Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Little Mermaid 4K Ultra HD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
In honor of its 30th anniversary, two-time Academy Award-winner (Best Original Score and Best Original Song “Under the Sea,” 1989) The Little Mermaid, dives into the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection with all-new bonus features and a sing-along mode. The magical, musical tale of mermaid princess Ariel — along with loveable sidekicks Sebastian and Flounder, and the love-to-hate sea witch Ursula — is shore to make a splash with all generations when it comes home for the first time Digitally in HD, 4K Ultra HD  and Movies Anywhere on Feb. 12, and on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on Feb. 26. 
Film (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Ariel (voiced by Jodi Benson) is the mermaid daughter of King Triton (voiced by Kenneth Mars). The film begins on the night of Sebastian’s (voiced by Samuel E. Wright) concert featuring all of King Triton’s daughters. King Triton’s daughter sing beautifully but Ariel is nowhere to be found. She is off on another adventure exploring the seas. Sebastian tries to keep an eye on Ariel for King Triton, but she is obsessed with the human world. She has a collection of human artifacts she visits often, and she dreams about life on land. On a surface visit, she discovers a human ship and a Prince. Prince Eric (voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes) has been searching for a wife. His ship is destroyed by a hurricane and Ariel saves his life. During Eric’s brief encounter with Ariel he falls in love and searches everywhere for the mysterious girl with the beautiful voice.

Back home, under the sea, King Triton discovers Ariel’s collection of human items and learns how often she has been to the surface. He destroys everything and leaves Ariel in tears. Angry with her father, she makes a deal with the Sea Witch Ursula (voiced by Pat Carroll) who makes her human in exchange for her voice. She can have her voice back if Eric falls in love. Although he is drawn to Ariel, he thinks she cannot be the one he is searching for because she is now mute. If Eric doesn’t fall in love in three days (and kiss her to prove it), Ariel will become a part of Ursula’s collection of creatures.

The Little Mermaid is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. I love the characters; especially Ariel’s friends Scuttle the Seagull and Flounder the fish. The songs are fun. This is one of the few Disney soundtracks I have listened to outside of the film. It’s one of my favorite rides at Disneyland, I’m sold all around. I never get sick of watching it. If you haven’t seen the Little Mermaid, I’d ask, “where have you been?” If that’s the case, and you love Disney movies, go see it now. Buy it! If Disney princesses singing their random songs has turned you off in the past, then this might not be for you.
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
The Little Mermaid in ultra-high definition improves on a very good Blu-Ray. Color depth and range show a marked improvement with sharpness and fine detail remaining consistently above average. The opening Disney castle logo lets you know you’re in for a colorful treat. The re-mastered Blu-ray doesn’t have the contrast and impact you’ll see on 4K. Underwater in Ursula’s lair or on land in the bright sunlight the tonal improvements and color enhancement is spectacular. You’ll notice Ariel’s red hair and Sebastian’s red body pop like they just didn’t in previous releases. The ocean and the sky are bluer, and the whites are whiter. Yellows in Flounder’s stripes or Triton’s crown is something to take note of. Texture was never an issue, although this is traditional animation. The fireworks shine brighter, and everything shimmers just a bit more in UHD.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Disney's Dolby Atmos soundtrack has adequate range in this solid 4K presentation. Hearing the big shark chomp after Ariel is one of the effects you’ll notice right away. The elements ring true during the hurricane. Music feels like it’s a bit heavily weighted. Both dialogue and song are intelligible, and Ursula’s voice does boom, as you’d expect. Well done, but not a perfectly balanced audio presentation.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
The 4K disc contains no new extras. The following supplemental features are found on the Blu-ray:
  • Alan Menken and the Leading Ladies (15:45) – Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O’Hara (Belle from Beauty and the Beast) Lillias White (Muse from Hercules) and Donna Murphy (Mother Gothel from Tangled) reminisce with Alan Menken. Includes bits of performances and discussion of animation and their characters.
  • What I Want From You is…Your Voice (5:47) – Sebastian, Scuttle, Ursula and Ariel (the actors) reflect on their characters and the experience working on the film.
  • Stories from Walt’s Office: Gadgets and Gizmos (6:01) – A look inside Walt Disney’s office and the collectibles he received and made.
  • #Treasuresuntold (5:40) – Actors Olivia Sanabia and Ruby Rose Turner (Coop and Cami Ask the World) provide unknown facts about the film.
  • Dcapella “Part of Your World” Music Video (3:01) – An acapella version of the classic song.
  • Deleted Character (2:05) – Meet Harold the Merman.
  • Under the Scene: The Art of Live Action Reference (13:13) – See how they created realistic human characters using live action reference footage.
  • Howard’s Lecture (16:27) – The late lyricist Howard Ashman and his work are explored in this featurette. Includes footage from a lunch-time lecture by Ashman.
  • Audio Commentary – Director/Writer Ron Clements, Writer/Director John Musker and Composer Alan Menken provide feature length audio commentary.
  • Classic Bonus Preview (1:09) – The Little Mermaid Diamond and Platinum Editions preview.
Summary (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 4K Ultra High Definition version of The Little Mermaid belongs is every Disney fan’s collection. The Blu-ray, which has an optional sing-along mode, contains a healthy and interesting list of bonus features. On 4K, the color saturation and vibrancy offer an upgraded viewing experience. The Little Mermaid, now 30 years old is a Disney classic. Highly recommended.

Order your copy today!

No comments:

Post a Comment