The Little Mermaid ★★★★

“Just look at her! On legs! On human legs!”

The Little Mermaid does start out as your standard Disney-princess yearning for something bigger, but the appealing underwater world is one of the most stunning visuals Disney had put out at the time. And perhaps it's this mixture of the traditional narrative with some fresh additions that turns into the renaissance for Disney? Yes, Ariel is a princess but more than just dreaming of love, she dreams of living in a wholly different world for herself. It also helps that the central pieces here are great; like Ursula's gleeful evil mixed with something genuinely frightening.

The Little Mermaid is at its weakest when it falls into familiar molds, yet works so well because it handles the familiarity well. The tone is bold and broad, the animation filled with as much cute animals as it has haunting shadows. It's the kind of stunning craftsmanship elevating familiar stories to a new level, hopefully the start of a strong rebirth for Disney.

Disney animation

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