DIsney's animation team looked just about washed up (no pun intended) before The Little Mermaid hit theaters in 1989. Before The Little Mermaid, we had "classics" like The Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company. Afterwards, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King. The Little Mermaid was a turning point, reviving Disney's animation studio by grossing almost $110 million at the box office. It was also the last hand-painted Disney film, and the first to use computer animation.
That said, The Little Mermaid is not that great of a movie. The story is simplistic to an extreme, and the animation is extremely crude, a rush job that looks better if you aren't wearing your glasses. But thanks to a spunky heroine with a clamshell brassiere, a menacing villain, singing animals, and some calypso-inspired tunes, The Little Mermaid was a hit with kids and adults. It's certainly not brain food, but give this fish the credit its due: Turning around Disney.
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