Little Mermaid Live-Action Film's Song Lyrics Tweaks Fail to Impress Fans
When words to some of the songs from the animated film The Little Mermaid were adapted for the modern live-action version of the movie, it’s fair to say that some fans were less than impressed.
Alan Menken, who composed the original songs and worked with Lin Manuel Miranda on the revised versions, told Vanity Fair 'There are some lyric changes in "Kiss the Girl" because people have gotten very sensitive about the idea that [Prince Eric] would, in any way, force himself on [Ariel]."
He also described how there are 'some revisions in "Poor Unfortunate Souls" regarding lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn't speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice.'
And Reddit users were straight on the platform to give their views on the issue. "I’m sorry but this rationale is stupid" wrote one, adding the lines are sung by a "very clear and established villain."
The line which originally went "The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber, they think a girl who gossips is a bore, yet on land, it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word," the Redditor said, was being used by Ursula in a clear attempt to steal her voice. The implication being that it was, therefore, supposed to be a lie and never intended to make young girls believe it was true.
Another user agreed saying, "[...] no one wrote it so girls would pick up relationship advice from URSULA." Which is a good point. Regardless of their age, surely viewers are supposed to spot the deception and will the little mermaid not to give up her voice.
And isn’t the whole point of Disney villains that it’s instantly clear they’re the bad guys? It’s this glaringly obvious fact that makes children look out for the signs. And yes, we know there are some issues here surrounding image, but that’s a different argument; and one that’s more valid.
Another user made a very interesting point, saying "we've reached a point where some viewers will now conflate a villain's motives/beliefs with the endorsement of the writer/publisher/studio." Which raises the question of whether it really is viewers who are interpreting things in this way, or just the studios taking action out of fear that they might.
Certainly, the comments in this Reddit thread suggest a substantial amount of viewers don’t feel the need for such changes.