1st Look: “The Little Mermaid” Live Action Trailer – But Not Disney’s

While we wait for Disney to finally get around to its own live action version of The Little Mermaid, this trailer for a movie by the same name has just made its appearance on the internet, to the delight and surprise – and horror – of fans around the globe.

Wait, what? Step off! This isn’t Disney!

We know. But we decided to give it a chance anyway, and here’s the trailer. Use the player control at the upper left to turn off the Krypton Radio stream for the moment while you watch. Dueling sound tracks are not as much fun as you’d think.

Poppy Drayton as Elizabeth, the captive mermaid

The thing about a great many Disney films is that they’re based on old fairy tales. Nobody has a lock on Hans Christian Anderson, and that makes these stories free game for anybody else who wants to try. Few do, though, because they know they’re going to have Disney to contend with down the road, so they have to release first to make sure they have the public’s attention. If you go back to the well, though, you get the original source material and not Disney’s reimagining – so there is no Ariel, no Poseidon, no Flounder – but you do get the foundation for a different story that can be just as much fun.

You also get a lot of competition, because there’s nothing keeping others from doing the same thing. Disney and Unversal are both working on their own live action versions of The Little Mermaid, with Universal’s much further along than Disney’s. Today’s trailer is for a finished version that comes from Conglomerate Media / Kingsway Productions, and  stars Downton Abbey‘s Poppy Drayton as Elizabeth – not Ariel.

This movie follows young Elle (Guardians of Oz‘s Loreto Peralta) and her older brother Cam (The Chronicles of Narnia‘s William Moseley) investigating the myth of the mermaid in the Mississippi Delta. When they find the mermaid Elizabeth trapped with a travelling circus, both Elle and Cam resolve to free her so she can choose her own destiny on land or in the sea. It’s a little on point with their villian, who is a genuine moustache-twirling carpet bagger (apparently the writers didn’t realize how much of a cliché this really is).

Releasing first, and not having to slavishly adhere to the Disney version of the story, lets the creators of this film explore the fantasy elements in a new way, unrestrained by what’s come before. If you’re expecting Ariel, wait for the Disney film, but you’re going to have to accept this film without Disney’s baggage, and on its own terms. Of course, they’re no truer to the original fairy tale than Disney was with their hit animated film, but it does look like silly, not-to-be-taken-seriously, sentimental lovely fun.

This version of The Little Mermaid stars Poppy Drayton, Gina Gershon and William Mosely, and releases sometime in 2017 – there is no release date set yet, but we anticipate it will be released sometime in the second half of 2017.

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