It’s hard to believe but it has already been thirty years since Ariel first sang about wanting to be “part of your world.” Over those three decades, it has become a favorite Disney classic for generations of Disney fans! The Little Mermaid kicked off the second golden age of animation for Disney Animation Studios. It also set the standard for what a modern Disney musical should be.
Now, this classic story of a mermaid who falls in love with a human is being released as part of the Disney Signature Edition collection of movies. This is the seventh title to join this collection after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, Bambi, The Lion King, and Lady and the Tramp. It’s time to head back under the sea and check out if this edition is worth getting as The Little Mermaid comes to home entertainment centers to celebrate this milestone!
The release of The Little Mermaid for its 30th anniversary has some expectations to reach in my humble opinion. It’s a pretty monumental occasion and this movie really kicked off the second golden age of Disney animation. Things had to be done right or there is the risk of an outcry. Thankfully, within minutes of the film starting, I found myself being drawn in by the vibrant colors and gorgeous music found in the film as the world of Ariel opened up on the screen. To say this movie has aged well would be an understatement. It looks beautiful. It is delightful to watch and see the brilliant storytelling of the animators who were really at the end of classic hand-drawn animation and starting to explore new techniques that would completely change the world of animation. The music and audio were equally beautiful. Just as the animation was pivotal in the history of animation, the music did a similar thing. It pulls from classic Disney soundtracks while also pivots forward. The combination of these elements makes for a completely magical viewing experience. I found myself enjoying watching this movie more than any other time I’ve seen it, barring the first time I saw it as a kid.
The extras included with The Little Mermaid Signature Edition were incredibly enjoyable to watch. While the whole collection was solid, there were some definite favorites that rose to the top. My personal favorites had Alan Menken and Jodi Benson. In one (on the digital release), the two of them explore the song Part of Your World and the impact it has had over the last thirty years. Another favorite was Alan Menken & the Leading Ladies Song. Alan Menken is joined by several leading ladies from Disney films of the 80s and 90s for a delightful musical discussion about their iconic songs. There were some downright magical moments found in these two features. Here is a look at all of the bonus features released with The Little Mermaid Signature Edition:
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL
- Sing-Along Mode – Sing along to the movie in this sing-along version of the film.
- Alan Menken & the Leading Ladies Song – From the voice of a mermaid to the tunes of a muse, the music of Alan Menken has scored the soundtrack for some of Disney’s most iconic leading ladies. Join Alan, Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas Singing Voice), Lillias White (Calliope) and Donna Murphy (Mother Gothel)as we celebrate the music of their films in honor of the one that started it all … “The Little Mermaid.” In this discussion, the ladies will share their memories of musically creating their characters with Alan, discuss what it means to be part of the Disney Princess/leading lady legacy and create new memories as they sing with Alan around a baby grand piano.
- “What I Want From You…Is YOUR VOICE” – Enter the recording studio and get an inside look at the cast of “The Little Mermaid” in their original recording sessions.
- Stories From Walt’s Office – Gadgets & Gizmos – Like Ariel, Walt Disney was a collector of many different things from miniatures to early mechanical characters that inspired the invention of audio-animatronics. We take a look at some of the collections that Walt kept in his office in the third episode of this series.
- #TreasuresUntold – Join Ruby Rose Turner and Olivia Sanabia from the Disney Channel Original Series “Coop and Cami Ask the World” as they take a deep dive to explore some hidden treasures and fun facts about Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
- DCapella “Part of Your World” Music Video
- Classic Bonus Features – revisit four exciting bonus features from previous releases including:
- Deleted Character: Harold The Merman
- Under The Scene: The Art Of Live Action Reference
- Howard’s Lecture
- Audio Commentary With Ron Clements, John Musker and Alan Menken
- “Part of Your World” – A 30-Year Retrospective – Songwriter Alan Menken and Jodi Benson, the acting and singing voice of Ariel, sing the epitome of Disney “I Want” songs “Part of Your World” and discuss its impact since it was first heard 30 years ago.
- Classic Bonus Features – Over 3 additional hours of previously released classic bonus features including Deleted Scenes, Easter Eggs, Music Videos and more!
*Bonus features may vary by retailer
Product SKUs: Ultimate Collector’s Edition (4K UHD+Blu-ray+Digital Code); Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Code), Digital UHD/HD/SD, DVD and On-Demand
Feature Run Time: Approximately 83 minutes
Rating: G in U.S. and Canada
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 1.78
Audio: 4K UHD BD: English Dolby Atmos, Latin Spanish, & French-Canadian 5.1 Dolby
Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Latin Spanish and French-Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital
DVD: English, Latin Spanish, and French-Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital
4K UHD Digital: English Dolby Atmos (some platforms), English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital
HD Digital: English 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus (some platforms), English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital
Languages/Subtitles: 4K UHD BD Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish & French
BD Subtitles: English SDH & ESL, Spanish & French
DVD Subtitles: English SDH & ESL, Spanish & French
Digital Subtitles: English SDH, French Canadian, Latin Spanish
Digital & DVD Captions: English
The best Disney films get better as time goes by. They also get better with repeat viewing. The Little Mermaid does both of these things and is a delight to watch thirty years after first swimming on to the silver screen. This is a movie that has aged well, especially after being polished up for this release. The accompanying bonus features are a joy to watch and I look forward to watching them again. This is a worthy title and release for every Disney fan’s Disney library. Go out and get it and fall in love all over again with this beloved Disney film.
DAPS MAGIC was given an experience or product free of charge to review that was used for this coverage. The opinions given in this review were that of the reviewer. There are no claims of being an expert. This is simply a review given with honest opinions.