Little Mermaid [1989]

From the moment that Prince Eric's ship emerged from the fog in the opening credits it was apparent that Disney had somehow, suddenly recaptured that "magic" that had been dormant for thirty years. In the tale of a headstrong young mermaid who yearns to "spend a day, warm on the sand," Ariel trades her voice to Ursula, the Sea Witch (classically voiced by Pat Carroll), for a pair of legs. Ariel can only succeed if she receives true love's kiss in a few day's time and she needs all the help she can from a singing crab named Sebastian, a loudmouth seagull, and a flounder. The lyrics and music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are top form: witty and relevant, and they advance the story (go on, hum a few bars of "Under the Sea"). Mermaid put animation back on the studio's "to do" list and was responsible for ushering Beauty and the Beast to theaters. A modern Disney classic. --Keith Simanton

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