ABC's Not-Exactly-Live 'Little Mermaid' Draws Mixed Reviews

More than anything else, ABC's sort-of-live version of The Little Mermaid was a marketing vehicle for parent company Disney. But as an entertainment spectacle, it fell short, at least according to one reviewer. Read on for details.

Via The Hollywood Reporter.

To honor the 30th anniversary of The Little Mermaid, Disney's classic reimagining of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale that does not end with the protagonist's suicide, ABC promised audiences a nostalgic mixed-media live spectacular. Part glitzy musical production, part tribute to the animated film, this two-hour live celebratory event was touted as a revolutionary "hybrid format" meant to both capture the magic of the original and highlight the joy of new artistry.

But reader, this was no "hybrid format" — this was a classic bait-and-switch.

ABC marketing hyped The Little Mermaid Live! as a showcase featuring the talents of ingenue Auli'i Cravalho (Moana) and icon Queen Latifah (Hairspray). But as far as I can tell, most of the airtime was spent broadcasting the dialogue sequences (aka story) from the original film and sprinkling in a few semi-live songs from the soundtrack and its 2007 Broadway musical adaptation. Thus, audiences were deprived of any dramatic performances from the cast, treated instead to what ostensibly amounted to a concert that relied heavily on background video and brief celebrity cameos. It was a deflating experience.

ABC knew exactly how much you didn't care about the boring animated parts, because onscreen text kept popping up to remind you how much time was left until another live performance was set to air. In other words, these countdowns told you how many more minutes you could screw around on social media before something interesting happened again.

Get the rest of the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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