Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in the 1989 classic The Little Mermaid, has come out in support of the changes to the new live-action adaptation in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. The creative team behind the new movie has decided to edit songs to emphasize consent. This includes composer Alan Menken, who is returning from the animated film. Check out an excerpt of Benson’s remarks here:
“We’re talking about starting our [voiceover] sessions in ’86 [for the original film. It’s 2023, so we have to grow, we have to learn, we have to be aware of our surroundings.
We’ve got to be aware of our growth as humans and what’s important now and what maybe isn’t as important… Things change. We’ve got to roll with that… But you’ve got to have growth. It’s very important to stay relevant with where we are, what’s going on around us. We need to be aware. So the adjustments and the fine-tuning that they needed to do, it was a must, but it was done in a beautiful way, and I’m very, very thrilled with it.”
I agree with what she’s saying in general, that things change with the times. However, I don’t know of anyone who read Ariel’s pursuit of Eric as her being coerced or manipulated, as Alan Menken put it the last time this came up. I think it’s a moot point because Benson has been part of the Disney team ever since the original movie came out; she’s not going to publicly disagree with the creative choices in their film. I’m not saying she actually does have a problem with it, but that we’ll likely never know either way. I haven’t heard/read the lyrical amendments in question, but they sound dumb, and I imagine they resemble other such superficial changes to these remakes. It’s an attempt to justify something that shouldn’t exist.