The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning (Video 2008) Poster

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Wonderful and beautiful animation, not so interesting story
djepic127 August 2008
Ever since Disney's "sequels" department has been under new management, there has been a HUGE upgrade in quality. There have only been two animated releases so far, Cinderella III and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. I am not sure if any more sequels are in production.

Consistent between both films is the very high quality animation. TLM:AB keeps CGI to a minimum and much effort has been made to keep the characters close to the original character models (and in many cases, character models have heavily improved over the original). This is probably as good as it will get without the original team of animators.

What saves this film is the fantastic hand-drawn animation in the age of ugly CGI and lazy flash-drawn cartoons. I would go as far as to say that the animation here is on-par or higher than the original 1989 release (the original was plagued with off-model animation). Unfortunately, the story is only so-so. The plot is very weak but effort has been made to develop all of the sisters' personalities, which I really appreciate (they are believable sister to sister relationships). I think Disney recognised that without Alan Menken, the music for TLM would not have charm or beauty. Disney did the right thing for this film by keeping songs short and to a minimum.

This film highly deserves a chance to be seen by many, unlike the rushed and horrible Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.
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That's one fine "prequel"
FastFan26 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I just picked this movie up today, of course wanting to hear Jodi Benson's gorgeous voice yet again. I had to wait a while before I was able to watch it, but it was worth the wait. It became an awesome movie that tells the "tail" of young Ariel. Personally, I love anything with mermaids and music in it. This movie did justice like the other one, "Return to Sea". Ariel's got six headstrong sisters, how they slept in the same room, it almost appeared as a sea-dormitory, and her father, Triton look so cute when he was younger. Even her mother, Athena, looked much like an older Ariel. Flounder himself was awesome, it was neat how both Ariel and Flounder met. This movie hadn't disappoint me at all, loved just about over %100 of fun, laughter, and music in this fine piece of brilliance. I always wondered what happened to Ariel's mother. But seeing a younger adult version of Triton was even just as unique. I also admired how Sebastian was into music heavily himself. I could watch this movie over and over again! Probably going to watch it in a few minutes, because that's how great it was! Awesome work, Disney! Ten stars is what I gave this comment for, it was brilliantly made, and it's a movie that I also recommend to anyone who's in love with the first two "Little Mermaid" & "Little Mermaid: Return to Sea" movies. As said before, you won't be disappointed...
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A sweet Disney sequel
Kristine13 November 2008
The Little Mermaid is one of Disney's most lovable classics, it's one of my personal favorites, so I did want to see the sequel, which was pretty average. Normally most Disney sequels are lame or a waste of time, but it seems as if Disney is finally getting something right because The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning is a very sweet movie and was a nice prequel for Ariel to see what her life was like before she met Prince Eric and we learn a little bit about her family and how she came to meet Flounder. This is definitely a must see for the kids, it has fun music, cute characters, and a charming story that anyone could fall in love with. I liked that they chose a different story rather than continuing her life with Eric, I just like the "they lived happily ever after" and that's it, so this was a nice idea to get to know Ariel's sisters and mother.

In this Disney prequel, we explore Ariel's life before she became human, met Eric, met Ursela. Her father is heart broken after her mother is killed by a ship, he forbids music since it reminds him of her and her beautiful voice. Ariel and her sisters grow up in a very boring world with no music or life at all, but Ariel is thirsty for fun, to spice up her life. She comes along with friends who are also trying to make life a little more fun. But a mermaid named Marina is trying to take over the girls and their lives so she can eventually control the kingdom.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning is a fun Disney sequel and was a pleasure to watch. The songs are a lot of fun and the story just charms it's way into your heart. This isn't my favorite Disney sequel, but it was a huge improvement over the second Little Mermaid. I would recommend this for the family or kids, it's a charming film and of course who could resist Sebastian and his fun crazy life under the sea? He, Ariel, and Flounder bring life to this story and I'm sure you'll enjoy it as well.

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A Great Prequel
alesyira26 August 2008
This movie was remarkably refreshing and entertaining. The overall appearance of the film was pleasant. I really enjoyed the character design and animation; the film was very true to the original designs portrayed in the first Little Mermaid, and included just enough of modern 3d animation techniques to give additional depth to the 2d creations without spoiling its 2d nature. The story had a solid plot that supported other Little Mermaid films, as well as giving the viewer a touching glimpse of Ariel's mother and a deeper understanding of King Triton's character. The songs, while not as moving or masterful as Menken and Ashman's work on the first Little Mermaid film, were decent and fit in well with the overall theme of the movie. The movie flowed easily between the musical numbers and non-musical moments.

This is definitely one of those "Movie #3"s that rises well above the awful direction (plot, character, music, etc) that most sequels seem to follow.
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Everyone's lovable red-head is back starring in the first Disney prequel
Everyone's lovable red-head we all know and loved is back in a new adventure. You know who I am talking about - it's Ariel and starring in the first Disney prequel, 'cause I wouldn't call it a sequel. Set before she walked on land and married her Prince.

Under the narration of Sebastian, the story starts with King Triton and his wife, Queen Athena, have seven young daughters (the youngest of whom is Ariel). The entirety of the underwater kingdom of Atlantica is filled with joy, music and laughter. The merfolk are shown relaxing in a lagoon above water, and Triton gives Athena a small music box. A pirate ship approaches and they attack, stealing the merpeople's possessions. Everyone escapes except Queen Athena, who is crushed by the pirate ship. Devastated by Athena's death, Triton throws the music box away and bans music from the kingdom. Ten years later, Triton's daughters live under a strict schedule maintained by their governess, Marina Del Rey an original villainess voiced by Sally Field; no relations to the two witches what so ever. Marina hates her job and longs for Sebastian's, who is the king's attache. Ariel is frustrated by their current lifestyle, which brings her into conflict with her strict father. During their morning "walk", Ariel tickles her sister Adella with kelp, and she is given the punishment of cleaning barnacles. While carrying out her punishment, Ariel encounters Flounder, a fish, who is making music. That night, Ariel sees Flounder outside the window, and follows him to an underground music club. She is overjoyed by the presence of music, and is shocked when she learns that Sebastian performs at the club. When her presence is revealed, at first all the club patrons flee, but Ariel sings a song explaining her love of music, and she joins the club with an oath. That's all I am telling you. You will have see it for yourself.

It's great to finally see Ariel's mother Queen Athena, who looks like Ariel. But I can see some differences between mother and daughter: Athena's hair is a different shade of red compare to Ariel and done up almost like a ponytail. And her eyes I think are green. Overall, Ariel's Beginning is another excellent Disney OAV (original animated video),and prefect to go with the original film and "Return to the Sea." I love out of Ariel's sisters Alana (pink fin), Arista (red fin) and Attina (orange fin).
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Not really really worth it.
daves_train1 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is terrible and it follows in line of terrible Disney sequels and prequels. Don't get me wrong, I maybe a guy but I like the old movie with likable characters, catchy music, and an actually complex villain but did they really need to do this? The only good part I would say about it is the beginning when they show the mermaids having fun when suddenly pirates attack (Captain Hook?). And it shows how Ariel's mom was killed {at least they keep the whole killing mom thing that Disney likes to do} and why Triton banned music but when the movie starts it is all over.

I won't bore you with details so I will just show you the things that tick me off about it. First of all the new villain seems really boring and just seems whiny and annoying and not really threatening. This next complain doesn't tick me off but it's just weird, why does Ariel ask why they don't have music and Triton throws a temper tantrum, wouldn't Ariel kind of guess because of the fact that her mother died? (in case anyone tries to fight against that, wouldn't Trition tell her because of the mother dying? It just doesn't make sense to me.).

The villain doesn't even appear in the next film so why is she in this film? I hate that when they think that we don't catch that. What happens in jail? Does she become a good person, die, what? Now for the moment that angered me the most, when near the end...(Spoilers!!! just in case you didn't see it before.) When Ariel "dies" and it turns out she was just knocked out for a little bit. Was this supposed to be tension? Why would you do that if we know that in the next movie she's all better and singing with fish(and sleeping with the fish?). They do this once in a while in prequels and it irritates me to no end because they think that they are being clever by adding unneeded tension.

So in conclusion this movie is a bomb, granted the voice work is solid and the animation looks nice but the predictable ending and boring plot don't make it worth it. Again I am not feeding the troll because I liked the first film but skip this one and watch the first one.
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Very charming prequel, and rather sad...
TheLittleSongbird7 October 2009
This prequel was very enjoyable and charming. I don't think it isn't as good as the classic first film or the series(a childhood favourite of mine), but I do think it is an improvement over the rather average Little Mermaid 2:Return to the Sea. Here, the animation is breathtaking, beautifully fluid and colourful, and fairly true in terms of style to the original. The music, while not as catchy as Alan Menekn's score in the original, is still surprisingly delightful. I Remember was outstanding. And the voice acting is great, Jim Cummings is a worthy replacement of Kenneth Mars as Triton, and Jodi Benson(who also voiced Thumbelina in the Don Bluth movie, Ariel isn't the only role she's done, it's just the role she's best remembered by) is just amazing as Ariel, with a fantastic singing voice that makes me want to sing with her. Remember the song in the series' episode Wish Upon a Starfish, Daring To Dance, amazing song, amazing vocals that reduced me to tears. Marina-marvellously voiced by Sally Field- is an improvement over the bland Morgana, Sebastian is hilarious, there is nice character development and Benjamin is so cute. And the beginning with Ariel's mother brought some poignancy. However, the film is too short, the plot while a wonderful idea is rather so-so in execution and takes time to get going, and Flounder's voice was more teenage than innocent-sounding, the latter suited the character more. Still it is a very charming prequel and well worth the look. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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I loved it!
jodeefan129 November 2008
I am a huge little mermaid fan since i can remember and i was definitely not disappointed it in this movie. It tells us how Ariel came to be and answered a lot of the questions we had in the first one like what happened to Ariel's mother and why King Triton hates humans. It also tells us how flounder and Ariel met but the one thing i did not like about flounder is that he beat boxed and was kind of out of character because he was a lot braver in this one which in the other ones flounder was always scared. I also liked that is showed us the different sides of the sisters because in the first and second ones we didn't really hear much about them only for brief moments but in this one we get to see their personalities. I also liked the music in the movie it was really great. Some of my favorites was Athena's song, Jump in the line, i remember, and i will sing. The only song i did not like was the one mistake because it didn't seem like a song to me just kind of a poem that Sally Fields talked through with background music. It was so cool to see Jodi Benson and Sameuel E. Wright returning as Ariel and Sebastion. I don't think you can have a Little Mermaid movie without them as the characters. All around good movie and i will watch it over and over again like i did the first 2.
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amazing 10/10
jenkinsr62824 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I find this film to be better than the other two and i think that marina del ray is amazing and much better than Ursula and Morgana!I think that Ariel is beautiful in this version and is so much prettier than when she was in the 1st and 2nd film. If you have not seen this version of Little Mermaid well you've just gotta get it as it is brilliant with,better animatian,better plots and magnificent, dazzling animation including never before seen in the other films 3d effects and the director of this film was also known to be a dancer so if you wonder why the dancing is so crazy that its brilliant its because the director who not only did a fabulous job on the film but made her dancing background shine in this all new amazing film!If you have not got this version on DVD well you've just gotta get it as my DVD of it was 10/10 for me and my brothers DVD he said was also 10/10 for him and my friends said the same!!!! JCJ
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Pretty good prequel, even by direct-to-video standards
webberrules18 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning is the prequel to Disney's The Little Mermaid as well as the final direct-to-video sequel made by DisneyToon Studios.

To critique, I will start with the bad and say the good afterwards to redeem the bad.

The Bad: 1. Fairly inconsistent continuity, with Ariel's sisters arranged a little differently by age compared to the original film. 2. Flounder was really annoying, unlike in the original film where he was a likable and awesome character. 3. Marina Del Rey is a very hypocritical villain, therefore making her weak, because she was singing a song twice during the time music was banned in Atlantica, where she was as well.

The Mixed: 1. The soundtrack has some pretty bad songs like Jump in the Line (Shake, Shake, Shake, Senora), which is no Under the Sea. 2. Just One Mistake sung by Marina Del Rey, who sung it under the music ban of Atlantica, being physically there while singing it, which makes her a hypocrite. 3. However, the soundtrack has some good songs like Athena's Song, which had a heartwarming feel to it. 4. I Remember, since we get to hear Ariel's beautiful voice and it made me feel genuinely emotional during the course of the song, becoming the next Part of Your World, the best song in the original The Little Mermaid. But I still think the original The Little Mermaid soundtrack is superior.

The Good: 1. The animation, especially by the standards of direct to video Disney sequels, is really good. 2. It also has a deep and enthralling story about Ariel's past, especially with her mother, Athena, involved, which we did not see in the original film, has a lot of heartwarming and genuinely sad moments, as well as a fresh story. 3. We get to know a little more about Ariel's sisters, since they did not have a lot of screen time in the original The Little Mermaid. 4. The voice acting is singular, with Jodi Benson reprising the role of Ariel, and did a good job, as well as Samuel E. Wright reprising Sebastian, which are the only stars from the original to return to this film with other voices include Sally Field (Marina Del Rey), Jim Cummings (King Triton and Shellbow), Kari Wahlgren (Attina), Jennifer Hale (Alana), Grey DeLisle (Aquata and Arista), Tara Strong (Adella and Adrina), Jeff Bennett (Benjamin and swordfish guards), Andrea Robinson and Lorelei Hill Butters (Queen Athena, singing and speaking voice respectively), Rob Paulsen (Ink Spot and Swifty) and Kevin Michael Richardson (Cheeks and Ray-Ray), all do a pretty good job in this film, except Parker Goris, who voiced Flounder, who has a really annoying voice. This might come as a shock to many of you people, but I think that the voice acting here is much better than the English-language versions of Japanese animation, especially Studio Ghibli. Why? Because since this is an American animated film, where English is the original language, being a direct to video film keeps it true to its identity. Also, dubbed versions are highly institutionalised versions of any movie, which is a bad thing, since the original version, which is true to its identity, with subtitles, gives any movie, theatrical and direct to video, has international cohesion to it, which is a good thing. But I digress. The voice acting in this film is really good, that is the major point. 5. We get to reunite with the main protagonist we all know and love called Ariel, which is why this film is superior to The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, since Melody was a terrible character, as well as a highly infantilised version of Ariel, both in terms of appearance and personality.

Now, since I reviewed a direct-to-video Disney sequel, some people might think I am beating a dead horse on the subject. I think that haters who review the sequels are beating a dead horse since they still lambaste them, but DisneyToon Stuidos stopped making them seven years ago.

Overall, this is a pretty good prequel. It is not the best prequel I have ever seen, but it is not the worst one either.
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