The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

“The Little Mermaid” trailer receives mixed reviews

For anyone who has grown up a Disney fan, it is always exciting to see any newly crafted pieces of work. With the new technology available, the magical world of Walt Disney classics can be explored in unimaginable and unique ways. But as of recently, the new change has caused friction and discomfort. 

After four years in the making, the live-action, “The Little Mermaid” film had its first teaser release but critics weren’t satisfied with the sneak peek. The teaser was picked apart from the cinematography, the quality, and most notably the change in Ariel’s race. 

The first time news broke that Halle Bailey, singer, and actress would be cast to play the role of  Ariel was back in 2019. Public responses to this news varied, and these conservations started back up again after the trailer’s release. As the views of the teaser grew, the backlash and hashtag #NotMyAriel were captioned on many posts.  

According to Jon Jackson, a reporter for NewsWeek, the video received over, “1.5 million dislikes on YouTube in the first two days after its release.” The number of dislikes is no longer visible. 

It is not surprising that most of these critics were adults. Kids aren’t outraged by the race change of the mermaid. After all, the original animated film is based on fiction and fantasy. 

Just as much as there was backlash there was also an influx of positive responses to the trailer.

Videos of children reacting excitingly to the anticipated release flooded social media timelines. In particular, many young black children were overjoyed to see another black character represented in a Disney fairytale. 

A TikTok video by user @nickyknackpaddwack captured the true surprise and joy of a little girl’s reaction.  She shouted, “Mommy! She’s brown like me.”

Students were also able to get a glimpse of the teaser. Deja Crockett, a biology major at Sonoma State University said, “My initial reaction was to play it again to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I was overcome with so many emotions at once and I didn’t know how to react.”

Crockett later said,“ I feel like it has a big cultural impact amongst the black community. It is inspiring and gives joy to little black girls around the world. I definitely think Disney made the right decision when making this movie.” 

Although Cassidy Lieberfarb, a junior at SSU, isn’t a big fan of Disney remakes, she explained why she didn’t agree with critics who wanted the race of Ariel to remain the same as the animated version. 

Lieberfarb said, “It’s a story about a mermaid who collects forks and sells their soul to a squid, humanity should not be debating about the accuracy of Ariel’s race. Besides, Halle Bailey started off as a successful singer and has experience acting in Disney shows, she is exactly what you want out of an actress for Ariel.”

The original animated film itself will always be treasured no matter how many remakes are made. But having the live-action be transformed the way it has is groundbreaking on so many levels. It is essential to have stories on Disney that kids of all races can identify with. With the original version of the film being fictional, creative freedom can be expressed and explored. This upcoming version is doing just that for black children everywhere.

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