Dissecting the Disquels: The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

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Rating: 4/10

Plot: Ariel and Eric are welcoming their new daughter, Melody, into the world when Ursula’s sister, Morgana, pops up from nowhere to attack the merpeople in an act of revenge for Ursula’s death. She attempts to kidnap the young princess, but is thwarted by King Triton. In an effort to protect Melody from Morgana, she forbids her from ever entering into the ocean again and keeps the merpeople, and subsequently her heritage, a secret from her for years. When Melody grows up with a strong desire to be in the ocean, a familiar rift occurs between mother and daughter, leading Melody to doing something rash in order to get her wish.

Breakdown: How about a story? Once upon a time a younger FiddleTwix went into a Barnes and Noble and spotted two different things; an Nsync CD “No Strings Attached” and The Little Mermaid 2 on VHS. Her mother told her that she could only get one. Being a young and mature brat, she lamented over her decision until she finally bought The Little Mermaid 2. Why? I have no idea.

Another fun fact about me, I never understood what the big to-do was about little girls and The Little Mermaid. It’s like some girl rule, especially if you’re a fangirl of something, that you must adore this movie.

Don’t believe me? A girl friend of mine sprung this question up on me in a Skype conversation with two guy friends. One of the guy friends asked me if I liked the Little Mermaid completely out of the blue. I said ‘not really’ and my girl friend was like “COME ON! How could you not like The Little Mermaid!?” And I responded “I dunno. I was more of a Lion King girl, myself” to which my two guy friends basically virtually high-fived me for.

I never got it. I thought it was a pretty decent movie, but I never watched it more than a couple times. I just couldn’t get into it very much. I watched The Lion King so much that my tape wore out, but I never got into The Little Mermaid. So why did I want the sequel so bad that I’d pass up NFRIGGINSYNC for a copy of it? (No worries, I bought the CD a few weeks later. Jealous? I know you are) Again, I don’t know. I honestly cannot remember my thought process there.

I watched the sequel once, thought little of it and it’s now rotting in a tote full of old tapes in my closet. I must’ve been too busy jammin’ to the Nsync boys to give it a repeat viewing, but that likely gives you a taste of my opinion on it right there.

And with that wonderful rambling, ONTO THE SHOW.

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The premise here is that Ariel has a daughter named Melody. During a presentation ceremony with the merpeople that reminds me a lot of the opening of The Lion King, a seawitch named Morgana shows up and snatches the baby away from her.

Morgana is our villain this time around, and she’s Ursula’s previously never mentioned or shown ‘crazy sister’, as Sebastian describes her. She’s exactly like Ursula in every way, shape and form except she’s insanely thin instead of fat, and she has an inferiority complex. She has an issue with constantly being passed over for Ursula by her mother. Yup, mommy issues with our villain. Yay.

She even has a fish lackey. However, I should mention the important note that Morgana is supposedly less powerful and less masterful with magic than Ursula, as per comments by other characters. Because that creates tension, right? Knowing that she’s less powerful and useful with magic than the original villain was?

She wants revenge on Ariel and King Triton for killing her sister even though, technically, Prince Eric was the one that killed her. Also, if she hated Ursula so much, why is she so bent on avenging her death? Is she really just trying to prove she’s better than her by doing something she couldn’t achieve? Before you can hope that this is about Morgana raising Melody as her own in an evil manner and having her attack her parents for the Trident, Eric and Ariel manage to take Melody back. Morgana escapes into the water and vanishes, and Ariel says that Melody can’t be allowed near the sea until Morgana is caught.

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Fair enough; but she also tells her father that Melody can’t know about merpeople, Atlantica, Morgana or anything like that as well….for no reason. Okay, you were perfectly fine with the stuff about keeping her away from the sea. Morgana would probably kidnap her the first chance that she got. But why not tell her anything about merpeople and Morgana?

So you’re just gonna completely forbid her from even getting near the ocean and never give a good reason as to why besides ‘it’s dangerous’? At least with Triton and Ariel he and Sebastian gave pretty decent reasons to not go on land. And if you told her about Morgana not only would that give her a better reason not to go near the ocean, but that would also give her the knowledge on how to deal with Morgana if she ever came into contact with her.

By now, you’re probably noticing something weird with this movie, and your assumptions are right. Ten minutes into the movie and you can already tell that this is the original movie only in reverse. Now starring Ariel as King Triton and Melody as Ariel. Melody will want to go to the sea, Ariel will constantly forbid her from doing so until she crosses a line, Melody will find Morgana who will offer her the ability to be in the sea via fins and gills in exchange for something, the deal will go sour, Ariel will rescue her, Morgana will get killed or sent to mer-prison, they’ll live happily together in harmony, the end.

Anyway, cut ahead to 12 years later on Melody’s twelfth birthday. We see that a giant wall has been built around the castle to ensure that she never goes near the ocean. So I guess she’s supposed to be trapped in there? The hell? I mean, she has to be for that wall to be effective. I assume she goes to school, and there’s no one preventing her from skipping out to take a dip over there. That’s pretty damn messed up. Either that or the wall is blocking off the entire coast. You can’t really tell from the shot, and in which case, that’s even worse.

Melody is missing and Ariel’s trying to find her to get her ready for the party, but Melody’s, you guessed it, swimming out in the ocean. She’s swimming around finding sea shells with Sebastian, Scuttle and other fishy friends….

So she can’t know about merpeople or Atlantica, but she’s perfectly allowed to talk to every talking fish in the sea, a talking crab and a talking seagull…..That never once struck her as odd?….How did Sebastian explain that without explaining the merpeople? Why is this never discussed?

Along the way she discovers a locket that Triton was going to give her on her presentation day. It was a gold seashell locket with her name engraved in the front that showed a snowglobe-esque magical viewing of Atlantica and merpeople swimming around it. It’s covered in dirt so she can’t see the name on the front. Triton decided to dump it into the ocean instead of keeping it so that he could give it to her when Morgana was found.

I guess he had no faith whatsoever that he’d find her. What is she going to do? Wait around for 12 years doing nothing but waiting for Melody to go into the ocean when she could just make thousands of other better plans for seeking revenge and getting the trident? Pfft right! That’d be silly.

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Melody realizes she has to go back to the party before she gets caught and we see how she’s been getting out into the ocean without her parents’ knowledge. The wall has grates on the bottom to allow some amount of water to come through and there’s a loose bar on it that she moves out of the way…..Wow, shoddy and confusing construction there, guys. You build 50 foot wall all around a castle to keep a 12 year old from swimming and yet you not only have grates to let water in that are more than big enough to sneak through, but one bar is so loose that a 12 year old girl has no problem whatsoever moving it out of the way?

Wow. Someone’s getting a bad Yelp review.

Anyway, Melody sneaks into the castle, bumping into some snobby kids that were invited to her party yet seem to hate her, along the way. We never learn who these kids are or why they hate her, they’re just there to prove that she’s a sea-freak to everyone. She hides her shells and quickly gets dressed, snagging Sebastian in her bow. Ariel tries to have a heart-to-heart with her because she feels like she’s weird, but gets interrupted by Eric telling them that it’s time for the party.

A boy asks Melody to dance and they dance for a while until Sebastian wiggles out of her bow and pinches the boy on the finger, sending him flying through the air and into Melody’s birthday cake. Melody apologizes to the chef and asks if Sebastian is alright, when the brats from before and the boy she was dancing with call her out on talking with fish. Everybody laughs their preteen asses off and the chef realizes that Sebastian was the crab from the last movie and starts chasing him around with a cleaver causing even more chaos and laughter. I’d probably fire/arrest a crazy guy with a cleaver hacking away at everything in sight in a kids’ party, but whatever.

Melody then runs off to her room in embarrassment. We see her crying in the dark as Ariel goes to comfort her daughter. Melody laments in being a weirdo, and grabs the locket from before. She wipes the dirt off and realizes that it says her name on the front. She opens it and sees the magical viewing stuff and says it’s Atlantica with merpeople and wonders what it means since her mother has told her all along that Atlantica was a fairy tale. Ariel is flustered by her questions and instead of biting the bullet and answering them, she just changes the subject to Melody disobeying her by going out into the ocean. She starts yelling at her and Melody runs out of the room.

Eric passes by her and tells Ariel that it may be time to tell her, and Ariel….agrees…..There was going to be a time when you told her?! You said at the beginning that she can never know about that stuff until Morgana was caught and now you’re just deciding to tell her? What was stopping you from telling her beforehand besides the plot said so?! It’s obviously not because you believe she’s mature enough to not go into the water on her own, because she keeps doing it anyway. It really seems like it’s just because you really have no choice now. She’ll never leave you alone on the matter of the locket unless you tell her the truth.

Melody then runs away into the ocean on a small rowboat claiming that she’s going to find out what her parents have been keeping from her all of these years.…

How? You have a locket and a rowboat, kid. That’s it. How the hell do you intend on finding any information that way? Gonna dive into the frigid waters and interview fish until you get a break? Oh wait, you can’t do that because you can’t breathe/talk underwater. Only way you’d get information is if a fish suddenly pops up and offers you the information because 1) He knows who you are and that you’re out there and 2) Has some kind of ulterior motive. Like Morgana’s fish friend whose name constantly escapes me—Oh he did! Hooray!

So yeah, the fish pops up and tells Melody that Morgana can tell her everything that she needs to know about the locket. So, like an idiot, she happily agrees to follow him.

I guess I should mention that we’re thirty minutes in and we’ve only had one song so far and that was the opening. I would’ve at least thought we’d have an “I want” song like “Part of That World” by now. Weird.

We arrive at Morgana’s lair who oddly tells her to get out of the cold despite her lair being covered in icicles. She’s acting all nice-nice and Melody asks her about the locket. Morgana tells her that it has her name on it because it has her destiny in it. She then opens the locket, revealing the same scene of Atlantica. Melody then says “Me? A mermaid? Impossible.”……Kid, you are talking to a woman who is half human half squid, looking into a magic locket that contains a magic snowglobe of an underwater society and merpeople after being taken there by a talking fish. I’m pretty sure “impossible” is out the friggin’ window.

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What’s the matter, Melody? Getting cold feet?

So she gets out a bottle of Ursula’s magic….She bottled her magic? Why? What possible reason could Ursula have for bottling her magic? Moreover, how did Morgana get it? Anyway, Morgana, surprisingly, doesn’t ask for a deal, and just changes her into a mermaid right then. Melody’s all too happy about being a mermaid and doesn’t even think to ask about possible repercussions or conditions of this favor that this complete stranger who looks so much like a villain that she might as well have a neon sign on her face that says “MUAHAHAH” did for her.

We cut to Eric’s ship where Ariel’s speaking to her father about the search for Melody. Eric tells Ariel that she should go into the water and search for her because she knows the waters so well. He’ll continue the search on land….on his boat? Triton then turns Ariel back into a mermaid and everyone’s favorite mermaid is back in action. Hoorah!

Then, 32 minutes in, we finally get a song. Instead of an “I want” song it’s an “I got what I wanted” song. Starting off with the wonderful lyrics “Something something flipper, it’s just like putting my feet into one great big slipper” If becoming a mermaid is like sticking your feet into a big slipper, I’ll pass. Not only would that be miserable on land, it’d probably make you drown underwater. And moving onto other lyrics like “Taking all of the curls right out of my hair!” You have no curls in your hair to take out, Melody. Also, Ariel’s parts in this song are very disjointed. They just seem like they were thrown in there last moment.

The song’s not “bad” per se, but it’s really forgettable. You see how I forgot those lyrics right there? I’m in the middle of listening to the song. That’s how forgettable it is. During the song, however, we see that Ariel has gone to her old fangirl room of collectibles. That’s your first stop while looking for your daughter? Your old hall of junk? You really ARE a fangirl, Ariel. To be fair, it’s to illustrate the fact that she should’ve talked to Melody about her past as a mermaid instead of keeping it a secret and maybe they wouldn’t be in this situation.

Ya know, a lot of people give Ariel a big pass in the first movie for making bad decisions because she was just a teenager, and I get that a bit. Well, what’s the big excuse here? That she’s a first-time parent?

She meets back with Morgana who breaks the shocking news to her that the magic that made her a mermaid is only temporary. Melody is heartbroken and asks if there’s anyway to keep her as a mermaid. Morgana tells her that she could have the magic to make the transformation permanent, but she’d require her Trident.

She tells Melody that she used to have a Trident with great magical powers before someone in Atlantica stole it. If she gets it back, she’ll get to be a mermaid forever. Melody agrees to do it and Morgana gives her a crude map to Atlantica drawn on a slab of ice. She rides a whale and has a difficult time understanding the map. The whale sneezes, which launches her into the air, landing on a small glacier, causing the map to break. She then laments on needing to figure out how to get there. Sorry if that was a bit of an abrupt explanation. The entire scene was really just pointless and took way too long.

It’s here that I get seriously confused. Atlantica can’t be THAT far away from the castle. Ariel used to spy on Eric all the time while easily swimming from Atlantica to there and Ariel was just at her fangirl hut a few minutes ago after just being transformed back near the shores of her castle. That wasn’t that far from Atlantica and yet Melody seems to have been traveling all night and is near the arctic. Where the hell is this girl going, and where was she to begin with?

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We cut to a mother penguin yelling for help. Her baby is on a slab of ice in the middle of the water and is being circled by a shark. Several penguins have gathered together to make a chain from the ice cliff that the mother is standing on to reach the child below, but they’re not long enough. Then we’re introduced to our horrid comic relief, Tip and Dash, which sounds like something a guy would learn while going through puberty.

Tip the penguin and Dash the walrus. They’re an aspiring hero team who couldn’t be more obvious ripoffs of Timon and Pumbaa if they tried. They really just changed their species and made them wannabe superheroes. They even seem to be trying really hard to make Dash sound like Pumbaa.

They gladly jump into the action to help save the baby penguin. Putting the fact that there’s no way in hell a few penguins could withstand the weight of a walrus aside, Tip and Dash climb down the Penguichain to reach the baby, but they freak out and run back up when they see the shark. The resulting hijinks do eventually lead to the baby being flung back to the mother and everyone crashing into the snow.

The penguins all tell Tip and Dash that they suck and we even get this joke; “Some heroes….More like ZEROES! BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Hey guys, be careful with that joke, it’s from the 40’s.

So Melody meets them as they’re having a pity party and asks them to take her to Atlantica. Tip doesn’t want to because Melody admits that she’s really a human under a spell and I guess he doesn’t like humans for some reason, but Dash convinces him to do it.

Then we get a song from Tip and Dash…..okay, half the movie had no songs in it, now we get two songs in 10 minutes one of which is centered around two characters we barely know and just met half a minute ago.

Anyway, the song is basically what I’m assuming is their superhero theme song. Like the other song, it’s horribly forgettable and this one has the added bonus of being completely pointless. I guess they just needed something to fill in the travel time since these characters are awful. Speaking of travel time, they’re doing damn good to go from wherever in the arctic Melody was to Atlantica in the course of a song.

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CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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