"The Grande Mermaid" Is Finally Here!

I have mentioned in other posts how impressed I am by the quality of PattyCake Productions Unexpected Musicals series in which they recreate classic movies and replace the soundtrack with that of a specific pop singer. In the past, I have particularly enjoyed their videos for "Cinderswift" and "Michaeleficent." However, I could not have possibly been more excited than I was when I learned that they were working on a video for my favorite movie and fairy tale of all time, "The Little Mermaid." The production was delayed for a few months due to Hurricane Irma, which hit the coast of Florida last September, but little by little, the filmmakers soldiered on. For the first time that I've ever seen from PattyCake Productions, they even released a trailer, building more excitement for this short than any of the ones in the past. Now, "The Grande Mermaid," set to the songs of Nickelodeon actress and pop singer Ariana Grande, is here at at last and has exceeded even my high expectations. Check it out below:

I was absolutely floored by the quality of this production. Disney has not made a live-action version of The Little Mermaid yet, even though there is one in the works. In the past, PattyCake Productions has recreated the more detailed costumes, props, and sets from stories that Disney has already turned into live-action movies, as opposed to their more simplistic animated counterparts. In this case, they have set the standards for a live-action Little Mermaid movie themselves. The costumes for the "Kiss the Girl" scene appeared to be more inspired by the Broadway version of the show than the animated film, which makes sense because that's the closest thing Disney has at this point in time to a live-action version. PattyCake Productions' attention to detail in everything from the underwater lip syncing to the realistic-looking crab is beyond compare. I've seen underwater lip syncing before, particularly at Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida, but never with such high production values. Even though they did not have the budget to fully recreate the mermaid kingdom of Atlantica, Ariel seemed to live in her own underwater world on the ocean floor as opposed to the bottom of a swimming pool.

Can we talk about that gorgeous Ariel for a minute? The production crew did nothing shy of pull her straight out of the screen! Her big innocent eyes and loving loving expressions toward Eric were a perfect match for the famous animated redhead. Not only is she a talented actress, but she is also an exceptional swimmer. I've attempted to dabble in the recently popular mermaiding sport a couple summers ago and failed miserably since I had never swum before in my life. I know how difficult it is just to stay underwater, so I was amazed at how well this actress could stay down long enough for some fantastic shots and still act beautifully while lip syncing to Ariana Grande's lyrics. The extra touches that transformed this underwater playground to look like Ariel's grotto from the animated film really sold the effect, especially the inclusion of the iconic "Magdalen with the Smoking Flame" painting that Ariel admires in the animated film.

Another thing that really impressed me about this video was how beautifully they blended the score from Disney's 1989 production with Ariana Grande's songs. I can't say I'm particularly familiar with many of Grande's songs myself, but the performer in the short sounded just like Jodi Benson and helped to turn Grande's pop hits into Alan Menken's Disney showtune style. Her singing was crystal clear and full of emotion, as opposed of the chaotic note jumping that pop singers are prone to do. The Ariana Grande songs the crew selected to replace "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl," and "Poor Unfortunate Souls" worked perfectly with the style of the video. It was chilling when Ariel's voice returned during Vanessa's wedding using the melody from the original film. Speaking of which, the wedding scene was absolutely gorgeous. The two very different actresses they got for Ursula and Vanessa were able to perfectly emote their most wicked expressions as they performed their dastardly deeds.

Whether you're a fan of PattyCake Productions or not, you absolutely cannot miss their latest video. "The Grande Mermaid" is on their YouTube page as well as their Facebook page and is perfect in every way. I can't believe they're not making bigger productions for Disney by now. Imagine how much more they could do with a theatrical budget! I hope Disney's upcoming live-action film is half as good as this short was. If you're in the mood to watch more Disnsey Princess shorts, feel free to check out the fantastic set of interviews Disney did with some of their most famous princess voice artists below. It's beautiful and inspiring. Dream Big, Princess!


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