Updated May 28th, 2024 at 18:34 IST

Original Little Mermaid Director Bashes Live Action VFX: Animals In A Zoo Have More Expression

John Musker, in collaboration with Ron Clements, had helmed the original Little Mermaid film back in 1989. The live action reboot was directed by Rob Marshall.

Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid | Image:X
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The Little Mermaid live action film, which released in the month of May last year, was courting controversy right since its casting announcement. The film was led by actress Halle Bailey who essayed the titular role. However, Bailey's African-American background posed as cause for concern for many fans of the original fairytale. Though the film earned good numbers at the box office, entering the list of 2023's top 10 highest grossers from Hollywood - the controversy overpowered the triumph. Now, John Musker, the original Little Mermaid director, too has his own set of criticisms to share.

John Musker is not too happy with The Little Mermaid reboot


John Musker has not one, but several bones to pick with The Little Mermaid reboot team. In a conversation with Spanish outlet El Pais, Musker detailed all that he found wrong with the film. He said, "They didn’t play up the father-daughter story, and that was the heart of the movie, in a way...The crab - you could look at live animals in a zoo and they have more expression, like with The Lion King."

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Continuing to criticise the animation in the film, considering the kind of high-end technology used, Musker pressed on how Disney's primary appeal has always been its animation, which is something he believes they dropped the ball on, this time around. He added, "That’s one of the basic things about Disney, is the appeal. That’s what animation does best."

'We Weren't Trying To Be Woke', says John Musker


Speaking about how he and Clements did things differently, Musker shared how being 'woke' was never part of the agenda - having the audience feel involved, very much was. He said, "We weren’t trying to be woke, although I understand the criticism. The classic Disney films didn’t start out trying to have a message. They wanted you to get involved in the characters and the story and the world, and I think that’s still the heart of it."

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The director and animator also subtly pushed forth the idea that a film always does not need to reek of an agenda - definitely not at the cost of character development. Musker went on, "You don’t have to exclude agendas, but you have to first create characters who you sympathize with and who are compelling." Both the original as well as the live action versions of The Little Mermaid are available for streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar.

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Published May 28th, 2024 at 18:34 IST