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  • This Realization Hit Me Hard After Watching Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' Live Action With My Child

    You need to see it at least once because it hits differently.
    by Judy Santiago Aladin .
This Realization Hit Me Hard After Watching Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' Live Action With My Child
  • Since seeing the teaser trailer of the new live-adaptation of Disney's The Little Mermaid last year, I knew I had to see it on the big screen with my strong-willed three-year-old daughter.

    Watching it on its premiere night was a treat, with a Sea Princess Magical Ball no less. It was her first-ever movie experience, so she went dressed as Princess Anna of Arendelle, and I was a bit anxious about how she would handle the allowed 2-hour, 15-minute long screen time.


    Armed with cupcakes, lots of sour cream popcorn, and blue lemonade, we left the Above World for a while and took a deep dive into the magical underwater world of Ariel. And I must say, what a dive it was.

    'The Little Mermaid' (2023) Live Action Movie Review

    1. It's as magical as you hope it to be

    As someone who needs to read subtitles to understand a movie, I was worried that my active and vocal child would have many questions, and I wouldn't be able to answer them since she had recently watched the animated version of 'The Little Mermaid' on Disney Plus with her dad. I wasn't part of their discussion since they watched it while I was having some me-time *ehem watching the BSB concert.* However, I didn't expect the movie to be as smooth and entertaining as I had imagined.


    It was faithful to my "mom brain's" recollection of the original movie that I had seen as a kid.

    Halle Bailey was perfect for her role, and I believe the casting and production design for the entire movie was spot on. From King Triton to Ursula, to Prince Eric, the characters were amazing. It was faithful to my "mom brain's" recollection of the original movie that I had seen as a kid.

    2. It will make you dance in the cinema!

    There was never a dull moment once we splashed into King Triton's territory. Seated comfortably on a booster seat provided by Ayala Malls Cinemas, my daughter paid full attention. Her eyes were glued to the screen the entire time.

    I was surprised that Ayala Malls Cinemas provides booster seats for kids so they can watch comfortably and like a princess! 

    The transitions from one song to another were perfectly timed, and we particularly loved Sebastian's performance of "Under The Sea," and of course, "Kiss The Girl." It took me back to my childhood days, but it was even more magical because my daughter was dancing to the familiar tune with me.

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    3. It will touch (and break) your heart

    While watching the movie, this thought lingered in the back of my mind: how would I justify Ariel's disobedience to her father, her longing to be in the Above World after falling in love at first sight with a man? It just didn't sit right, did it? Well, I believe the movie explained it very well.

    I watched with my colleague Cherrie JulianSmart Parenting's video producer, and after the last scene, I saw her eyes well up. She told me, "Why does this movie hit differently now that I'm a parent compared to when I watched it as a child?" I totally agreed with her, and it was the last scene with King Triton that made us both emotional. He said something like this to Ariel, "You didn't have to lose your voice to be heard. Now, I am listening. We're all here. All of us are."


    Then it dawned on me that Ariel wasn't a brat for wanting to leave what she had at the expense of experiencing the other world; it was her innate curiosity as a young mermaid that drew her to it. Her dad's response, which wasn't gentle at all because it involved his Trident, didn't help calm her or convince her to stay.

    It was only when King Triton finally stopped, listened, and understood his daughter when they found a compromise. Although it would be painful for both of them, it was what they were meant to do. Excuse me while I grab some tissues.

    4. It will change you, stat

    If you're watching the movie with your kids, make sure to set everything aside and be present with them. Did my toddler notice Ariel and Prince Eric trying to kiss after only two days of knowing each other? I explained that sometimes people fall in love like that. While I can only explain so much to my child, such as Ariel's relationship with her father, I realized that if our relationship is driven by fear and lacks open communication, we won't be able to truly understand each other.

    Parenting is leadership, and followers don't just do what their leaders tell them; they become what they see in their leader.

    I also learned that if I hover over my child so much that she no longer sees herself as a separate individual, neither of us will be truly happy. I have to accept the fact that she may make some wrong decisions in the future.

    What The Little Mermaid made me realize as a parent

    As a parent, my role is to support her always. My power lies in choosing how to keep her safe and not hurt her. My influence in her life isn't just as her parent, but as someone she sees every day.

    Parenting is leadership, and followers don't just do what their leaders tell them; they become what they see in their leader.

    There is no perfect parent, not even King Triton. 

    So if you shout at them, expect that they will shout at others. If you hurt them, they will hurt others. But if you love them, they will love you.

    There is no perfect parent, not even King Triton. We must understand that our children are unique individuals. Some children are tidy and obedient, while others are a bit all over the place. Either way, they deserve the best of us.

    Our little princesses!

    So when you watch the movie with your kids, let it remind you that the story is more than just a mermaid wanting to cross borders for the sake of true love. It's also about a parent allowing their child to become the person they're meant to be, without shaming or expecting gratitude for the life that lies ahead of them.

    My 3-year-old daughter's review when we got home. For sure, it's King Triton with his daughters. 

    Ayala Malls is hosting the Princess Sea Adventure Party happening on May 27, 1:00PM, across all its 23 malls. To participate, families can purchase the Sea Princess Adventure Party bundle. Tickets are now on sale at all Ayala Malls Cinemas, Zing app, or SureSeats.com

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