Rotten Tomatoes review of The Little Mermaid is a hilarious dose of reality for Disney’s remakes.

Rotten Tomatoes review of The Little Mermaid is a hilarious dose of reality for Disney's remakes.

Rotten Tomatoes review of The Little Mermaid is a hilarious dose of reality for Disney’s remakes. An amusing truth regarding the quality of Disney’s live-action remakes is brought to light by The Little Mermaid’s first Rotten Tomatoes score, which is good. With Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Javier Bardem, Jacob Tremblay, and Melissa McCarthy taking on the roles made famous in Disney’s 1989 animated film, The Little Mermaid is set to hit theaters on May 26. 

Disney has released live-action adaptations of their animated classics for the past 13 years, starting with Alice in Wonderland in 2010 and continuing with Cinderella in 2015, Beauty and the Beast in 2017, and The Lion King in 2019. The 2023 picture has received unprecedented levels of buzz, but audiences should approach it with caution due to the polarizing reception of Disney’s past recent live-action adaptation attempts.

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At this point, The Little Mermaid has received 115 reviews for inclusion in Rotten Tomatoes’ database, where it has received a 71% approval rating from critics. The live-action The Little Mermaid remake, set to be released in 2023, is getting high marks for Halle Bailey’s portrayal of Ariel and for being an undeniably entertaining take on the classic story.

Still, critics have pointed out that it lacks the vivacity of the original and doesn’t delve deep enough into the story’s complexities. Rotten Tomatoes says of Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid, “With Halle Bailey making a major splash in the title role; the film ranks among the studio’s most enjoyable reimaginings.” The film’s real score is ironic for Disney, given that it implies a well-rounded, high-quality film.

A Rotten Tomatoes score of 71% for The Little Mermaid shouldn’t be taken as evidence that this is one of Disney’s best remakes.

A 71% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes indicates generally positive reviews. Still, it falls far short of the near-universal acclaim that such an upbeat synopsis for a Disney film would warrant. Because the Rotten Tomatoes score is based more on the percentage of positive reviews than the actual rating, a 71% score often indicates a film’s average quality.

To put that in perspective, just two of Disney’s Pixar’s 26 films (out of 26) have received Rotten Tomatoes scores lower than 75%. Despite its 74% score, Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear was widely regarded as one of the studio’s weakest films, demonstrating the reverse of Disney’s live-action standards.

Comparison of Disney’s Live-Action Remakes, Including “The Little Mermaid,” to Their Rotten Tomatoes Scores

The Little Mermaid is one of the best live-action adaptations of a Disney animation classic, as stated by Rotten Tomatoes. The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast both have a 71 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, tying for fourth place after Mulan (72 percent), Cinderella (83 percent), and The Jungle Book (94 percent) among Disney’s most recent offerings in this genre. The 2021 smash blockbuster Cruella has a 75% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although it’s not a remake because it’s an origin story and a reboot of 101 Dalmatians.

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