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3.7 out of 5 stars
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea [Special Edition]
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77 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2000
Before I saw this movie, I knew it wasn't going to measure up to the original movie so I didn't have high expectations. This is probably why I ended up liking the movie to a certain degree instead of being completely disappointed.
It's basically the same plot as the first movie - Ursula's sister wants to rule the sea and uses Melody's desire to become a mermaid to her advantage. While the movie is predictable, there were certain parts that gave me a warm glow. It was nice to see Ariel change from her proper-and-prim attire and return to the sea as a mermaid. There's a nice duet between Ariel and Melody about "sharing one moment" in time. It almost captures Ariel's original wistfulness and longing. Prince Eric, as usual, isn't capable of saving the day or even himself. Sebastin's schtick seems to be old to the point where his whining can be grating. However, on the plus side, there are two new song-and-dance characters which serve as a comic relief to detract from the predictable plot.
I recommend renting this movie first before making a purchase. I got the DVD as a belated wedding present and I'm glad I have it, but I can't honestly say I'd have personally bought it myself - not without a huge markdown in the price. Keep in mind that while it's not the greatest movie ever, it's not exactly bottom-of-the-barrel either.
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79 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2000
The Little Mermaid revisited more than 10 years later....Ariel has a daughter, Melody, who has no knowledge of her mom's mermaid ancestry. Melody yearns for the sea in the same way that her mom longed for land. This eventually leads to a new flip side version of the original "Little Mermaid" when Morgana (the just as evil but thinner sister of Ursula - both voiced by the deliciously whiskey voiced Pat Carroll) hatches a sheme to enchant Melody into a mermaid as revenge against Ariel....
Surprisingly, this made for video sequel is not too bad. It helps that many pf the original actors came back to reprise their roles. A good sequel, especially for the younger set.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Having been a fan of the original Little Mermaid for years, and having two children who are big fans, our household couldn't wait for the release of this sequel. We weren't let down. I admit I was somewhat apprehensive after the Lion King 2 sequel, which was much more frightening than the original, but as my 2 1/2 year old said after watching this movie "it didn't scare me!", so I was quite relieved. The kids absolutely loved the movie and were glued to the screen. They've watched it twice in the span of about 20 hours now.
The 4 star rating is somewhat misleading, as on its own, it would probably be a 5 star movie. The reason I could only give 4 stars is that I couldn't help but compare it to the original, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who will do so. That said, the movie was quite good, although not quite up to the standards of the original. The music was somewhat repetitive, and not as gripping as the original, but was still entertaining. Sebastian, as always, was a treat, and the new characters introduced mesh quite nicely with the existing cast.
The DVD extras include a trivia game, animated storybook, and an 8-minute short cartoon "Merbabies", which my children loved.
In summary, I would certainly recommend this sequel to anyone who enjoyed the original, as well as all fans of Disney.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2000
Despite the fact that this film started of well enough, it quickly goes downhill. First of all, most of the animation is pathetic compared to that of the original. Secondly, the new characters are trying too hard to be funny, but failing miserably. There is nothing new here, nothing at all. They had ten years to make thus film, you'd think they would take some time with it and come up with something brilliant like with the original. But nowadays, its all about money and not quality. I feel terrible for the people like myself who have waited months for this to come out, and being stuck with THIS...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2003
"The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea" is another piece of proof that Disney is running out of ideas and running out FAST. It's a FAR cry from the original.
The beginning makes absolutely no sense. She is the only person in the kingdom who can hold conversations with crabs and seagulls, yet she never suspects a thing. The other noble children laugh at her supposed klutziness... She's a PRINCESS, for the sake of heaven. At age 12, she is considered an awkward teenager, and to top it off, Sebastian manages to hide for 12 years before Ariel notices him around.
It gets little better when she meets Tip and Dash, who are so reminiscent of Timon and Pumbaa it's not even funny.
The majority of the songs are pointless and ill-placed. They have none of the memorability of the original soundtrack.
Generally, nothing but my love of Max Casella could ever compell me to watch this movie again.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
(as posted on IMDB.com.)
Okay, as a long time Disney fan, I really -hate- direct-to-video Disney sequels. Walt HIMSELF didn't believe in them. He believed in "AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER" being the end of it. But this one...REALLY ticked the taco. There were so many ripoffs of other Disney films in this, it wasn't funny. Quick summary, if you don't already know...: Melody, the daughter of Ariel and Prince Eric, is born. Ursula's sister, Morganna (who basically looks like Ursula, if she were to dye herself green and go on the Ally Macbeal starvation diet) shows up and, after trying to do the newborn tyke in, and failing, prophesizes (sp?) doom for the characters. After that ordeal, Ariel goes into a lapse of being like her father, and refuses to tell Melody about her mermaid heritage, and later on, forbids her to go near the sea. Well surprise surprise. Melody finds out, being the stubborn brat she is, and runs away, then makes a deal with Morgana to become a mermaid, in exchange for something. (Gee does THAT sound familiar?) She becomes one, but in her half of the bargain, has to retrieve her granddaddy's Trident and bring it back to the sea witch. While doing THIS, she runs into a couple of outcast animals, a penguin and a walrus named Timon and Pumb--huh? wait...no! that's not Timon and Pumbaa! or is it? Could of fooled me. Anyway, i'd like to reveal more, but pretty much anything that could be guessed to happen does. OK so...long story short. This movie "borrows" too much from other (better) Disney films...and does it horribly. Come on...Tip and Dash? Why not just make Dash obscenely flatulent and make it an even more obvious ripoff! Ugh. Not to mention, the total character butchery of Ariel's persona. She's gone from being a freespirited, headstrong woman, to a clone of her father. Not good at all...they're basically telling us the sweet, firey little mermaid we've known to grow and love is dead. Plus Melody herself isn't such a great character either...she's damned annoying! And bratty! Not to mention what they've done to Flounder. Ugh...anyway if you decide to see this piece of created-mainly-for-profit-reasons, no-imagination, Eisner-sponsored crapfest, I suggest maybe waiting 'till its on the Disney channel or some other tv station. Because, it's not even worth the price of a rental.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2000
Ever since "Return of Jafar" became a bestselling video, Disney has delighted fans and upset critics by releasing direct-to-video sequels of most of its recent theatrical features. After eleven years, The Little Mermaid gets its own treatment...but this one is actually pretty good. Disney has come a long way from "Jafar" to here, stopping along the way to create the excellent "Simba's Pride". This movie starts awkwardly, and the first few minutes are both cheesy and a complete rip-off of the opening of "Sleeping Beauty". But, if you stay with it, it really does get better. There's actually excitement and at least one or two decent songs. The animation, however, is still very direct-to-video, produced by the Disney TV team rather than the feature film department...but even the characters are looking more three dimensional than previous "cheapies". This one is worth seeing...besides, does it really matter? A true Disney fan would not be without a sequel, even if it was bad. Fortunatly, here, it's not...
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2004
Trying to make a sequel to the masterpiece that is The Little Mermaid was unlikely to work in the first place. The Little Mermaid stands out as one of the greatest animated movies ever, and certainly has some of the best music. This sequel falls short on many levels, especially music, and Melody is a big disappointment to those of us who appreciated how beautiful Ariel was. Melody's story is her mother's in reverse; she wants to be a mermaid, not a human. Morgana is just like Ursula, though she and Undertow the shark/piranha and Cloak/Dagger the manta rays are pretty funny. Ariel is a mother now and a kind of "blah" character. She isn't completely ruined, like Tramp or Simba, because at first she wants to share her past life with her daughter. It's Morgana's threat that causes her to hide Melody from the sea, King Triton, etc., and contain her within walls. Still, she and the Prince act very sterotypically in this movie and lack real character. Sebastian is back, luckily. Titanic Tip the penguin and Daring Dash the walrus--two young wannabe heroes who befriend and assist Melody--are an attempt at an arctic-dwelling Timon and Pumbaa. They're the comic relief and the silliness. Tip is Timon, the little wisecracker, and Dash is Pumbaa, the big, not-too-bright old soft guy. I see the relation here quite clearly. At any rate, this movie isn't too awful to watch on occasion, but do not expect the glory of the original Little Mermaid. I think this story could have been made into a much more decent film, had they left out some of the things that added to its corny/cheesy factor. For instance, how many times do we want to hear a parent say, "You deliberately disobeyed me"? That was ripped right from the Lion King (the only film in which it sounded sincere), and Jungle Book 2 also ripped it straight from there. Aren't there other, less cliche things to say to get the same point across? The ending is also a cliffhanger; Melody uses the trident to disapparate the wall, and everyone--humans and merpeople--join together in song and merriment. But then what? Does Melody choose to remain on land or at sea? We assume on land, but it's unclear. Either way, mysterious fates and endings can be very good, and it's not like most people will care one way or the other about Melody. So on the whole, it's worth seeing IF you enjoy animated movies and the first Little Mermaid, but won't be too touchy about a sequel that doesn't live up. Otherwise, I'd steer clear.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2000
Even though this sequel to the 1989 Disney classic "The Little Mermaid" has many of the same voices as the original (such as Jodi Benson as Ariel and Samuel Wright as Sebastian), it's missing a little something.
Namely, it's missing great animation, a plot that makes sense to adults, and, of course, the classic Menken/Ashman score and songs that made the original such a smash.
The biggest weakness, frankly, is the songs, which display all the creativity and spirit as your average Barbie commercial; come to think of it, maybe that was the goal. The animation also lacks spirit and could easily be from any Saturday morning cartoon; sorry, Disney, that's not why we pay good money to see your product.
It's kind of unfortunate that Disney insists on cheapening its brilliant animated originals (especially this one and "Beauty and the Beast") with lame straight-to-video sequels.
I'm sure the economics of a straight-to-video sequel are compelling, but take the case of the only sequel they didn't handle this way - "Toy Story 2."
Originally, the sequel to "Toy Story" was to be a straight-to-video job as well, but it was decided that it should be produced for theatrical release instead. The result? The film was a massive commercial and critical success, and was better than the original (no small compliment) in many ways.
Maybe the "Toy Story 2" experience will convince Disney to stop the straight-to-video dreck specials like "Little Mermaid 2," but I doubt it.
I guess the good news is that this film is harmless fluff for the kiddies to watch, but I found it telling that after she watched this film, my four-year-old daughter said the original "Mermaid" was far better.
Well said.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2008
This direct-to-video movie was released in 2000, 11 years after the original "Little Mermaid" was embraced by millions of Disney fans in 1989. This sequel is being released in a 1-disc special edition. As others have noted, it is a very similar rehashing of the original tale.

Ariel & Eric are married and have a beautiful dark-haired daughter, Melody. When Ursula's evil sister, Morgana, appears on the scene, King Triton & Ariel must protect Melody by building a large wall around the castle. Forbidding Melody to enter the ocean (thus keeping her away from both Morgana and her grandfather King Triton), Ariel keeps her heritage a secret. Many years later, as a teen, Melody experiences the angst of not fitting in, and wishing she were a mermaid. Morgana seizes the opportunity to exploit Melody's sadness and convinces her to steal her Grandfather's triton stick, which would give Morgana the power over the entire sea. Can you predict the rest? Sure, it's not too difficult. Again, this is an enjoyable film. The animation is not as good as the theatrical original, The Little Mermaid (Two-Disc Platinum Edition), nor as good as the recently released The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Beginning. Still, it is far above what you would typically expect of a direct-to-dvd release. Jodi Benson & Pat Carroll are back on hand to lend their vocal talents to Ariel & Morgana respectively; who else but Carroll could vocalize Ursula's sister? Sebastian and Flounder are also back for comic relief, and there are some new characters as well. Safe for children to watch, although some of the scenes with Morgana may be slightly frightening for the very young ones. Needless to say, these don't last too long!

Technical Specs:
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for audio (movie) & 1:66:1 video enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Extras:

* Deleted Song: "Gonna Get My Wish." Fun musical showcase for Morgana, explaining her quest not to be the forgotten child overshadowed by her late sister Ursula. Really not a bad number; most likely trimmed for time.

* 1938 Silly Symphony Short "Merbabies" (8:34). Fun musical romp under the sea that was obviously a precursor to "Fantasia." Ironically, this Disney short was actually farmed out to another studio. Not quite up to the quality of other Silly Symphonies.

* "Little Mermaid II" DVD Storybook: have the story read to you, or read it yourself. Narrated by Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel).

Games & Activities:

* "The Little Mermaid II" Underwater Mer-Venture Challenge Game

* "Little Mermaid II" Trivia Game

* "What Am I?" Sea Creature Game, where the answers provide brief film clips of actual sea creatures. Fun learning adventure for little ones.

None of these 3 games are really out of the ordinary, but might prove slightly amusing for the little ones.

* Sneak Peaks include upcoming 2009's "The Princess and the Frog." The trailer here does seem very fun and sassy; I have been anxiously awaiting this one ever since it was first announced. The setting is New Orleans during the 1920's Jazz Age, and will mark the first traditionally animated feature since 2004's "Home on the Range."
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