Beyond The Trailer host Grace Randolph recently shared her reaction for The Walt Disney Company’s live-action The Little Mermaid film where she defended the film’s race swapping of Ariel while also claiming criticizing or hating on the film is a reflection on the person doing the criticizing or hating rather than on the film.
Towards the end of her reaction video, Randolph asserts the “film is not beyond reproach and as I said it’s a little bland at times. And I think taking out Les Poissons and also Daughters of Triton is gonna nag at fans. I can’t believe they took out Les Poissons. I mean I really like to hear the explanation behind that I thought that was absurd especially when you have Daveed Diggs as Sebastian. What the heck? And the movie’s longer but Les Poissons gets cut?”
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However, after criticizing these removals, Randolph then declared, “With this Little Mermaid, you know, if anyone’s hating on this, it’s a reflection on them and not the film itself.”
She continued, “In my review on the 22nd I will tell you what I think of the film, but I will honestly say that while it might not be for everyone and people might prefer the 1989 animated classic there is absolutely nothing to hate about this movie. Absolutely nothing. If anyone hates on it, again, that’s a commentary on themselves.”
Randolph then defended the race swapping of Ariel, “As for race-bending Ariel, I continue to stand by my comments that you can’t have all these Caribbean numbers a white Ariel.”
“Here, they did shoot in Italy, all over the end credits they’re like, ‘We’re in Sardinia.’ I’m like, ‘Must be very pretty over there.’ And I wish they hadn’t done that because it’s going to give fuel to the haters. That really sucks. Maybe they wanted the fairy tale element to the wide shots of the castle, but I mean it’s clearly in a Caribbean setting.
Randolph then ironically stated, “It’s like, again, as I said Jack Sparrow could wander into this movie and he would totally fit.”
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Nevertheless, she continued her defense, “But, come on, there are steel drums, loved them. And while the aristocrats in Eric’s kingdom talk with a British accent, Trinidad was a British colony from 1889 to 1962, but a lot of the people, you know, not the aristocrats, but the regular people of Eric’s kingdom, they speak with a Trinidad accent just like Sebastian does.”
“So it would be ridiculous for a white Ariel to be in this environment. And truth be told there are many moments when watching the movie where one has to wonder why Eric is still white instead of black or Latino especially when the queen is black. It’s sort of explained. There’s kind of a mystery there, which they never really solve. Maybe in a sequel?”
Randolph then said, “After I was watching, I’d say maybe two-thirds in, I was like, ‘Ah! You know this is interesting because by keeping Eric white you’re kind of underscoring that a human and a mermaid’s romance has similarities to an interracial romance. So I do think that tracks. I think that tracks.”
But you know what these things are all very subtle points. This is not a preachy movie whatsoever. It is there to entertain and sweep you off your feet to remind you of the 1989 classic, but also bring you that Disney magic in its own right.”
Randolph then reiterated, “So again, there is nothing to hate about this movie. You’d have to work at hating it. But unfortunately, we know that some people will. But it’s engineered to be a crowd pleaser, and I think it is.”
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The official description for The Little Mermaid states, “Set in the 1830s in and around the waters of a fic88ous island in the Caribbean, Ariel is a spirited 18-year-old mermaid with a beau8ful voice and a thirst for adventure. She is the youngest child of King Triton, who rules the oceans from his underwater kingdom, and is the most defiant of his daughters of the Seven Seas. Frustrated with the confines of her life, Ariel is fascinated with the world above the surface, but it is a world inhabited by humans, with whom Triton has forbidden all merfolk from interacting.”
“Ariel spends her time with her aquatic friend Flounder collecting human artifacts from ship wreckage scattered across the ocean floor, which she stores in her secret grotto,” it continues. “But one day, disregarding her father’s rules — and the pleas from Flounder and Sebastian, a crustacean and the King’s major-domo — she can’t help herself and swims to the surface to discover a majestic
shipping vessel manned by the adventurous Prince Eric, whom she rescues when his ship is destroyed during a storm.”
“Upon discovering that Ariel journeyed to the above world, Triton furiously destroys all the human treasures in Ariel’s grotto,” the description states. “Despondent and more determined than ever, Ariel’s desire to learn more about the human world only intensifies. Desperate to fulfill her longings, Ariel makes a deal with Triton’s sibling, the evil Ursula, a sea witch feared by all merfolk.”
“Ariel chooses to give up her mermaid gifts, including her siren song, in exchange for legs and a chance to experience the human world. However, she must receive true love’s kiss before the end of the third day or she will belong to Ursula for eternity,” it goes one. “Once on land, Ariel finds herself in the Queen’s Island castle, where she officially meets Prince Eric. But Eric initially ignores her, as he is focused on finding the young woman with the beautiful voice who saved him, not knowing that it was actually Ariel.”
“Eventually, Eric begins falling for Ariel, recognizing that they are true kindred spirits. When Ariel realizes she has been tricked by Ursula — Sebastian, Flounder and the seabird, Scuttle, join forces to try and break Ursula’s spell. This results in a climactic showdown between King Triton and Ursula which will determine who rules the seas once and for all, leaving Ariel and Eric to attempt to bridge the gap between their two divided worlds,” it concludes.
The Little Mermaid arrives in theaters on May 26, 2023.
What do you make of Randolph’s comments?
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