For those who aren't familiar with the movie, it is about a mermaid named Ariel( (Jodi Benson; Enchanted) who dreams of a life out of the water. As one of the daughters of King Triton (Kenneth Mars; Young Frankenstein), she has certain responsibilities - ones she often forgot about much to her father's dismay. When she misses her big concert debut her father decides to have one of her aides look after her so he appoints his court composer, Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright; Dinosaur).
Sebastian follows Ariel and her friend Flounder (Jason Marin; Back to the Future) to her secret cave where she has amassed all kinds of memorabilia from the surface world (where she is strictly forbidden to go). When her father finds out and destroys the cave Ariel runs to Ursula the sea witch (Pat Carroll; Freedom Writers) to trade her voice for legs so she can live on the surface and find the man she fell in love with, Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes; The Brady Bunch Movie). However, when she fails to win Eric's heart (partially because Ursula doesn't play fair), she becomes Ursula's slave forever.
The vocal talents of Benson as the mermaid princess have become iconic and everyone recognizes the famous song, Part of Your World. Comedian Buddy Hackett (It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) also lends his voice to scuttle the bird and Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal) is Louis. The rest of the cast blends well bringing this undersea world to life.
As many consider the film to be "Broadway in cartoons" the music is as well-known as a picture of Ariel herself and Ursula is one of Disney's best villains. As The Little Mermaid merchandise is still sold in stores today it is a testament to how well this story and music has stood the test of time. Every Halloween you can always see at least a few little mermaids roaming the neighborhoods trick or treating.
The 4K version is definitely an upgrade in picture quality from the Blu-ray version. While the scenes under the water seem a little darker and murkier (perhaps on purpose) the land scenes are bright an crisp with a multitude of colors to attack your eye. The Dolby Atmos accentuates the iconic soundtrack well with a full-bodied and robust sound. The crashing of the waves or the sound of the seagulls is so rich you could close your eyes and imagine being at the beach. The extras are mostly housed on the Blu-ray disc with exception of a featurette on the digital download celebrating the 30th anniversary/signature edition. The extras include: Sing-Along Mode, Alan Menken & the Leading Ladies, "What I Want From You Is…Your Voice", Stories From Walt's Office: Gadgets & Gizmos, #TreasuresUntold, DCapella "Part of Your World" Music Video, Deleted Character: Harold The Merman, Under The Scene: The Art Of Live-Action Reference, Howard's Lecture, Audio Commentary With Ron Clements, John Musker and Alan Menke, Classic Bonus Preview, and "Part of Your World": A Look Back.
The Little Mermaid Anniversary/Signature Edition is a worthwhile purchase and a must have for anyone from the ages of three to fifty.