Is The Little Mermaid safe for kids? Is The Little Mermaid OK for children? Read the The Little Mermaid Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parents guide and mom review of the all-new 2023 live action Disney remake film, starring Halle Bailey. No spoilers! #TheLittleMermaid May contain commissioned links.
The Little Mermaid Movie Review | Safe for Kids? Parents Guide
The weight of the world rests on her shoulders.
The human world has been a mess since the announcement of Halle Bailey as the new Ariel in the 2023 live action The Little Mermaid. While much of the world is praising Disney for a beautiful and Black Disney princess casting, many others are worried that agenda-filled Disney will overshadow the magic of the 1989 classic animated tale.
Can Halle Bailey unite this 34-year mermaid fandom?
In The Little Mermaid Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m breaking down the visuals, the story, a full PG age rating explanation for violence, adult themes and language, and what kids’ age recommendation is suggested to watch in this new live action The Little Mermaid 2023 parents guide. A no-spoiler parent review of 2023 The Little Mermaid, can we finally say that Ariel is a part of OUR world?
This is the first time in a long that I wasn’t overly impressed with the Disney live action visuals. While we can all agree that Ariel and the mermaid certainly got a wonderful CGI update (oh the merchandise cha-ching), the “under the sea” landscapes and background visuals seemed lacking for Disney.
At times, the ocean animals and scenery felt more animated than live action – with CGI enhancements not up to the usual Disney (or even Avatar: The Way of Water) standards for me. Unlike many of the other Disney live action films, this Ariel portrayal is much darker visually, with many more scenes in darkness when compared to the original.
But for hardcore Ariel fans, I expect many will take the plunge (yes, more puns coming) to splurge for IMAX/3D.
Photosensitivity Warning. For viewers prone to epilepsy and photosensitivity, be warned that there are multiple scenes in The Little Mermaid 2023 that could be triggering. Multiple scenes are in darkness. There are multiple scenes with lightning flashes, storms and electrocution effects (those familiar with the 1989 The Little Mermaid version will know which scenes). There are CGI bright lights and flashes to enhance Ursula and Triton’s “magical” characters and Ariel’s transformations. Also multiple scenes with swirling camera angles and ocean swaying that may be nausea inducing.
Based on 1989 animated classic based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Little Mermaid is a 2023 Disney live action film reimagined by director Rob Marshall (“Chicago,” “Mary Poppins Returns“). Starring Halle Bailey (“grown-ish“) as Ariel, Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton“) as the voice of Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay (“Luca“) as the voice of Flounder, Awkwafina (“Raya and the Last Dragon“) as the voice of Scuttle, Jonah Hauer-King (“A Dog’s Way Home“) as Prince Eric, Art Malik (“True Lies“) as Sir Grimsby, Noma Dumezweni (“The Undoing“) as Queen Selina with Javier Bardem (“Lyle, Lyle Crocodile“) as King Triton and Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids“) as Ursula.
The storytelling is pretty similar to the live action Beauty and the Beast film. Some liberties are taken to retell the fairy tale in such a way to highlight the new Ariel – a new locale, new backstory, new diversity and inclusion efforts, importance of consent, and even 3 new songs (all written by none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda). Nostalgic fans may even notice some fun cameos as well.
But for all of the “new” added to the story, this reimagining of the classic is not without faults as well. And it’s in these faults that the initial Disney magic that surrounds this 1989 classic Disney Princess film is lost. Why does Sebastian look like Krusty Krab? Flounder sounds perfect, but where’s his loveable squish? Scuttle – sigh. Why are many of the iconic dresses, scenes and characters missing? Why is Eric now desperate obsessive? And oh my goodness, why does Under the Sea visuals look animated?
What made The Little Mermaid the beginning of a new era of Disney Princesses and capture the hearts of multiple generations of mermaid lovers? The relatability, the songs, the humor, the characters, and the Disney heartstring pull. But with much of the original film either replaced or missing – I found this 2023 version distracts rather than attracts. Concentration on inserting the racial and diversity corrected, women empowered, agenda “woke” Disney into this live action film takes away from the magic that makes Ariel a part of our world.
That PG Rating Explained
Is The Little Mermaid 2023 safe for kids? Another Disney live action movie rated PG? Should parents be concerned? It’s no secret that I am highly skeptical of all MPAA ratings (um hello, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not disclosing any language??). And as we know, not all movie and TV age ratings are the same. As a parent, it’s been rather heartbreaking to witness how ratings have shifted over the years with a G-rating no longer an option.
PG ratings now oscillating between Turning Red intense to Christopher Robin calm, and even PG-13/TV-14 age ratings teetering on the edge of R or MA ratings (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Werewolf by Night, I see you!), there’s a wide range between the age of 0-14 years old for parents to consider. Having fully disclosed parent guidelines can help determine if a movie or show is kid friendly – and safe for the whole family to watch together.
Why is The Little Mermaid 2023 rated PG? In this The Little Mermaid Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, this live action Disney Princess remake film is rated PG for “action/peril and some scary images.” With film and TV ratings also unpredictable these days, having fully disclosed parent guidelines can help determine if a movie or television show like The Little Mermaid is kid friendly. Is the live action The Little Mermaid too scary for kids? Let’s breakdown that PG age rating in The Little Mermaid parents guide.
Violence/Suspense. Action, peril and scary images – here we come. Those familiar to The Little Mermaid story, some of these scary and suspenseful moments are expected. However, portrayal of these scenes in “real life,” Disney has created darker, more realistic visuals to enhance the creepy fairy tale.
The shark chase scene is full of jump scares and perilous moments. The initial lightning storm is filled with ocean peril, fire, and near drowning moments. Ursula’s sea serpent abode is filled with dark magic, creepy visuals and possible nightmare jump scares. The human to Ursula transformation is probably one of the scariest scenes in the film – just because the sweet person suddenly becomes almost demonic/possessed like before changing back into Ursula. The exchange between Ariel’s life and Triton’s is also a surprising violent moment that may be traumatizing for kids. And of course, the final battle scene.
Blood and gore is minimal but present. There is one small bloody cut shown. There’s a scene of “playing” with human skulls. Electrocution occurs. Body piercing during the final battle scene. One verbal reference to “killing.”
Adult Themes. No disclosure of sensual or sexual content, but Ariel is still naked. Those who know the classic fairy tale story well, it’s hard to leave that important part out. I was curious to see how Disney was going to portray the nudity scenes during Ariel’s transformation.
Staying as classy as Disney princess possible – hair covering up key areas and a new spin on an iconic scene (my take – groan…), overall nothing is shown beyond full leg exposure. However, I’m shocked this PG rating didn’t disclose more. Other sensual content includes multiple open midriffs for women and men, hand holding, hugging and one kiss scene.
Other adult content includes death, grief and loss, discussion about depression, and one scene of holding a tankard.
Language. Does The Little Mermaid have swear words and foul language? Thankfully, no. True to the 1989 version, the live action Disney remake stays within the “bubble” of the original feel of the Disney Princess film.
Milder insults and bad language phrases include “scuttlebutt,” (the slang term for gossip – but I’m sure the kids would want to repeat just for the sheer use of the word BUTT in the word), “shut up,” “idiot,” “fool,” “brat,” and “oh good Lord.”
The Little Mermaid 2023 Movie Age Rating for Kids?
With a runtime of 2 hours even, The Little Mermaid is a little long for a Disney Princess film.
The Little Mermaid is very comparable to the original 1989 The Little Mermaid animated film and follows a very similar formula of recent Disney live action remakes including Mulan and Aladdin.
The 2023 live action Disney Princess remake film The Little Mermaid is rated PG for “action/peril and some scary images” by the MPAA.
No, there is no end credits scenes to be found under the sea here. No need to stay until the very end of the film.
Based on my The Little Mermaid parents guide and mom review above, this parent movie reviewer would not recommend The Little Mermaid 2023 to kids younger than the age of 5-6 years old.
Considering the full PG rating breakdown above, this parent movie reviewer would not recommend The Little Mermaid 2023 to kids younger than the age of 5-6 years old. This PG rating is pretty spot on and easily comparable to the Disney live action remakes for Disney Princesses including Mulan and Aladdin.
I recommend parents to prescreen the original animated film for story hints and plot points, enhanced live action scary moments involving dark magic, and fantasy themes, and suspenseful jump scares that may induce nightmares for young kids.
It’s true, The Little Mermaid is finally part of OUR world. Having a Halle Bailey as Ariel and so much diverse mermaid representation in the 2023 The Little Mermaid is a huge accomplishment for movies and the entertainment industry as a whole. To know that future generations now have multiple Ariel heroines to look up to, who look like them – as an Asian mom I understand how empowering and truly heartwarming it is to see Disney history unfold before us. Hard stop.
However, the focus on correcting (erasing) a 34-year chauvinistic and white-motivated film completely overshadows what makes The Little Mermaid a classic fairy tale that children love. While this 34-year update is racially corrected and women empowerment approved, feeling absolutely more diverse, inclusive and even expanded upon (yes, that part SHOULD absolutely be celebrated), the overall Disney magic was lost at sea for me.
I don’t deny that there are definitely some great highlights to the new film. The new locale and culture addition – beautifully done. Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of Ursula – scary good. Grimsby – still amazing. Halle Bailey’s creative liberties with classic songs – I get it. Adding more backstory to Eric – understood the assignment. Kiss The Girl song update – I loved it.
But for all of the good, the bad left a bad seaweed taste in my mouth.
Many more iconic moments were cut from the movie (very similar to how I felt about the missing Mulan’s hair cutting scene). Iconic characters were either cheapened (ahem – Triton, Flounder, Scuttle, Flotsam and Jetsam) or completely wiped from the story (you’ll know who). ALL of the new songs were NOT Lin-Manuel’s best work. And the visuals at times (especially under the sea) felt more cartoon-y than live action. And while I appreciated the highlight on Eric’s character build – at times he seemed a little too desperate and obsessive, and his familial history got very convoluted and confusing. In fact, much of The Little Mermaid family history was a little too diverse at times – making it overall unrealistic and almost unrelatable. (I can’t even believe that I just said that.)
Does the good outweigh the bad? That’s what your family will have to decide. The ocean is a balance – and for yet another Disney live action remake, I cannot say that The Little Mermaid 2023 good outweighs what made the 1989 classic animated film the starting point of a new era for Disney Princesses, at least for me. In the words of my 10-year old daughter, it was “meh.” It’s by far a failure. But much like the Mulan live action (and you know how excited this Asian mom was for that one!), this Little Mermaid remake is not the under the sea perfection I expect from Disney.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not the worst Disney live action remake I’ve seen. In fact, The Little Mermaid 2023 one of the better reimaginations in past years. But most of the original Disney magic is lost at sea.
Follow The Little Mermaid on social media:
- Website: https://movies.disney.com/the-little-mermaid-2023
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyTheLittleMermaid
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/littlemermaid
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneylittlemermaid/
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The Little Mermaid, the all-new 2023 Disney live action remake of a beloved classic animated film swims into theaters starting Friday, May 26, 2023. Will your family be watching?
I was invited to screen the new 2023 Disney live action The Little Mermaid in exchange for The Little Mermaid Movie Review | Safe for Kids? Parents Guide. All photos courtesy of Disney. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!