So what constitutes a guilty pleasure? It’s a film that I like for personal reasons, and thus, probably have watched more than I should have.


Okay, let’s get something straight before starting: this is not another Step Up 2 guilty pleasure where I like the movie for the physical attractiveness of its female lead. I think I’ve made it clear in my The Little Mermaid full review how attracted I am to the impossibly thin-waisted, uncontainable red-head mermaid of King Triton whose voice is brought to life by Jodi Benson, but my disgust for The Little Mermaid 2 is as equally well-documented here on my blog. Clearly, drawing a couple thousand frames of Ariel isn’t enough for me–I want to watch Ariel animated by the likes of Glen Keane and, most importantly, written by directors Ron Clements and John Musker. In other words, I loved Ariel in The Little Mermaid not because she sang like an angel or was animated by a god, but because of her personality.

Does anyone know what the heck this thing is?
Does anyone know what the heck this thing is?

Ariel’s personality is back in The Little Mermaid 3, and that is enough for me to recommend this to The Little Mermaid fans. However, the loss of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman is even more noticeable than in The Little Mermaid 2 as once again, Jodi Benson’s immense talent goes to waste. More importantly, the film’s decision to change the music from Caribbean/Jamaican to Mexican/South American is truly mind-boggling; didn’t we all love the music of The Little Mermaid? The last major complaint, and these are actually big problems in the film, is the animation. The rendering of Ariel is not bad, but it’s almost… impersonal. It should be known that Disney sequels are not produced in the same studio of their classics, and its pretty apparent these cash-grab sequels are taking a lot of shortcuts via computers. So maybe it should be embarrassingly said that every instance of pure computer CGI is blatantly obvious in a really bad way. Ariel looks pretty, but in a sterile way. I can’t sense the pencil marks, the colors are somehow dulled, and even the bubbles seem manufactured out of a factory. Oh, how I miss classic Disney hand-animation.



Interestingly enough, these Disney sequels are taking my suggestions. In my The Lion King five-part review, I complained about how combining the hyenas with the lions didn’t seem like a bad thing at all, and this was fixed in The Lion King 2. In my The Little Mermaid full review, I complained about how we didn’t know King Triton’s motivations for acting the way he was towards humans. This is fixed in The Little Mermaid 3 through the death of his wife, which is actually the exact course of action I recommended. So it seems like this movie should be better than The Little Mermaid, but the problem is, the sequel has nowhere to go after the death of Ariel’s mother. King Triton learns to accept humans in The Little Mermaid, so they couldn’t have made the logical plot move here. Instead, they make the focus on bringing music back to the kingdom, and I think this may have worked if the music was suburb, showing the void in joy King Triton’s rule is bringing to his kingdom, but once again, the music is a dud.

Since when does Flounder live for adventure?
Since when does Flounder live for adventure?

Nonetheless, Ariel and her personality is the catalyst for this change. In this regard, the film seems a little too familiar, but its a welcomed familiarity since it worked so well in the first movie. I really can’t offer many more compliments besides bringing back Ariel, and it’s amazing what having a strong lead will do to negate other problematic elements. There are also some added perks with Ariel’s sisters, whom actually get developed (as much as they reasonably can) and add much needed energy and comedy to the film. Then I think to myself, maybe this sequel is doing its job by showing us relevant details that explain King Triton’s hatred for humans. Maybe this sequel fully redeems itself by allowing us to spend more time with Ariel. Maybe I am justified for liking this…



Ahh, now that's better!
Ahh, now that’s better!

11 Replies to “The Little Mermaid 3 (2008)”

  1. I vaguely remember bits and pieces of this one.
    I hate the 2nd one, but my girlfriend actually LIKES it. And she’s a fan of the first movie! I guess that disproves Nostalgia Chick’s theory of Disney sequel dislike. (It applies to me, because I DESPISE “The Return of Jafar.”

    1. Haha I didn’t know Nostalgia Chick has a theory of Disney sequel dislike. I didn’t like the second The Little Mermaid either. Haven’t seen The Return of Jafar, and I don’t think I will be anytime soon lol.

      1. Basically, she says, “If you’re over the age of 10, the amount of like/dislike you have for a Disney sequel is in reverse proportion to how much you like the original.”
        And since I LOOOVVEE “Aladdin,” that’s why I detest “The Return of Jafar” with every bone in my body.
        BTW, I happened to see a Deviantart user who considers Melody to be better than Ariel. What do you think?

      2. Eh, I guess it depends on what the user means by “better.” In terms of being cute, well, she’s like 10. In terms of going through a more pronounced character arc, maybe. In terms of being beautiful, captivating, animated lavishly, written well, voiced by Jodi Benson, singing Part of Your World, and bordering pure fantasy yet being so relatable and real, I’d say Ariel.

      3. “Her fascination with humans has no basis, just stuff she finds on the ocean floor and stuff she witnesses above water. She has never communicated with a human so she’s judging their intentions based on stuff, making her look like an obsessed teen with a shrine dedicated to her favorite celebrity.”

        “Ariel’s life in the sea was fine, heck even more than fine since she had a loving enviroment and riches.”

        …I really can’t swallow such comments. It’s strange how people seem to believe being well-off somehow forbids you from complaining or being unsatisfied with your life. If that was the case, then everyone should just be materialistic freaks, take any job that gives them lots of money, and buy themselves a mansion. Amusingly, “Kitten” seems to condone such behavior, saying she judges the humans intention based on “stuff.” Needless to say, I am not convinced! Haha

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