Disney mocked for ‘woke-a-thon’ $250 million Little Mermaid live-action reboot, featuring drag queen witch
Disney is under fire for “wokery” slipping into its live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, which is expected to bring in $100 million for the company, despite mixed reviews this Memorial Day weekend.
Critics and audiences have given the reboot of the 1989 animated classic “average” and “unfavorable” reviews on the review site Metacritic. Some bash the makers’ attempts to update the film to contemporary social mores.
Detractors have focused on changes to the plot and lyrics that play with sex, ethnicity and cultural values to make the 125-minute remake fit Disney’s progressive politics.
Scuttle, a male seagull in the original, has become a female gannet. Halle Bailey delivers a breathtaking performance as Ariel, but critics question the decision to switch to a mixed family of mermaids and mermen.
Halle Bailey has been widely praised for her performance as Ariel, but critics have questioned the decision to opt for a mixed family of mermaids and mermen.
Melissa McCarthy, who plays villainous sea witch Ursula, says the character was inspired by drag queens, including 1970s movie icon Divine
In the new version, King Triton, played by Javier Bardem, has developed environmentalist tendencies, complaining that humans are polluting the oceans and destroying his undersea kingdom of Atlantica.
Melissa McCarthy, who plays the villainous sea witch Ursula in the remake, has said her performance was influenced by drag queens — cross-dressing male comics who have become a lightning rod for America’s culture wars.
McCarthy’s inspiration may be consistent with the original, as the original Ursula was based on famed drag performer Divine, who appeared in films from the 1960s to the 1980s.
“I hope I can make every incredible drag queen proud,” McCarthy told Deadline.
Tweaks to the original lyrics also raise eyebrows.
The song ‘Kiss the Girl’, sung by Sebastian the crab, in which Prince Eric hugs Ariel, has been rewritten so that the royal family gets affirmative approval before he puckers up his lips.
In the 1989 version, the crab sang, “Maybe she wants you too/There’s a way to ask her/It doesn’t take a word, not a single word/Go ahead and kiss the girl.”
However, the 2023 version has been updated for the #MeToo era.
“Maybe she wants you too/Use your words, boy, and ask her,” reads the new version.
Fans are divided on the changes – some say it’s a reasonable update to fit changing attitudes, others say it’s unnecessary.
Some conservative viewers have said the final product is horrifying and unwatchable.
Still, right-wing film critic Christian Toto of the Hollywood in Toto website said it wasn’t the full-on “woke-a-thon” some had feared.
Sebastian the crab’s lyrics were changed in the remake, to remind Prince Eric to get Ariel’s permission before kissing her
The film premiered this week amid a row over wakery between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (right), who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination
King Triton, played by Javier Bardem, has developed environmentalist tendencies and laments humanity’s pollution of his undersea kingdom of Atlantica
“The lead up to the movie’s release suggested another Disney awakening, but the movie doesn’t fit that description,” Toto said. The Washington Times.
“Halle Bailey’s color-blind casting drew quite a few critics, but she boasts a beautiful voice and pleasing screen presence, silencing the doubters.”
Toto said the remake offered a softer version of Disney’s landmark update.
The script “never ceases to lecture us about the patriarchy or other modern ills,” said Toto, and the environmentalism is mild and “gently woven into the fabric of the story.”
The movie premiered Friday as a feud between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, now a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, flared up.
Disney, in court documents filed Thursday, opposed a request by DeSantis in the company’s First Amendment lawsuit against the anti-woke governor.
The feud began last year when the company publicly opposed legislation regarding sexual orientation and gender identity classes in the first grade that critics dubbed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The entertainment giant has often drawn criticism from conservatives, who accuse it and Hollywood in general of foisting progressive rhetoric on the American public.