By now, everybody who actually cares already knows the story of Disney’s take on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale. First released in theaters on November of 1989, The Little Mermaid is a much lighter version of the original tale and focuses on a mermaid princess named Ariel, who is so curious and fascinated with the world above that she has taken to collecting various human treasures from shipwrecks.
In the course of the movie, Ariel manages to meet (and fall in love with!) the handsome Prince Eric, breaking one of her father’s most important rule when she saves the Prince’s life after a hurricane sends the poor fellow’s ship crashing into the rocks. The evil sea witch Ursula soon uses Ariel’s feelings in order to get her to agree to a deal: she will be given a pair of human legs, which will allow her to pursue Prince Eric, but she must make the Prince fall in love with her by sunset on the third day OR she will become Ursula’s possession.
If the short description above manages to pique your curiosity (if you haven’t seen the movie yet) or made you want to revisit the film, you will have your chance as Disney will be releasing The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition on October 1, 2013. The release will come in either a 2-disc version that contains a standard Blu-Ray and a DVD, or a 3 disc version that also includes a Blu-Ray 3D version of the film as well as a code for an iTunes digital copy.
These days, the video quality of animated films on Blu-Ray is not an issue as films can be transferred onto disc without any loss in quality. However, things can be different for old pre-Blu-ray films like the Little Mermaid, as transfer to disc will require re-encoding in order to adjust to the new standards and to get rid of damage, dirt, or any flaws that were present in the original prints.
In the Little Mermaid’s case, there is nothing to worry about as the transfer looks fantastic, even managing to preserve the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film looks every bit as vibrant and bold as it did in the original theatrical release, and maybe even better depending on how good your home theater setup is. Both purists and HD aficionados will be satisfied because it manages to update the visual quality to match modern standards, while relatively staying true to what it originally looked like in the original theatre run.
Sadly, we don’t have a high quality home theater setup so we have no way of properly assessing the audio quality of The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition within the context of its remastered 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. But still, with what little is available to us (the speakers that came with our 32-inch Samsung HDTV), we can say that there’s nothing to complain about in terms of audio. Some areas seem to have problems with panning and positioning, but it is to be expected considering the source material’s age and the remastering process. The sound levels are fine and relatively even, so you will never lose track of a dialogue even when there’s a score blaring in the background.
Of course, no re-release these days is ever worthy of reaching the market without anything by way of bonus content. The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition contains all the bonus content previously included in the Platinum Edition release, such as deleted scenes, audio commentary, and various features including disneypedia and a virtual ride.
Aside from the classic bonus content, a bunch of new HD exclusive extras are also included, such as a number of music videos (including one from Carly Rae Jepsen), a deleted character featurette, several new behind the scenes features, and a “Crab-E-Oke Sing-Along” that lets you sing along to several songs from the movie set to various characters and locations from the movie.
Whether you’re an old fan of the film or a young ‘un who has never watched The Little Mermaid yet, The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition is a worthy addition to your home video collection as it lets you relive one of Disney’s most iconic and beloved fairy tale adaptations with the clarity and beauty that modern technology can offer.