A friend pointed out a BBC article where Keira Knightley mentions that some Disney films are banned in her house, particularly The Little Mermaid. “I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello!” I couldn’t agree more.
So I fixed it.
The Little Mermaid (2018)
Ariel, a young mermaid princess, rescues Eric, a human prince, from a shipwreck. Ariel is infatuated, and becomes distracted in her daily life. Her father, King Triton, becomes enraged when he discovers the cause, forbids her from interacting with the human world, and destroys her collection of surface memorabilia.
Since this has never been an effective means of controlling the behavior of any child, Ariel visits the sea witch Ursula, who agrees to make her appear human in exchange for her voice. Ariel has three days to convince Eric to love her, and get the kiss of true love.
[ Some minor edits to the original follow. ]
But Ursula knows what’s really up.
Ariel loves to sing. She loves her voice. But even so, she is willing to give it up for Eric. Eric, a Prince, entitled and privileged and used to casual submission. Ursula knows that the strong-willed Ariel is, in part, fleeing the demand for submission from her father. She knows that Eric will enjoy the voiceless Ariel as much as he was infatuated with her voice. Ursula knows, because she’s lived long enough to have seen it over and over. Ariel has yet to learn.
Ariel washes ashore and is discovered by Eric. Over the next three days, they spend much time together. Ariel finds Eric handsome and charming and… what is this new thing… smarmy? He seems to not mind that Ariel can’t speak; no, he seems to prefer it. He makes a show of not being bothered by her disability and repeatedly tells her how lucky she is to have found such a magnanimous prince. At the beginning of the third day, Eric, infatuated by Ariel’s youth and beauty, tries to kiss her while rowing on the lake at sunrise. This kiss that would make Ariel human forever.
But in that moment Ariel realizes the mistake she made. She takes a deep breath and throws herself over the side of the boat. Swimming down, down, down, desperate to reach the bottom… and Ursula. Feeling angry and betrayed, desperate for help and mercy and revenge, she swims down, cursing her stupid human legs. As the light from the surface begins to fade, so does Ariel’s breath. But she swims further down, until at last she gasps in water and loses consciousness.
She awakes under the sea, in Ursula’s grotto, with both her voice and her tail.
Ursula explains: “Child, your voice is beautiful. It is part of who you are. And yet you were too willing to part with it. If I had not held it safe for you, your father’s domination would have driven you to surrender it to a man. And I could not have that. No man is worthy of you surrendering your voice—especially since they will not stop there. Once they can take your voice, they will demand more. And what they cannot control, they will seek to destroy. Your father knows this. It is why he exiled me and killed your mother, Athena.”
“I know, they told you she was killed by a human ship when you were young. But that’s a lie your father created. Your mother was, like you, fascinated by the world of the surface. She had a collection much like your collection your father destroyed. I’d helped her gather it; we were very close. She had a voice like yours, by the way. She wanted to talk to the humans, to come out of hiding, but your father was afraid. He’s always afraid of what he couldn’t control. Athena asked me to help her figure out how to talk to the humans, to live outside of water, and I was happy to help. She kept pushing Triton to take the chance, but he refused, commanded her to stop. Eventually, she said she was going to talk to them on her own. Frightened and furious, he tried to force her to stay. I don’t know for sure he meant to kill her, but that’s what happened.”
“I see your mother in you I was not going to let your father do to you what he did to her. And I was certainly not going to allow you to give your voice—your mother’s voice—to some man.”
Ariel returns to court, deposes her father, Triton, and rules the kingdom of Atlantica in an unprecedented age of prosperity and progress, with the help of her advisors, Ursula and Sebastian.
Disney is free to use this for the remake. Meanwhile, I’m working on my sequel “The Little Mermaid 2: Deep Water Rising” in which Ariel sends General Uma (Ursula’s daughter from Descendants 2) to the human world to forbid them from traveling on the sea until they get their compulsion for domination under control.