Ooooh dear, a black actress is playing Live Action Ariel in the Little Mermaid movie.

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I'm just sick of the live action crap. Either Disney should adapt their lesser known works(Black Cauldron or Oliver and Company) or do new stories.

I say if she doesn't immediately get her lower half amputated and a fish tail grafted on, she should be immediately fired. Her casting is an insult to all the real mermaids everywhere.

Dreiko:

Asita:

Dreiko:

I'm more concerned with the fact that they seemingly gave the role to a 19 year old with no prior films in her resume. Who knows, maybe she'll be the next big star and is really talented. I'm apprehensive but keeping an open mind.

Not really sure they could have gotten away from that. The Little Mermaid is kinda like Romeo and Juliet in that the story is driven by the idealistic stupidity of youth. They're stories where the characters get so swept up in their infatuation that they throw everything away for a love they haven't even been on a proper date with. That becomes increasingly unlikely as the age of the characters increases, necessitating that the actors can pass for youths. It doesn't really surprise me that such an actor would be just starting to make a name for herself.

This still is the same Hollywood that casts 30somethings as HS students regularly, right?

Something tells me they could have handled this in some way.

In as much as that's an oft-mocked practice, yes.

Silvanus:

Fidelity to the source material went out the window with the first Little Mermaid film, which bears little resemblance to the Anderson story. Why d'you think it is people get angry about some changes, but not others?

Well yes, but who do you think makes up the majority of the fanbase/stakeholders here; people who have only ever read the Hans Christian Andersen story, or kids (and adults) who grew up with the Disney depiction of Ariel that has been consistent across three movies, various videogame and cartoon appearances, and extensive merchandising? When I say "source material" I meant the existing Disney version.

Ridiculous comparison. Obviously there are certain characteristics which actually matter to the character. Ethnicity is not one of them.

OK, good, so you concede there are certain characteristics that if changed would alter the character to an unacceptable degree. Why isn't ethnicity one of them? Almost everyone here seems to have decided a priori that The Little Mermaid's race is so irrelevant it's beneath discussion. The other upcoming live action Disney release being discussed on this forum is Mulan. Nobody is suggesting Mulan be portrayed by a black actress. Why?

Batou667:
OK, good, so you concede there are certain characteristics that if changed would alter the character to an unacceptable degree. Why isn't ethnicity one of them? Almost everyone here seems to have decided a priori that The Little Mermaid's race is so irrelevant it's beneath discussion. The other upcoming live action Disney release being discussed on this forum is Mulan. Nobody is suggesting Mulan be portrayed by a black actress. Why?

If I can field that question?

Mulan is a Chinese Human. From China.

Ariel is a fictional magical species that is on a made up continent somewhere underwater. Could be off of the coast of Africa, for all you know.

I don't like when established characters are wildly changed. But it really is an irrelevant issue when the country is run by White Supremacists.

I don't complain about this stuff as much anymore, cause I have better priorities than the racist folk who just hate seeing black people in anything.

Plus the current MJ is growing on me. (Saw Spider-Man yesterday).

Oh and white washing shit happens all the time too. Did we really need an American version of Oldboy?

ObsidianJones:

Batou667:
OK, good, so you concede there are certain characteristics that if changed would alter the character to an unacceptable degree. Why isn't ethnicity one of them? Almost everyone here seems to have decided a priori that The Little Mermaid's race is so irrelevant it's beneath discussion. The other upcoming live action Disney release being discussed on this forum is Mulan. Nobody is suggesting Mulan be portrayed by a black actress. Why?

If I can field that question?

Mulan is a Chinese Human. From China.

Ariel is a fictional magical species that is on a made up continent somewhere underwater. Could be off of the coast of Africa, for all you know.

image
#therealariel

ObsidianJones:
Ariel is a fictional magical species that is on a made up continent somewhere underwater. Could be off of the coast of Africa, for all you know.

One might also mention that even if it is off the coast of Scandinavia somewhere, it's not like Scandinavia (or anywhere) is 100% white above water.

Baffle2:
In what way has anything happened at group Y's expense?

Firstly the effective retconning of the last 30 years of Little Mermaid. That is sure to annoy, if not exactly upset, many fans.

Secondly, much is made of the need for characters children will associate with. Great, little back girls now have one extra princess they can dress up as at Halloween. Spare a thought for the little red-headed girls though; all they have is that girl from Brave now, and nobody wants to be her.

Wintermute:
Pretty unrealistic having a woman in the role anyway. A man should play the lead character and the movie renamed The Little Merman.

There is. It's called "The Shape of Water"

Batou667:

Baffle2:
In what way has anything happened at group Y's expense?

Firstly the effective retconning of the last 30 years of Little Mermaid. That is sure to annoy, if not exactly upset, many fans.

Secondly, much is made of the need for characters children will associate with. Great, little back girls now have one extra princess they can dress up as at Halloween. Spare a thought for the little red-headed girls though; all they have is that girl from Brave now, and nobody wants to be her.

Thank god it's at no one's expense then.

Batou667:

Baffle2:
In what way has anything happened at group Y's expense?

Firstly the effective retconning of the last 30 years of Little Mermaid. That is sure to annoy, if not exactly upset, many fans.

Secondly, much is made of the need for characters children will associate with. Great, little back girls now have one extra princess they can dress up as at Halloween. Spare a thought for the little red-headed girls though; all they have is that girl from Brave now, and nobody wants to be her.

I was just going to Leave This Here, but the concept of redheaded girls being left out in Halloween makes me wonder if you're actually trolling.

For one, The cartoon still is a thing. You get that, right? The Live Action movies don't remove canon.

Also... Black Widow is still here. Mera from Aquaman. Giselle from Enchanted. Anna from Frozen. Jessie from Toy Story. I think Kim Possible was a redhead, but I don't know if that's still on. Barbara Gordon or Batgirl. Jean Grey. Mystique.

Do you understand that less than 2 percent of the world are natural redheads, but there's an abundance of characters in comic books that are actually redheaded?

ObsidianJones:
.

Also... Black Widow is still here. Mera from Aquaman. Giselle from Enchanted. Anna from Frozen. Jessie from Toy Story. I think Kim Possible was a redhead, but I don't know if that's still on. Barbara Gordon or Batgirl. Jean Grey. Mystique.

Do you understand that less than 2 percent of the world are natural redheads, but there's an abundance of characters in comic books that are actually redheaded?

And Maid Marian from the original Disney Robin Hood.

ObsidianJones:

Ariel is a fictional magical species that is on a made up continent somewhere underwater. Could be off of the coast of Africa, for all you know.

As was pointed out really early in this thread, several of the creatures Ariel hang out with speak in Caribbean accents and most of the creatures seen are found in the Caribbean. Even the village she surfaces too seems more like a Spanish Caribbean colony then a European village (though no accounting for Erik's Nordic name nor his fantastic castle).

So maybe Ariel in 1989 was whitewashed, maybe she is being brownwashed now. Or maybe, just maybe, it doesn't matter a flying fuck what the color of her skin is, as she's a fictional freakin' mermaid and the important bit will be how well the actress portrays the character of Ariel. The thin-skinned (pre-dominantly white) people who think this is a big deal really needs to stop consuming any media where "SJW" or "white genocide" is mentioned without irony.

Baffle2:
And Maid Marian from the original Disney Robin Hood.

Hey, and Peter Pan was as well.

What's that you say? He doesn't count because he was a He?

Peter Pan is normally played in Live Action by women.

That's right, Buckaroos! Peter Pan is the First Gender Fluid Character. Y'all didn't have a problem with that! Score one for the good guys!

Gethsemani:
As was pointed out really early in this thread, several of the creatures Ariel hang out with speak in Caribbean accents and most of the creatures seen are found in the Caribbean. Even the village she surfaces too seems more like a Spanish Caribbean colony then a European village (though no accounting for Erik's Nordic name nor his fantastic castle).

I pointed it out! It was me![/proud little boy boosting!]

ObsidianJones:
You had no problem with Jamaican Crabs before?

Gethsemani:
So maybe Ariel in 1989 was whitewashed, maybe she is being brownwashed now. Or maybe, just maybe, it doesn't matter a flying fuck what the color of her skin is, as she's a fictional freakin' mermaid and the important bit will be how well the actress portrays the character of Ariel. The thin-skinned (pre-dominantly white) people who think this is a big deal really needs to stop consuming any media where "SJW" or "white genocide" is mentioned without irony.

You know what? This is a fantastic point that I might make its own thread when I get back home.

The amount of people who legitimately claim about White Genocide because of 'lack of representation in media' who then see no problem with a Lack of Diversity.

You can't have it both ways. You can't equate it to Genocide when it affects white people and then shrug and say "Author's choice" if there are no minorities or women represented. I want to see the mental gymnastics on that one.

When I heard about this this past weekend, I absolutely knew there'd be a multi-page thread here waiting for me on Monday...

Lemme guess: most don't care and/or see a problem, a few are advocating that they shouldn't have made the change while maintaining a rational, "I'm not racist" tone and the fact that mermaids are fictitious has been pointed out at least a dozen times?

ObsidianJones:

If I can field that question?

Mulan is a Chinese Human. From China.

Ariel is a fictional magical species that is on a made up continent somewhere underwater. Could be off of the coast of Africa, for all you know.

Acknowledging for a moment the H.C.Andersen book, and based on all the ethnic and cultural trappings of the three Disney animated films, I would say The Little Mermaid is set in an approximation of 17th century Europe, wouldn't you?

It's not that simple, of course. We all know Disney isn't set in the real world; most of it exists in this slightly surreal, cosmopolitan, post racial 17th Century-ish storybook land. It's basically the celluloid equivalent of a Renaissance Fair: Americans incongruously superimposing their contemporary society onto a cheerfully inaccurate mash-up of European stereotypes for shits and giggles. And, reality check: it's not serious. It's cartoons and kid's movies. Who gives a damn, right?

Well, as a cynical grown-up, it sometimes irks that the real life humans behind these works of fiction evidently give so much thought to depicting minority and indigenous cultures in a respectful and authentic way while attaching so little value to anything culturally European or ethnically white. I'm not just talking Disney here. I'm talking in general terms about every movie, series, drama, cartoon and animation that treats people who look like me living in a place that resembles my country, not as something to be preserved or celebrated, but as a dull, problematically white, blank canvas to be "improved" or even "corrected" with a political correct nip here and a progressive tuck there. It's unrelenting and it's tedious as hell. As tedious as always being the sidekick? I hear you reply. As tedious as being the first dude to die in every horror movie? Yeah, I'll grant you that. But we need progress - real progress, not just "progressive"-sounding decisions like race-swapping or gender-swapping white male characters.

Baffle2:
Thank god it's at no one's expense then.

Either representation and identification matters or it doesn't. We can't simultaneously argue that it's a bad thing that ethnic minorities don't have enough movie characters to identify with, AND claim that changing a character some kids previously identified with is completely unimportant.

You may feel the benefits here outweigh the costs (evidently Disney do), but don't make the disingenuous claim that it's at no one's expense. Go on social media. See people who are upset by this decision - not because Ariel is now black, but because Ariel doesn't look like them any more. There's your evidence. Or does that not count because self-evidently only racists would object to this change?

Xprimentyl:
When I heard about this this past weekend, I absolutely knew there?d be a multi-page thread here waiting for me on Monday?

Lemme guess: most don?t care and/or see a problem, a few are advocating that they shouldn?t have made the change while maintaining a rational, ?I?m not racist? tone and the fact that mermaids are fictitious has been pointed out at least a dozen times?

Bingo.

Batou667:
Acknowledging for a moment the H.C.Andersen book, and based on all the ethnic and cultural trappings of the three Disney animated films, I would say The Little Mermaid is set in an approximation of 17th century Europe, wouldn't you?

It's not that simple, of course. We all know Disney isn't set in the real world; most of it exists in this slightly surreal, cosmopolitan, post racial 17th Century-ish storybook land. It's basically the celluloid equivalent of a Renaissance Fair: Americans incongruously superimposing their contemporary society onto a cheerfully inaccurate mash-up of European stereotypes for shits and giggles. And, reality check: it's not serious. It's cartoons and kid's movies. Who gives a damn, right?

Well, as a cynical grown-up, it sometimes irks that the real life humans behind these works of fiction evidently give so much thought to depicting minority and indigenous cultures in a respectful and authentic way while attaching so little value to anything culturally European or ethnically white. I'm not just talking Disney here. I'm talking in general terms about every movie, series, drama, cartoon and animation that treats people who look like me living in a place that resembles my country, not as something to be preserved or celebrated, but as a dull, problematically white, blank canvas to be "improved" or even "corrected" with a political correct nip here and a progressive tuck there. It's unrelenting and it's tedious as hell. As tedious as always being the sidekick? I hear you reply. As tedious as being the first dude to die in every horror movie? Yeah, I'll grant you that. But we need progress - real progress, not just "progressive"-sounding decisions like race-swapping or gender-swapping white male characters.

There is no location for the original story. So to me, that's Madeupistan.

So. Madeupistan. Magical Kingdom. Magical Creatures. Magic.

And speaking about unrelenting and tedious? Try not being white and default of everything (Humans, Humanoid Magical Creatures, Humanoid Aliens) being white.

By the way, that progress you talk about? That falls straight on the Majority. They need to stop having to have every story have to look like them for them to pay attention to it for progress to happen.

There are plenty of great stories out there, but since people can't see themselves as the hero because the main character has boobs (or will someday), has a different skin color, or is a perfectly fine white guy... who just happens to like other guys that they don't get focus.

That's not on the story teller or the story. That's on the audience. So if the only way to get representation is the 'co-opt it', that's not the fault of the talented writers, actors and actresses, directors, and et al who must stay in the limited roles that the Majority allows for them.

Look, as someone who was barely represented growing, I had to make my peace with not seeing myself in a lot of my heroes. Video Games Especially. I also had to see when the story was made about us, the comic book and video game fan majority turn their back because it 'wasn't for them'.

The doors are closed to fair representation. So people are opening up windows. Don't blame the people who have to go through the windows to be acknowledged. Blame the door closers inside who think they should control Representation solely.

Xprimentyl:
When I heard about this this past weekend, I absolutely knew there?d be a multi-page thread here waiting for me on Monday?

Lemme guess: most don?t care and/or see a problem, a few are advocating that they shouldn?t have made the change while maintaining a rational, ?I?m not racist? tone and the fact that mermaids are fictitious has been pointed out at least a dozen times?

Racist people saying other racist people aren't racist doesn't make them not racist. It is just racists backing racists.

Batou667:

Either representation and identification matters or it doesn't. We can't simultaneously argue that it's a bad thing that ethnic minorities don't have enough movie characters to identify with, AND claim that changing a character some kids previously identified with is completely unimportant.

You may feel the benefits here outweigh the costs (evidently Disney do), but don't make the disingenuous claim that it's at no one's expense. Go on social media. See people who are upset by this decision - not because Ariel is now black, but because Ariel doesn't look like them any more. There's your evidence. Or does that not count because self-evidently only racists would object to this change?

The people I've seen complaining aren't children, they're adults who were children when this first came out, which was apparently in 1989. So to the degree that it is at their 'expense', it's an 'expense' they've decided to pay even though they don't need to. Oh, woe is them.

Batou667:
Go on social media. See people who are upset by this decision - not because Ariel is now black, but because Ariel doesn't look like them any more. There's your evidence. Or does that not count because self-evidently only racists would object to this change?

Hold on, did the animated movie stop existing and the new black Ariel is now the only one around? Afaik, redhead Ariel is still around. I mean, I checked out Disney's online store and merch with redhead Ariel plastered all over it was literally the first fucking thing I saw.

Live action Aurora, Belle, Cinderella and Jasmine didn't make the animated version go away. Neither will Ariel. Disney would never allow it. The Disney Princesses make them way too much money for that.

warmachine:
I wanna know how a species that lives in the sea evolved to have melanin tinted skin.

Well, she's a child of the god of the sea, so she didn't evolve, duh. There, run rings around you logically!

Anyway, the real question these people(the haters) are thinking is, why couldn't she be the other kind of mermaid? With the fish half on top and the lady half on the bottom.

Worgen:

Chimpzy:

Samtemdo8:
Uh....this is not Halle Barry.

This is Halle Bailey.

Yes, we know that. But unfortunately, reading is hard for many people.

Also, they cast a black woman as the Little Mermaid. So fucking what?

But how will racist pedophiles jack-off to her if shes black? Because I think shes supposed to be like 14-16 or something.

She is an underage fish lady, and her dad is the god of the oceans. I mean, that's a whole boatload of trouble right there. There might be a precious few places where that sort of marriage would be allowed but Dad would probably send tsunamis to sink the place faster then atlantis.

Honestly, I'm more enjoying watching some of these snowflakes get so easily triggered. The salty tears go nicely with my tropical drinks.

Why didn't she turn into sea foam and then ascend into Heaven to try to gain redemption in the original Disney movie?

ObsidianJones:
snip

I'm honestly not sure if you're saying "Yeah, representation matters, not having it sucks" or "Audiences need to grow the hell up and learn to identify with protagonists who don't mirror them exactly"?

Saelune:

Plus the current MJ is growing on me. (Saw Spider-Man yesterday).

This is a bit of a tangent, but I see MCU MJ as an example of doing the whole diversity thing better than taking a pre-existing character and changing them. Like, obviously Michelle "MJ Jones" is a reference to Mary-Jane "MJ" Watson," but at this point I see them as really separate characters rather than different versions of the same character, a lot of that being due to how Michelle's personality is completely different from Mary-Jane's.

Which isn't bad. I quite like her as a character. Fun in Homecoming, and Far From Home sealed the deal.

Gethsemani:

As was pointed out really early in this thread, several of the creatures Ariel hang out with speak in Caribbean accents and most of the creatures seen are found in the Caribbean. Even the village she surfaces too seems more like a Spanish Caribbean colony then a European village (though no accounting for Erik's Nordic name nor his fantastic castle).

So maybe Ariel in 1989 was whitewashed, maybe she is being brownwashed now. Or maybe, just maybe, it doesn't matter a flying fuck what the color of her skin is, as she's a fictional freakin' mermaid and the important bit will be how well the actress portrays the character of Ariel. The thin-skinned (pre-dominantly white) people who think this is a big deal really needs to stop consuming any media where "SJW" or "white genocide" is mentioned without irony.

Getting into semantics, but if we're looking at the original film and its EU, we can probably safely guess it's somewhere off the coast of Europe. Even casting aside stuff like Atlantica (Atlantis), its Danish origin, and Prince Erik, Mozart actually appears in one of the cartoon episodes. So, not only can we lock in a timeframe of the cartoon/movie canon (mid 18th century), but I'm not sure if he ever crossed the pond.

Also, there's a reasonably compelling argument that the Little Mermaid shares the same universe with Frozen (and ergo, with Tangled), and that the ship Ariel finds is the ship of Elsa/Anna's parents. So, um, there.

Dalisclock:

Anyway, the real question these people(the haters) are thinking is, why couldn't she be the other kind of mermaid? With the fish half on top and the lady half on the bottom.

Beat you to that joke in this thread. :p

Batou667:

ObsidianJones:
snip

I'm honestly not sure if you're saying "Yeah, representation matters, not having it sucks" or "Audiences need to grow the hell up and learn to identify with protagonists who don't mirror them exactly"?

I'm trying to pad out this response because I don't remember if low word count matters any more. I hope it's pleasant weather where you're at. I'm sorry to do this, because my answer was literally just one word. I think this is enough now, though, so here's the answer:

Both.

Samtemdo8:
At this point. I am almost convinced that Hollywood is doing this on purpose because apparently Attention = Money these days.

This is pretty much it. Disney's obviously playing to everyone's bigotry.

CaitSeith:

Wintermute:
Pretty unrealistic having a woman in the role anyway. A man should play the lead character and the movie renamed The Little Merman.

There is. It's called "The Shape of Water"

To be fair that thing was barely a character.

Batou667:

Well, as a cynical grown-up, it sometimes irks that the real life humans behind these works of fiction evidently give so much thought to depicting minority and indigenous cultures in a respectful and authentic way while attaching so little value to anything culturally European or ethnically white. I'm not just talking Disney here. I'm talking in general terms about every movie, series, drama, cartoon and animation that treats people who look like me living in a place that resembles my country, not as something to be preserved or celebrated, but as a dull, problematically white, blank canvas to be "improved" or even "corrected" with a political correct nip here and a progressive tuck there. It's unrelenting and it's tedious as hell. As tedious as always being the sidekick? I hear you reply. As tedious as being the first dude to die in every horror movie? Yeah, I'll grant you that. But we need progress - real progress, not just "progressive"-sounding decisions like race-swapping or gender-swapping white male characters.

So, we're in this weird liminal space where Belle and the villagers being British in 18th century France is bad, but if the village had two or three people from France's 18th century Caribbean colonies, that would be worse because it would change the bad thing.

altnameJag:

Batou667:

Well, as a cynical grown-up, it sometimes irks that the real life humans behind these works of fiction evidently give so much thought to depicting minority and indigenous cultures in a respectful and authentic way while attaching so little value to anything culturally European or ethnically white. I'm not just talking Disney here. I'm talking in general terms about every movie, series, drama, cartoon and animation that treats people who look like me living in a place that resembles my country, not as something to be preserved or celebrated, but as a dull, problematically white, blank canvas to be "improved" or even "corrected" with a political correct nip here and a progressive tuck there. It's unrelenting and it's tedious as hell. As tedious as always being the sidekick? I hear you reply. As tedious as being the first dude to die in every horror movie? Yeah, I'll grant you that. But we need progress - real progress, not just "progressive"-sounding decisions like race-swapping or gender-swapping white male characters.

So, we're in this weird liminal space where Belle and the villagers being British in 18th century France is bad, but if the village had two or three people from France's 18th century Caribbean colonies, that would be worse because it would change the bad thing.

I rewatched the opening song to the animated version the other day and kept thinking "Isn't it kinda weird for a rural french peasant girl to be literate?"

Batou667:

Well yes, but who do you think makes up the majority of the fanbase/stakeholders here; people who have only ever read the Hans Christian Andersen story, or kids (and adults) who grew up with the Disney depiction of Ariel that has been consistent across three movies, various videogame and cartoon appearances, and extensive merchandising? When I say "source material" I meant the existing Disney version.

You don't mean source material, then-- you just mean a popular previous adaptation.

It's a peculiar argument (and nothing to do with artistic integrity) to suggest adaptations must remain consistent with past adaptations of the same source material, but not the material itself.

OK, good, so you concede there are certain characteristics that if changed would alter the character to an unacceptable degree. Why isn't ethnicity one of them? Almost everyone here seems to have decided a priori that The Little Mermaid's race is so irrelevant it's beneath discussion. The other upcoming live action Disney release being discussed on this forum is Mulan. Nobody is suggesting Mulan be portrayed by a black actress. Why?

Because Mulan is set in historic China, and the Little Mermaid is set under the sea.

Silvanus:

Because Mulan is set in historic China, and the Little Mermaid is set under the sea.

Yeah, but which sea?

I quite like the idea of it being set off the coast of Great Yarmouth. The whole show would've been about whether it was better to live above or under the water, because they're equally shit and likely to give you tetanus.

(As you may be able to tell, I've never seen The Little Mermaid, but I have been to Great Yarmouth. More than once.)

Samtemdo8:

Is pretty much iconic to culture at this point. Having a Black Actress be this Ariel is the equivalent of making Jesus an African man.

Jesus was from the Levant, and would have looked much like a modern-day Egyptian, Palestinian, Israeli or Syrian.

So I wouldn't put that much stock in the iconic Westernised blonde and fair-skinned Jesus. And bear in mind if you go to Ethiopia, Christian for ~1500 years, the Ethiopian Orthodox often portrays him as black. The point being, icons can easily be adapted to meet people's desires.

So why not a black Ariel?

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