We were walking into Fantasyland’s relatively new Ariel’s Under the Sea ride at Disney World when the seagull sensed movement and started talking. “Who is that?” I asked. “Scuttle!” my husband piped up.
I was asking our 8-year-old daughter, but the fact that the answer came from him should — I suppose — be no surprise. The Little Mermaid, now out in a new “Diamond Edition” Blu-Ray is one of the films that hails from a time when both my husband and I were still young enough to be taken to children’s films. It came to the screens in 1989, turning Hans Christian Andersen’s rather forbidding tale of a mermaid who (spoiler alert) kills herself after getting “all she ever wanted” into a eminently more kid friendly tale of a plucky young mermaid who goes after what she wants and … surprise, surprise … finds her happily ever after.
Still, he was not your typical The Little Mermaid fan; IS not your typical Little Mermaid fan.
What he is is a father of a little girl, a father who would do anything for said little girl … even watch a movie full of song and dance about a mermaid. Even stand in line for 45 minutes at Disney to spend 2 minutes on a ride about, you guessed it, a mermaid.
It’s a message of the Little Mermaid oft over-looked in the scuttlebutt (pun intended) about the songs, the feminist (or not) messages, and the fish-out-water storyline.
When Disney offered me a copy of the new Blu-Ray to share my thoughts with the world; I expected to be caught up in all of that, to perhaps be caught up in the fun of the crab-e-oke with Sebastian (I won’t lie, I sang along … you try not to; I dare you).
But the Blu-Ray of the Little Mermaid that I sat down to watch with my daughter is special for the fun extras — including the addition of Carly Rae Jepsen singing the classic Part of Your World — but what got it to this point, to being worth a “Diamond Edition” in the first place, is the story it tells about families, specifically about fathers and daughters (because, like so many Disney tales, the mother is long since dead).
King Triton does his utmost to keep his little girl safe, but at the risk of quashing her spirit. And when she rebels, he realizes it isn’t what he wants for her that matters. It’s what she wants; what makes her happy. It’s a realization that our kids’ have dreams far beyond those we will dream for them.
What is your favorite father/daughter movie?
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