The Little Mermaid


The story on the grapevine  ( ok, well Hollywood Reporter) is that Sony is jumping on the fairytale bandwagon, PR-ing it as a Dark Re-telling of the Little Mermaid.

Now fair enough, this film will be based on  Carolyn Turgeon’s ” Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale.” a book, which is apparently loosely based on the Christian-Andersen original.

Still, surely the original was pretty dark already?

To those faint-hearted fairytale lovers, please stop reading now… but in my memory the story of the besotted teenage mermaid ended very sad.  As she turns into foam, my five-year old self thought: “Well, that is what you get for giving up your life to follow a boy.”  Only to promptly forget this when I met a boy a decade later.

They try to make it better for Disney:  Ariel is clever and she wants to explore the world, broaden her horizons… She takes a chance, does a bit of gambling and hey-presto it pays off! This I don’t even necessarily disagree with because of the ” Life is an Adventure” aspect. Ok, she then has to kiss the prince but only because she’ll be screwed otherwise. Luckily he is kind of cute, even if a little slow.

The original mermaid is love-sick for this boy and sacrifices her voice and wagers her life to be with him.  That in itself is already dark! Then the ending too, which I just discovered had an even more sinister part to it: the mermaid can save her life and obtain an immortal soul (a necessity for Heaven, kids!) by slaying the prince but she can’t do it and jumps overboard…

Thanks to her good deed, she gets lifted up in the air by the Daughters of the Air (I really hope this is translating issue on the website, otherwise: Hans, you really couldn’t think of anything else?!) They carry her off and she’s been given a second chance to gain an immortal soul as well as a chance to compete for entry to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Hooray! I hear you say. Alas, read the small print… she is only eligible after 300 years… but said her optimistic brainwashed friend: ” We may get there sooner!”

“Unseen we can enter the houses of men, where there are children, and for every day on which we find a good child, who is the joy of his parents and deserves their love, our time of probation is shortened. The child does not know, when we fly through the room, that we smile with joy at his good conduct, for we can count one year less of our three hundred years. But when we see a naughty or a wicked child, we shed tears of sorrow, and for every tear a day is added to our time of trial!”

In other words: Ariel’s still doomed.

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