Disney's The Little Mermaid: 4 key differences between the animated and live-action versions

Disney, The Little Mermaid
Disney, The Little Mermaid / Don Arnold/GettyImages
1 of 4

If you have yet to see Disney's live-action version of The Little Mermaid, then I must warn you to stop reading. How can there be spoilers for what is essentially a remake of a movie that was released nearly 35 years ago? Although the animated version of The Little Mermaid was released in 1989, there are some vast differences between the two adaptations. Obviously, the main storyline is based on the same premise, but there are four major differences between the original and the new version Disney released on May 26, 2023.

Before we get into those four differences, I need to point out that I am not going to include the obvious. Clearly, Disney made some "casting" changes to key roles in the movie. Halle Bailey did a phenomenal job portraying Ariel. Her voice throughout the movie was fantastic and even caught the attention of our three-year-old daughter enough to keep her mostly focused for two hours and 15 minutes — fruit snacks and juice were the other key factors to her sitting for that long.

First Major Difference in Disney's The Little Mermaid: Scuttle

Speaking of casting changes, Disney made two changes to the character known as Scuttle. Scuttle is a male seagull in the animated film. He is the "know-it-all" bird who helps Ariel understand all of the human treasures she finds among the shipwrecks on the ocean floor.

However, Disney not only made Scuttle a female character (voiced by Awkwafina) in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid but also changed her from a seagull to a diving bird known as a gannet. According to the American Bird Conservatory, a gannet can dive 70 feet below the surface and remain submerged for up to 30 seconds. Disney may have exaggerated Scuttle's ability to remain underwater for as long as she does at one point in the movie, but let's remember these are fictional characters. Birds, fish and crabs cannot talk, sing or dance either.