The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea Review

Ariel: Until Morgana is found, Melody can’t go into the sea. And neither will I.

Beware: Spoilers may follow.

Disney sequels even at their best are never given much credit among Disney movies. Sadly this movie does nothing to refute that idea. It has an interesting premise but sadly proves to be extremely cookie-cutter and downright a rehash of the original.

The story is that Ariel and Eric have given birth to a little girl named Melody. She’s taken out to sea to be introduced to her aunts and her grandfather the latter of whom gives her a locket with a hologram of Atlantica. However, Ursula’s vengeful sister Morgana abducts her and threatens to kill Melody unless Triton hands over his trident. While they defeat her she vows revenge. Ariel and  Eric fearing Morgana’s wrath decide to cut off all contact with the sea world, tell Melody nothing of her sea lineage, throw the locket into the water and build a giant wall between the land and the sea. 12 years later Melody finds herself drawn towards the sea and eventually finds the locket. Upon finding her name on it she asks her mother for answers. When Ariel refuses to tell anything she runs away. Morgana eventually finds her and offers to turn her into a mermaid. However she tells her that she only can keep her as one temporarily without Triton’s trident, which she claims, Triton stole. Thus Melody sets out to go find it. Meanwhile, Ariel turns back into a mermaid to search for her daughter while Eric leads his own search on land.

The problem with the story lies in the fact that it rehashes a lot more from its predecessor than it should. And a lot of it just feels like the characters are going through the motions. That is to say, it doesn’t feel like something the characters would do as much as something that the story demands and it often makes them look selfish or foolish. The idea of her being a human longing to be a mermaid is not a bad idea but one that is lazily done.

Ariel’s decision in how she chooses to protect daughter is probably one of the more incredulous choices in the movie. While it’s clear they’re trying to establish that with her being a mother she feels the need to make more responsible choices it doesn’t feel like something Ariel would do. There’s no real shift of from the carefree headstrong woman to the person she is throughout the movie. On top of that, it feels completely out of character for Ariel to not tell her daughter anything about her life in the sea especially when they make it so that Melody would be more drawn towards it. With Ariel’s father being the king of the sea and having a good hold over its domain it would be rational that he wouldn’t mind taking the occasional day off to spend time with his granddaughter.

Eric has little if any role in this movie at all. After he walks in on the argument between Ariel and Melody which results in Melody storming out of her room he makes no attempt to tend to her.

Melody is another issue with this movie. Tara Strong does give her all in voicing this character and some of her expressions are animated really well. However, her worst actions are in the climax where upon learning that her mother is a mermaid completely betrays her mother and dooms the entire sea world to Morgana without a second thought. When she becomes a mermaid and goes throughout the magic of the sea it doesn’t feel genuine. We see her go through it but we aren’t experiencing it.

Morgana is outright a complete rehash of her sister. Not only do the two have near similar designs but also they got back the same voice actress for her. The one thing she does have over Ursula is that she did hold the trident longer than her and in the climax was able to make far greater use of it.

The new side characters Pip and Dash aren’t very memorable. They are pretty much underwater versions of Timon and Pumba from The Lion King and they don’t appear until the last third. If you were to cut them out the movie would not lose anything. Morgana’s shark Undertow occasionally gets a laugh and that primarily comes from Clancy Brown’s voice acting, which does have good comedic timing.

The songs outside of the opening number are also extremely forgettable. Even with the best singing effort put in by the voice actors they cannot save the bland lyrics that engulf them.

The Little Mermaid 2 that has a decent premise and good potential but sadly none of that potential is capitalized upon even by straight-to-video standards. With the movie being pretty much near the same as the first minus the prince this is a sequel that will keep you out of the sea for a long time.