14. The Little Mermaid
If you’re more in the mood for some mermaids, The Little Mermaid is where it’s at! True love, a fabulous witch-y villain, awesome sidekicks, and magic. What more could you want? Since the film came out in 1989, it has been an instant classic.
The movie follows Ariel, a 16-year-old mermaid princess who feels stuck in her world underwater. She wants to know what it’s like to be a human who can walk around on land. She even collects all the human things she can find that fall into the water.
The only friends she seems to have are a fish, Flounder, and a crab, Sebastian who also happens to serve her father, King Triton. But with contact between mermaids and humans forbidden, it seems impossible that she’ll get her wish to see what it’s like beyond the water.
She gets very close to her wish when a storm hits and a shipwreck sends Prince Eric into the ocean. Ariel saves him, but leaves as soon as he regains consciousness. But Eric becomes obsessed with her and her voice and vows to find her.
Once her father finds out about Eric, he destroys all her human artifacts and that’s when she goes to see Ursula to see how she can make it on land to see Eric again. But that comes with a price. She must give Ursula her voice in exchange for legs.
Additionally, if Eric kisses her, she can keep her legs forever. Ariel agrees and Eric quickly finds her. Although Ariel gives him plenty of opportunities and there is even a whole song about it, but every time she tries to get him to kiss, she is thwarted.
Then Ursula decides to put herself in the way and disguises herself as a beautiful woman, using Ariel’s voice to lure Eric to her. Ariel figures out what’s going on and gets her voice back, but she’s too late and turns back into a mermaid.
Ursula then kidnaps her. but her father and Eric come to her rescue. And…you know what happens next: they live happily ever after.
While The Little Mermaid may not have the best lesson for girls about giving up their voice for a guy and also has the insta-love trope Disney seemed to love at this time, it’s still a fun film with great music. I used to listen to Part of Your World on repeat on my Walkman when I was little.