Rob Marshall on Balancing Emotions & Technology in The Little Mermaid

Rob Marshall, the director of The Little Mermaid, says that he hopes the audience will focus on the story and the characters more than the technical aspects of the movie.

The live-action version of the 1989 animated film stars Halle Bailey as the mermaid princess and uses a lot of computer-generated imagery to create the underwater world. This means that many scenes in the movie are made with CGI, especially those that take place under the sea.

How Rob Marshall Balances Heart & Technology in The Little Mermaid
Little Mermaid and the Prince in The Little Mermaid (2023)

In an interview with Deadline, Marshall says that he hopes people will not talk too much about the technical side of the live-action Little Mermaid remake.

He believes that the story and the characters are what really matter in the movie and should get more attention. Here is his statement:

As technically challenging as this film was…it was the most challenging of my career and I certainly couldn’t have done it without having done all the films I’d done date…I really didn’t want the technical aspect of the film to lead it. I didn’t want people to see that. I wanted to make it feel seamless. So the most important thing is the emotion, the story, the characters, the acting. That had to lead the film so that you’re invested in it. Otherwise, who cares, because it would be a technical exercise.

The live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has faced a lot of backlashes lately. Some people have complained about the dark scenes or the fake-looking CGI, but a big issue has been the realistic look of animal characters like Sebastian and Flounder. 

Jacob Tremblay, who plays Flounder, recently spoke up for the character’s new design, saying it fits with the vision of the Little Mermaid remake. For context, take a look at some of the characters from the film:

Marshall has a good point that, without a strong story and characters, The Little Mermaid would not be as enjoyable to watch. The film will be different from the original in some ways, such as it changes some character stories and alters some lyrics of The Little Mermaid’s classic songs.

How Rob Marshall Balances Heart & Technology in The Little Mermaid
Some of the CGI work in The Little Mermaid

The live-action remake wants to stand out on its own. To do that well, The Little Mermaid needs to make sure that its story will charm audiences in a fresh yet familiar way.

However, the visual style of a film is also important to keep audiences interested, even if the story and characters are good. The realistic looks of Flounder and Sebastian have been very unpopular, and some viewers may not be able to enjoy a good story if they don’t like the technical decisions.

However, since The Little Mermaid will not hit theaters until May 26, it is still unknown how its technical aspects will affect global audience reactions.

Watch The Little Mermaid (2023) on:

About The Little Mermaid (2023)

The Little Mermaid is a 2023 American musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall from a screenplay written by David Magee. Co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures, DeLuca Marshall, and Marc Platt Productions, it is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1989 animated film of the same name itself, loosely based on the 1837 fairy tale of the same title by Hans Christian Andersen.

The film stars Halle Bailey in the titular role alongside Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, Javier Bardem, and Melissa McCarthy.

The Little Mermaid follows a mermaid princess Ariel who makes a deal with a treacherous sea witch Ursula to trade her voice for human legs in order to impress Prince Eric, who is saved from a shipwreck before the time runs out.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

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