The Little Mermaid 2 & 3 (Blu-ray)

December 22, 2013 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

In Return to the Sea, the worlds of land and water rejoice at the birth of Melody, the daughter of Eric and Ariel. While most celebrate, the notorious Morgana is offended by the events and is soon banished to remote waters. As the years pass, Ariel tends to be overprotective of Melody, worried about the dangers that could lurk within the sea. But Melody, now almost a teenager, finds herself drawn to the underwater world, much like her mother was drawn to the world above it. This leads to Morgana’s return and her spell to turn Melody into a mermaid. What will become of Melody under the sea and will Ariel ever feel like her family is safe again? In Ariel’s Beginning, we’re taken back in time to when Ariel was just a young mermaid. After the death of his wife, Triton turns undersea life into a dreary existence, with even music outlawed. Ariel soon finds music in a hidden club, where even Sebastian performs. But when an ambitious political rival learns of their involvement in music, it becomes a chance to rise through the ranks. Will music be forever banned and what will become of Ariel and Sebastian?

As The Little Mermaid is the movie that helped revived Disney’s animation department, it was natural to assume sequels would follow. Indeed we have two direct-to-video follow-ups, with both a sequel and a prequel represented. As expected, these aren’t on the same visual and creative level as the original, but both offer up more than solid entertainment. The stories are good, but not as good as the original, though younger viewers won’t mind at all. Watching Ariel’s daughter experience similar situations as her mother is interesting, but most will appreciate the Ariel focused Ariel’s Beginning more. After all, Ariel is a beloved character and having her in the main role is going to delight fans. Both movies sport a nice ensemble of returning characters however, so both are able to have the same atmosphere, which is good news. The animation is not feature quality either, but that is a given and as far as direct-to-video animation goes, these movies look terrific. So perhaps maybe the Disney magic is in lower doses in these two movies, but both still have it, to be sure. So if you’re a fan of Disney or animation in general, or you have young viewers in mind, this double feature of The Little Mermaid’s follow-ups is well recommended.

Video: How’s it look?

Both films are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. As I mentioned above, the animation here isn’t up to Disney’s theatrical standard, but it looks quite good. The level of detail is somewhat limited by the animation’s lack of depth, but this treatment offers a nice step up in terms of refinement. I found the colors to be bright and bold, with no errors to speak of, while contrast is stark and consistent. So while not quite perhaps reference level transfers, these movies look as good as possible, given the somewhat limited animated source.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD 5.1 soundtracks are quite good, thanks mostly to the musical elements of the movies. Those musical scenes provide great presence, as the surrounds really come to life in those moments. The other scenes don’t usually match that level of surround use, but some of the more active segments do provide some punch. No issues crop up with dialogue, as vocals are clear and clean at all times. This release also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The extras from the DVD releases are back, with deleted scenes, sing-a-longs, a storybook, a brief featurette, and the Merbabies animated short.

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