The Little Mermaid was one of the most successful movies that Disney had ever made once it came out and made a splash in the cinema world. The music, animation, story, and lovable characters all joined to create one of the most iconic and well-favored Disney movies ever made.
There's no doubt it's a classic, and marked the beginning of what's known as the Renaissance of Disney, when they started making movies that were actually successful once again. Though the fact is that no movie is perfect, and there are some interesting facts many don't know of, as well as issues with body image and similar problems. Let's talk about some weird things about the Little Mermaid's anatomy.
19 Ariel's Body Was Based Off Of Real Life Alyssa Milano
Alyssa Milano is a pretty well known and popular figure in Hollywood, and she's been in the business for quite a long time now. The anatomy of Ariel from The Little Mermaid is based off of her anatomy and figure, where they imitated her shape and body to animate Ariel's.
18 Her Top Is Made Out Of Her Singing Friends
At the beginning of the movie, there are singing clams that are best friends with Ariel and with Sebastian and with all of the merfolk. This is great and all, but let's not forget what her skimpy top is made out of. Clams. Seems a bit like a plot hole to me. Why would the singing clams be okay with that?
17 Ariel Has An Astronaut's Hair
To animate the look and behavior of hair underwater, the animators of this Disney film relied on footage of the astronaut Sally Ride in weightless conditions, studying how it behaved to realistically animate the beautiful red hair we all know and love. The result is truly stunning.
16 Sherri Stoner Did Live-Action Modeling For Ariel
Sherri Stoner has been involved in a lot of classic animation. She's worked on such famous shows (and movies) as Animaniacs, Tiny Toon Adventures, and even Casper the Friendly Ghost. She also served as an animation reference for Ariel as well as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. What a resume!
15 She Was The First Disney Princess To Show Midriff
Back in the day, midriff was a pretty big deal, as was really any kind of female independence and non-silence. The Little Mermaid marked a shift in the tides as she was the first Disney Princess to show midriff. Many of the Disney movies following also had their Princesses show more skin.
14 Ariel Was Also The First To Flash Her Behind
When Ariel first gets her legs, she is really quite exposed, only hidden underneath the shallow water of a tide pool. When she attempts to stand up on her new legs, she falls over, and in the animation of this, she shows her rump, for the briefest of seconds. According to Factinate, any longer would change the G rating of this classic Disney film.
13 And She's The Only Disney Princess Born Without Legs
Of all the Disney Princesses before her, there wasn't a single one who was born without legs, and she holds the spot for the first and the only. While she gets legs later in the movie, becoming a complete human, she will always be the Princess who started as a little mermaid.
12 She Only Sometimes Has Fingernails
Ariel, as you watch the movie, seems to mysteriously lose and grow back her fingernails multiple times. The animators must not have decided to put fingernails on her all the time, which could be an artistic decision or just a practical one.
11 Ariel Was Animated By Hand
Every part of Ariel's anatomy was hand-drawn by a massive team of animators, and The Little Mermaid, according to Factinator, was the very last Disney movie to be made with this old style of animation. Even the end scene in the film is done with their new computers.
10 Changing Her Entire Appearance For A Man, Not A Good Message
Ariel went to great lengths just to change her features in an effort to impress a man that she had not really even met and only saw. She even lost her voice just so she could grow some legs. The message isn't really the best one to send, especially to young girls, but that's just how they used to do things.
9 Ariel Was Modeled To Be A Young Teen
While drawing and modeling Ariel, the animators say that she was based off of the body of a young girl, despite her being almost an adult, which makes her anatomy a bit unrealistic, too skinny and long in the "right" places to make her appear more beautiful.
8 Why Does Ariel Have A Belly Button?
There's really a good question with this. Where did she get her belly button? Fish are born by live birth and don't have belly buttons, only mammals are born with an umbilical cord. And especially with a fishtail and not a fish head, does this question really start to raise some eyebrows.
7 Pose Inspired By A Statue
There's a lot in this movie that was inspired by outside sources. The actually story is based off a fairy tale (one with a much darker ending), and there are several scenes inspired by the statue in Copenhagen with the same name "The Little Mermaid." Pictured above, she's putting a red rose on it.
6 Her Dinner Dress Was Inspired By Many Other Princesses
The dress featured in the movie is inspired by a fusion of all the dresses from Disney princesses of the past. For those astute Disney film watchers, this along with a number of other easter eggs can be found in the film, if you've got the sharp eye (or google search.)
5 Ariel Was Inspired By 50 Year Old Sketches
While Walt Disney was still alive, he wanted to do a version of this film, though he wanted to do it as a short and keep the much more tragic ending of the Fairy Tale story in tact. The idea never took off, but they did base some of the film's animation off of some of those original sketches.
4 Ariel's Body Shape Is Unrealistic
The animators wanted Ariel to look young and skinny, so they based her off the anatomy of a preteen, even though she's older than that (though not by much). While she's beautiful it's no mystery that these decisions have led to problems with body issues. Like a barbie, her anatomy just isn't realistic.
3 Ariel Is Named After Her Tail
The designers at Disney needed a whole new color for Ariel's tail when designing and coloring the film. They didn't want to use plain aquamarine as that was not original enough, so they created the color and named it "Ariel," and named the Little Mermaid after it!
2 A Blonde Mermaid Would Have Been Confusing
When this movie was pitched, according to Factinate, it was met with hesitation, even being denied at first. This was due to a very similar mermaid movie, and very popular, that had come out around the same time. The main character was blonde, and so that's why they went with red hair for Ariel.
1 Ariel Shares A Body With Belle From Beauty And The Beast
For the astute Disney movie watcher, they might just see a lot of similarities between the bodies of Ariel and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. This is because they used the same live-action model to animate them both. They share anatomy, though all the Disney Princesses have unrealistic body shapes.
Sources: Factinate, Screen Rant & Art Station