Welcome to the land of Disney. It was only a matter of time before the megapromise became real. The House of Mouse has always been a favorite realm of ours. Perhaps it’s because we have such a connection with Mickey. He can be such a real character.
The studio behind some of our most beloved films is releasing a brand-new adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Directed by Bill Condon, it stars a talented quartet led by newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as the titular character. Disney has dusted off its vie wivie romance and gave it a modern makeover.
While we wait for more information on this highly anticipated film, we can reflect on the past and learn from it. One of the most beloved characters from the 1980s and ’90s is now being revived, thanks to the magic of technology. Fans of the saga starring Ariel as well as fans of Disney and romance will be able to experience the magic of a classic all over again. Welcome to Twigs.
A Disney Renaissance
It’s only fitting that we would remember the golden era of Disney as being the “90s.” It was a time when the company was at its prime and was able to produce some of our all-time favourite films, like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Even then, the House of Mouse was searching for new ways to engage with audiences. While film was a successful venture, the company was also looking to expand its reach.
In 1995, Disney opened its doors to the world of online publication with the creation of Walt Disney Online. Since then, the company has seen phenomenal success. In 2019, Disney’s market cap reached $247 billion, the most in history.
While the film and television industry have shifted to streaming, Disney remains committed to its digital presence. Each member of the Disney+ family, from the flagship service to the smallest, least expensive choice, gets its own website. It’s an area ripe for exploration, with themed landing pages and rich interactivity. The sites live inside a unified ecosystem, with content, products, and services tied together under one roof. It’s this connected world that makes Disney such a valuable property. While the physical movie may be on vacation, the online world never sleeps, allowing for new chances at connecting with audiences.
“Little Mermaid” and Iconic Vampires
One of the standouts from the collection of photos shared by Steinfeld as part of the press tour for “Little Mermaid” is this one, seen below:
It shows the young actress’ character, Ariel, posing with a young woman, possibly her mother. The way they are both smiling implies there’s an affectionate relationship between the three of them. Unfortunately, we’ll never know the truth behind that photo, considering the circumstances surrounding Ariel’s tragic backstory.
The little mermaid is a story that has captivated audiences since its 1989 release. In the original Danish version of the tale, a young woman named Serenity is transported to a world populated by creatures that go bump in the night. She sees monsters beneath her bed and in her closet, but also meets charmingly quirky sea creatures who try to woo her. Serenity battles her inner demons and finds beauty and love in the end. It’s this dichotomy that makes the movie so relatable to modern audiences. While it may not be strictly romantic in nature, the story resonates with viewers because it’s relatable. To a certain degree, we can all relate to not wanting to be different than everyone else, especially in an age where being different is often equated with being ‘special.’
The dark alleys, creepy castles, and Gothic monsters may be things of nostalgia for many, but they’re also a striking visual in a sea of bright, happy living.
Lessons From the Past
Even before she was known for her starring role in Disney’s “Babylon,” Hailee Steinfeld was appearing in big-name movies. In fact, she was already well-established when she first auditioned for “Little Mermaid,” back in 2015. She starred in the 2018 thriller “The Darkest Night,” in which she played a young woman who returns to her former home – after being held captive by a cult – to confront her past and save her future. Like “Little Mermaid,” “The Darkest Night” is another story about overcoming adversity; its troubled production history is well-documented. It was a critical and commercial flop when it was released, but Steinfeld’s performance has since won her plenty of new fans – and perhaps also a new role in the ‘90s reboot of “The Little Mermaid”.
The parallels between “The Darkest Night” and “Little Mermaid” are apparent, especially since both stories involve women trying to figure out their place in the world. In fact, it was director Bill Condon who first brought up the idea of reviving Ariel, saying, “Every time that we turned on our phones and looked at one another’s photos, it was the first thing that people thought of. So I think that there’s a real opportunity to have a little romance in the film…” It’s clear that Condon, Steinfeld, and Disney share a special connection. The director went on to add, “You know, I think with any luck, there will be a ‘90s-esque happy ending.”
Whether or not Condon’s ‘90s-themed “Little Mermaid” lives up to his dream of a “romantic” ending, it will be interesting to see how audiences respond to this latest take on the character. While we wait for more news on this exciting project, here’s to hoping that it will bring us back some of the nostalgia that made the ‘90s such an iconic decade.