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The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning

4.2 out of 5 stars 267 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Every story has a beginning but only one begins under the sea…now for the first time ever discover the story you never knew in The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, an all-new motion picture only on Disney DVD. Long ago, in a kingdom where music is outlawed, King Triton’s youngest daughter, Ariel, discovers her love for music in a secret, underground music club. Torn with the choice of whether to hide her passion or share it with her father and risk losing everything, Ariel sets off on a daring adventure to restore music to Atlantica.

Amazon.com

A prequel to The Little Mermaid, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning is good family entertainment that deserves a spot in every Disney collection--even if the film isn't quite as striking as the original. It's hard to imagine the underwater world of Atlantica without music, but following the death of Ariel's mother Queen Athena, King Triton (Jim Cummings) outlaws music because of the painful memories it evokes. Ariel (Jodi Benson) and her six sisters are unhappy with their boring daily routine, unfeeling governess Marina Del Ray (Sally Field), and superficial relationship with their father; but only Ariel has the courage to confront their father with a desire for a more fulfilling life. A chance meeting with Flounder (Parker Goris) leads Ariel to the underground Catfish music club where the Caribbean jazz is hot and the starred soloist is none other the King's Chief of Staff Sebastian (Samuel Wright). Suddenly, a whole new world full of promise and excitement opens up for Ariel and her sisters, but things get ugly when Marina tells King Triton about the club and his fury erupts. Can the power of music, combined with Ariel's heartfelt pleas, convince King Triton to pardon all the underground music lovers and reconsider his ban on music? Ariel's Beginning is a wholesome story about love, family, and the power of music that's nicely animated and features a host of good music--the only things missing from the first movie are Ariel's innocent sense of wonder and the extreme catchiness of the original songs. Bonus features include two deleted scenes, four sing-along songs with on-screen lyrics; a mermaid discovery game in which viewers learn about Ariel and her six sisters; a quiz that matches viewers with the character most like themselves; an interview with director Peggy Holmes, and a look at the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid Under the Sea. (Ages 3 and older) --Tami Horiuchi

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Music video

Product Details

  • Actors: Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Jim Cummings, Sally Field, Parker Goris
  • Directors: Peggy Holmes
  • Writers: Peggy Holmes, Evan Spiliotopoulos, Jenny Wingfield, Jule Selbo, Rich Burns
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Spanish, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XUOIQO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,627 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I'm not sure why a number of people have chosen to review or bash a movie that they've never seen, but I for one found this movie to be very well done. Is it worthy of a big screen release? Not necessarily; it is a low-key story, but nonetheless, a VAST improvement over some of Disney's previous direct-to-dvd movies. The story is a prequel to "The Little Mermaid (Two-Disc Platinum Edition)," and explains how King Triton banned music in his kingdom when his wife was killed. We learn how Sebastian became the music conductor for King Triton, and how Ariel & Flounder met. Naturally, it is the full-of-life Ariel who helps bring music back to her father's life. Although the villain is not as fun and nasty as the legendary Ursula, Marina Del Rey (ably voiced by Sally Field) is plenty of fun as the evil governess for King Triton's daughter. Not content to be a governess, she plots to usurp Sebastian's position, even if it means getting rid of Ariel. The one odd character in the movie is Marina's sidekick, Benjamin. His style of animation looks like something out of Barney. It is particularly jarring since the animation on this film is SOOOO good! It does not look like your typical straight-to-dvd release; in fact, I would go so far as to say that it is on par with the original feature. Jodi Benson returns as the voice of Ariel. In both singing and acting, she is fantastic and totally believeable as the songstress under the sea. As Sebastian, Samuel E. Wright returns...who else could voice this classic animated character? There are seven musical numbers in the film, and the fact that it was directed by a choreographer (Peggy Holmes) is a plus.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
"Ariel's Beginning" is a fun animated feature that had my 3.5 year old daughter asking for more. The story is the prequel to The Little Mermaid - it tells the story of how King Triton lost his beloved wife Athena in an accident [back when Ariel and her sisters were little] and thus banned music and all forms of gaiety in his kingdom, living in seclusion and with darkness within his heart. When the pirncesses grow up, they all chafe against the restrictions imposed by King Triton, especially Ariel who, like her mother, loves music and singing. Ariel starts to dabble in music secretly, much to her father's anger and finally runs away with Sebastian in tow, until Triton realises his folly.

It is in this movie that we find out how Ariel meets and befriends Flounder, and how Sebastian becomes the music conductor in Triton's court. There is also a villain in the form of nanny, Marina del Rey, though she is not as scary or menacing as Ursula, the sea witch in The Little Mermaid.

Ok, it is not as enchanting as The Little Mermaid, but all in all, I thought it was a decent effort by Disney, considering some of the other animated features out there.

The songs in this feature are not as catchy as in The Little Mermaid, but they are still pleasing and fun. The songs here are: I Remember, I Will Sing, Athena's Song,Just One Mistake,Jump In The Line [Shake, Senora], and Man Smart, Woman Smarter.
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Format: DVD
In the long-standing tradition of direct-to-video sequels, ARIEL'S BEGINNING continues the story of a beloved character without really adding anything new. The music is OK, but doesn't come close to the brilliant exuberance of the original (it's telling that the most inspired musical number, "Jump in the Line," was NOT written for the movie). Likewise, the animation is well-done, but pales in comparison to the theatrically-released original.

Still, young children may find enough to like about the antics of Ariel and her sisters. As sequels go, it nowhere near as awful as The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, but falls short of even the studio's less-celebrated theatrical releases like Home on the Range.

A brief behind-the-scenes peak at Broadway's "The Little Mermaid", a couple of deleted scenes, a profile of the film's director, and the requisite DVD game round out the bonus features.

If you're a completist, or have young children who love The Little Mermaid, this is not a bad addition to your Disney DVD collection.
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Format: DVD
This is a big summer for me, because my two tippy-top favorite Disney girls, Ariel and Tink (despite the fact that I really go for the Alice and Wendy performers the most at the theme parks), are getting very special DVD releases; direct-to-video prequels, to be specific. The first is out now, sometimes referred to as The Little Mermaid 3, but released as "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning".

The plot of this all new, thankfully traditionally animated feature (unlike the upcoming Tinker Bell CGI movie, though that one still looks good), involves King Triton's tragic loss of Ariel's mother, Queen Athena (And yes, we do see Athena in the film, and she looks more like Ariel than one would probably have imagined), and the way the entire kingdom is soon forced to suffer as he does. King Triton places a ban on all music in the kingdom of Atlantica, because music reminds him of his lost beloved, and this results in ten years of boredom and misery for Triton's subjects and his own seven lovely daughters. After that flashback, narrated by Sebastian the crab, we catch up with Triton and his family sometime during Ariel's fifteenth year, when an encounter with a new fish friend named Flounder leads her to discover a secret, underground club in which music is played and celebrated nightly. Ariel's curious and excitable sisters soon join her on her visits to the secret club, and this is their undoing. For their governess, the scheming Marina Del Ray, is out to get Sebastian's job, and that means she's out to get Sebastian, who just happens to be the illegal, musical nightclub proprietor and head entertainer.
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