Last week, I told you about how the Philippines doesn’t really celebrate Halloween and tends to just straight to Christmas. I also mentioned my friend invited me to a costume party, which got me thinking of dressing up as The Little Mermaid, my favorite Disney Princess of all time. I really love Ariel, The Little Mermaid. Well, the Disney version anyway! As much as I grow up and no matter how old I’ll get, I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow this Disney classic.
I think I was around 5 years old when I first watched it. It was one of the first movies that I ever watched in the movie theater and one of my most vivid childhood memories. Since I was very young, I guess it was hard for my parents to find age appropriate films to watch, let alone full-length animated shows during that time. I don’t even remember anything special about that day. There was no particular reason why the entire family took the time to make an entire day to watch it.
I remember having to leave early in order to watch the first showing. When we arrived at the movie house, it was pretty empty buy I was amazed at the size of the place. I was probably really tiny then so everything looked really big to me at that point but it was still an incredible experience walking into a dimly lit room. My parents got me a large tub of popcorn; it was my first time eating the snack, which I enjoyed thoroughly. They even told me to slow down and save some for when the movie was actually on the screen!
Then, after all of the trailers were done, they dimmed the lights and, finally, the best movie of my childhood started to play on the big screen.
I can’t actually tell you what got me transfixed by The Little Mermaid. Maybe it was the colors and how everything was so brightly lit. Maybe it was because Ariel had red hair, which is my favorite color. Before then, I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to have red hair before since, where I live, everyone has black hair. Maybe because they were all swimming under the sea, which is something I would’ve liked to do when I was that age… actually, scratch that. I still would like to be able to swim underwater and go exploring under the sea! But I sat there, glued to everything happening on the screen.
I remember being scared of Ursula because she was scary looking for a kid my age! I mean, she lived in a dark cave and all that! I was afraid for Ariel when she was tricked into entering Ursula’s home. I remember holding my mother’s arm when Ariel contracted the deal that made her lose her voice. I was really scared then! I also remember laughing out loud when Ariel started combing her hair with a fork because that’s what she thought a fork was for! I was embarrassed for her afterwards as well when she was getting all the weird looks!
I actually loved the movie more when she lost her voice! Oh, not because I didn’t like her speaking and singing voice at all. But I loved her expressions during this time! Since she couldn’t talk, Ariel’s face became so expressive and I could understand what she was thinking and feeling every time! I really didn’t pay attention to the dialogue a whole much throughout the movie but I could easly follow along with what was happening because you could easily see the reactions on her face!
But the thing I remember most from watching The Little Mermaid in the movie theater was, of course, the song Part of Your World. Every little girl who’s heard this song can identify with it on some level. For me, I connected with Part of Your World on a very emotional level. I remember actually tearing up while the song was playing. My parents looked at me and were worried. I think they thought the movie was too much for me. I told them I was okay and I was just so sad for Ariel. In fact, I still tear up whenever I hear it because of its melancholic tone. If I ever decide to be an actress, all I have to do is remember the song and I can let the waterworks run!
Now that I’ve gotten older and have re-watched The Little Mermaid a few hundred times since them, I’ve learned to appreciate all of the finer things about the movie, like Ariel wanting her father to understand how overprotective he’s being. This was also something I felt when I was growing up since I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. My friends would tell me stories of their boyfriends and how they loved/hated them. I was very jealous of them but, being a obedient daughter, I never voiced my concerns to my parents… just like how Ariel lost her voice in the movie.
I also have to address the criticism the movie gets for being too materialistic. A lot of critics have stated that Ariel never learns anything or is actually just a spoiled brat, wanting everything without earning it through hard work. They also complain about Ariel just complaining about her father who means well. While they are correct on one level or another, I do see both sides of the argument.
Ariel “wanting more” is a phase I went through so I can identify with her. She may have all of the material things in life but she doesn’t have the “spiritual” things that money can’t buy. She feels trapped because she’s not allowed to go out. She’s not allowed to follow her heart. I wouldn’t say my parents are controlling to that degree but I do understand the feeling of not being able to do the things you want to do. I also understand that Ariel’s father just wants the best for her daughter but there are times when, as a parent, you have to let go, let them make mistakes to learn from them and hope you taught them well enough to make the right decisions.
I’m glad that Disney released this film when they did since they gave me one of my treasured childhood memories. Even though I was four years old when I watched The Little Mermaid, I still consider this one of my favorite movies of all time. I think every little girl needs a Disney Princess to identify with while they grow up. The older generations had Snow White and Cinderella. This generation has Anna and Elsa from Frozen and Rapunzel from Tangled. I still think my generation got the best one. When Ariel sang Part of Your World, she struck a chord in me and probably a lot of little girls who were growing up at the time. And that’s why I still say The Little Mermaid is the best Disney Princess.
Speaking of Part of Your World, next week, I’ll rate my favorite Disney songs! See you then!
Who’s your favorite Disney Princess? Let me know who she is in the comments section below!