The Little Mermaid (DVD, 2006, 2-Disc Set, Platinum Edition)

Buy The Little Mermaid (DVD, 2006, 2-Disc Set, Platinum Edition)
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Fans awaiting a revamp of The Little Mermaid on DVD should be pleased to know that the new, fully restored version gets the treatment it deserved all along. The Special Edition is presented in 1:78 aspect ratio, as opposed to the original 1:66 presentation, and gone is the grainy original transfer, which had Ariel's mottled complexion looking like she spent some time in a tanning bed. Various crew members chime in on the audio commentary track, but most dominant is composer Alan Menken, who adds in previously taped interviews with the late lyricist Howard Ashman (a welcome surprise). There's also a 45-minute "making of" documentary in which everyone from animators to Jeffrey Katzenberg and Leonard Maltin reflect the limp state of Disney animation before Mermaid kicked off its "golden reign" of the early '90s. Another revelation: Katzenberg nearly eliminated "Part of Your World" from the movie after a hyperactive kid sitting in front of him appeared restless during a test screening. Other features: a documentary on Hans Christian Andersen, and the tragedy of his personal life that inspired his much darker original ending. (The mermaid, unable to stab the prince in the heart after he marries another, turns into sea foam.) Included is an animated short of Andersen's "The Little Match Girl," a tale so depressing--again, reflecting the loneliness in Andersen's own life--it's not really clear how it ever became a "beloved bedtime story." There's also a sing-along feature, which jumps right to the musical numbers with words appearing onscreen. Deleted scenes include one unused song, "Silence is Golden," and various early sketches of alternate takes. One curious addition is a virtual Little Mermaid amusement park ride, which was originally proposed for Disneyland but failed to come to life. (Seems digitizing the experience for people to "ride" in their living room was the consolation prize.) The only blasphemous feature is a music video of "Kiss the Girls"

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