girl? Or the Nightingale? Or The Steadfast Tin Soldier (fyi, both the main characters die in that one)?!?

As for dark childrens stories. What about the Brothers Grimm stories. They were a lot more dark.

EDIT:

I mean the original story actually had a pretty poignant point. It's sort of the anti-50 Shades (or rather, anti cult). Don't turn your back on your friends and family for someone you don't know, and literally only met 2 minutes ago.
I'm a Swede here and I still love all of Andersen's tales, even as an adult. There is something timeless about Andersen's stories about unrequited love. I was able to completely identify with them when my last crush didn't like me "the same way" as I did. So I started up the old European cartoon adaptation from my childhood.

For all you who think that the story can't be told with a tragic ending, here's how the European cartoon did it:
*I couldn't insert the video with timestamp of just the ending* :(

https://youtu.be/2yRXAj21fLU?t=1244