Jodi Benson, the actress who originally voiced Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” recently said she agrees with some of the changes made in the live-action version of the film.
The Disney remake made headlines earlier this year for changing the lyrics to the classic song “Kiss the Girl,” which was made popular in the animated version of “The Little Mermaid” (1989). According to the composer, the words were changed to include consent so the audience knows Prince Eric would never “force himself on Ariel.”
The original song’s lyrics are: “Yes, you want her. Look at her, you know you do. Possible she wants you, too. There is one way to ask her. It don’t take a word. Not a single word. Go on and kiss the girl.”
The song “Poor Unfortunate Souls” also had lyric edits to make it more palatable for the PC crowd. The original version had the villain, Ursula, singing: “The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber. They think a girl who gossips is a bore! Yet on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word. And after all dear, what is idle babble for?”
“We’re talking about starting our [voiceover] sessions in ’86 [for the original film],” Benson told Entertainment Weekly just ahead of the movie’s Memorial Day weekend premiere. “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,” the voice actress said. “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.”
Alan Menken wrote the music for the 1989 animated version of “The Little Mermaid” and was asked to work on new songs for the 2023 live-action remake. He explained some of the changes being made in April, as The Daily Wire previously reported.
“There are some lyric changes in ‘Kiss the Girl’ because people have gotten very sensitive about the idea that [Prince Eric] would, in any way, force himself on [Ariel],” the composer said.
“We have some revisions in ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ regarding lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn’t speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice,” Menken also said while speaking with Vanity Fair.
Actress Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel in the newest film version, said there were shifts in the narrative which she fully supported. Bailey told Edition magazine in April that the film “definitely changed its perspective of [Ariel] just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy. It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.”
“The Little Mermaid” debuts in theaters on May 26.
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)
Katie Jerkovich contributed to this report.