Halle Bailey in the little mermaid

First Reactions for ‘The Little Mermaid’ Universally Agree on What Makes the Movie Work

If you ask any Disney fan about their favorite princess, Ariel is probably high up on the list. She’s a fan favorite for a reason, and movies like The Little Mermaid have meant a lot to fans throughout the years. As someone who loves Ariel most of all, I was obsessed with the new take on Ariel in Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid.

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And who better to bring her to life than the incredible Halle Bailey? Famous for her music, along with her sister Chloe Bailey, Halle Bailey was a perfect choice for our live-action Ariel, and all the first reactions to the movie prove it. For all the other live-action Disney movies, things like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid prove that when you have actual singers take on these classic musical roles, it’s just a different experience for fans.

I saw the film at a New York screening ahead of the press conference, and I shared my own reaction on Twitter—and trust me, my favorite moment in the original animated film was done beautifully in the new movie, and I loved every second of it.

But praise for Bailey’s work was in nearly every first reaction, and rightfully so. There are moments throughout this movie that really just highlight how incredible she is as a singer and an actress and everyone’s praise for her is a result of how she carries this movie so beautifully.

The reactions for the film ranged from critics posting their first thoughts to celebrities who had gone to the premiere, like Kelly Rowland.

And through all the conversation, one thing is clear: Halle Bailey is an absolute star. Because as Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango’s Erik Davis says, she’ll give you chills with her performance.

Halle Bailey’s singing voice is perfection

Halle Bailey in the Little Mermaid
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

All of the first reactions praised Bailey’s approach to Ariel and especially her singing voice. Part of today’s press conference for the movie talked about the shot at the end of “Part of Your World” that you can see in the trailer that has Bailey reaching towards the surface. And the emotion she shares while making “Part of Your World” her own song is truly what makes this version of The Little Mermaid so beautiful.

There’s just something so incredible about Bailey’s take on Ariel that is exactly what this movie needed. We all know the animated Ariel and her dedication to living among the humans, but Bailey’s performance really just makes the live-action movie work, and all the reactions praising her are right!

And none of this is really surprising. The minute fans heard Bailey’s rendition of “Part Of Your World,” we all knew that this was something special.

This is going to be one of those takes on a classic that just stays with audiences, and yes, the updated music from Bailey should and will be on repeat for kids everywhere. So, get excited to see The Little Mermaid in theaters because you won’t want to miss Halle Bailey’s take on Ariel.

(featured image: Giles Keyte/Walt Disney Company)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.