While the new live-action remake of The Little Mermaid looks to largely follow the blueprint of the 1989 animated original film, we do there will be a few differences. While the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel is the one that has made the most headlines, among everything we know about The Little Mermaid is the fact that the film will include a few new songs and that some of The Little Mermaid’s original songs will have their lyrics changed. While there has been some backlash to this, the original Mermaid Jodi Benson fully supports the changes.
Not everybody was thrilled when it was revealed that “Kiss the Girl” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls” will see some minor lyrical changes in the new version of The Little Mermaid. For many, changes to the words written by the great Howard Ashman in the upcoming Disney movie border on sacrilege. However, original Ariel voice Jodi Benson tells People that updating the lyrics to a modern audience was ultimately necessary. She explained…
When you look at our film, we started in the studio in 1986 and we were released in 1989. Times change, people change, cultures change. What matters and what is important changes. And, as a studio, we need to make those adjustments, and we need to take into consideration what's going on around us. We need to be aware.
The question of how Ariel could give consent to Prince Eric without her voice is a question that has been raised by fans of critics of the original Little Mermaid in the years since the original movie’s release. The new movie addresses this question by changing a single line in the song "Kiss the Girl."
In the end, it’s clear that Jodi Benson doesn’t see the changes in the film as significant. By making a few very small changes the movie is able to better represent the modern audience and the current generation. She continued…
I do feel all of the nuances and small, slight changes here and there are very important. It's very important to address what's going on right now in our world and to make it effective for our period of time, where we are right now in this generation.
The new Little Mermaid certainly isn’t the only of the Disney remakes to make these sorts of minor changes. Most of the Disney Renaissance movies, have stayed close to their predecessors and only made minor tweaks to the story. On the one hand, they may seem so small as to be pointless, and therefore not worth making. At the same time, because they’re so minor, they don’t really change things, so fans looking for the Little Mermaid story they know and love are still going to get that. And for some, these changes may help make the new Little Mermaid the one they return to in the future.