It is said that everyone has a soul mate, someone with whom they are destined to fall in love and be with for the rest of their lives, regardless of age, gender, geography...
...or, it seems, species.Splash
is a 1984 romantic comedy directed by Ron Howard
, surrounding the fairy-tale romance between Allen Bauer (Tom Hanks
) and the mermaid (Daryl Hannah
) who rescued him from drowning as a boy. Allen grew to adulthood, believing the young mermaid he saw in the water was only a hallucination, until she again saves him from drowning - but in doing so appears on the radar of Dr. Walter Kornbluth, an eccentric scientist who wants to prove the existence of mythical creatures like mermaids.
The mermaid seeks him out on land (she develops legs when her tail is dry), coming ashore on Liberty Island to track him down with information from his wallet, dropped during his latest dip in the ocean. As she has no concept of clothing
, she is arrested for indecent exposure, and the cops release her into Allen's custody, based on the wallet she carries. But Kornbluth is hot on her trail, and he has scientific pursuits in mind for her...
Can these star-crossed lovers find romance? Can she convince Allen that his series of failed romances are just destiny knocking him on the head? What will their kids look like?
The film was followed by a TV movie sequel
which recast all the lead parts and, despite a good performance by Amy Yasbeck as the replacement Madison, fell squarely into garbage territory.Splash
was the first movie released by Disney
under the Touchstone Pictures
label (then known as "Touchstone Films").
"Allen Bauer thought he'd never find the right trope. He was only half wrong.":
- Apparently Human Merfolk: What Allen becomes at the end of the first movie, no tail like Madison but he can now breathe underwater
- Big Applesauce
- Bittersweet Ending
- Butt Monkey: Dr. Kornbluth
- Kornbluth is arguably more of a Woobie given his backstory and Heel-Face Turn.
- Calling Your Brother Out/What the Hell, Hero?/Dumbass Has a Point: Allen was mortified and angry when he finds out Madison, the one person he has come to love, is a mermaid. He starts rambling about how "people fall in love every day", and he ends up with (in his word) a "fish". However, his Plucky Comic Relief brother Freddie berates him for giving up on Madison, tells him that "people fall in love every day" is nonsense, and people can never be as happy as Allen felt when he was with Madison.
Allen: People fall in love every day, and look what I got.
Freddie: People fall in love every day, is that what you said? Yeah? Well, that's a crock. It doesn't work that way. Some people will never be that happy! I'll never be that happy!
- Kornbluth also calls out the other scientists, especially Ross, for performing experiments on a non-consenting person, and planning to dissect her.
- The Cast Show Off: The mermaid tail Daryl Hannah wore was fully functional. The showoff part is that, ironically enough, Hannah had learned to swim mermaid style (legs together) since childhood since she was facinated by the story of The Little Mermaid. As a result, with the tail, she swam so fast, the safety divers couldn't keep up.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The movie starts out as a fairly light-hearted romance film. Then it gets a lot more serious when Madison's secret is exposed and she's taken prisoner by the government, endangering her life.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Allen and Freddy's secretary, who was hit in the head with lightning.
- Crazy Consumption: Madison with the lobster. (which required some Enforced Method Acting as the vegetarian Daryl Hannah didn't want to eat the lobster before Ron Howard duped her into it...)
- Cute but Cacophonic: Don't ask Madison to speak her native language above water.
- Dirty Kid: Freddie was perverted even as a child.
- The Ditz: The brothers who help Kornbluth
- Does Not Like Shoes: Madison, despite acquiring shoes not long after finding Allen.
- Elevator Going Down
- Fanservice: You know which scene.
- Fish out of Water: Quite literally
- Fourth Date Marriage
- Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: During the rescue.
- Godiva Hair: When Madison arrives to Liberty Island, she's only covered by her hair.
- Haven't You Seen X Before?:
Freddie: What are you looking at? You never seen a guy who slept with a fish before? Get back to work!
- Heel-Face Turn: Dr. Kornbluth, upon learning that his colleagues plan to dissect Madison.
- The Hilarity of Hats: Stan the Tour Guide insists, "Do not touch my hat. Do not EVER touch my hat."
- I Take Offense to That Last One: "No one here, just me and the moron twins." "We're not twins!"
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Kornbluth
- Inhumanable Alien Rights: Because, apparently, dissecting a sentient human-like being wouldn't really put a dent in anyone's careers.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Madison makes a spectacular landfall in search of Allen.
- Insane Proprietor: Crazy Eddie scares mermaids.
- Instant Expert: Madison was able to learn English from a single afternoon of watching television.
- Interspecies Romance: Wow, that got awkward in a hurry...
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Madison + water = mermaid.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Freddie. He may be lecherous, rude, and insensitive, but he has a good core.
- Karma Houdini: Dr. Ross
- Language of Love: Allen and Madison have a shag in an elevator before they even share a common language.
- And in the hallway. And in the kitchen. And on top of the fridge??
- Large Ham: Dr. Kornbluth
- Line-of-Sight Name: Madison picks her name from a street sign.
- Love at First Sight
- Loveable Sex Maniac: Freddy, who has been married countless times (even bringing a date to one of his own weddings), writes letters to Penthouse and will pick up multiple women in one night. However, he's still our Plucky Comic Relief who believes in true love.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Kornbluth.
- Magical Girlfriend
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Madison has a healthy set of lungs... er, gills... oh, whatever...
- Mermaid Problem: Solved with the dry land = legs solution. The press points it out when they hound Allen with their ridiculous questions.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Allen and Madison meet as children, and instantly fall in love.
- Misplaced Vegetation: Madison is supposed to be swimming around Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The problem is that she swims past coral reefs, and there are no coral reefs near Cape Cod since the water is too cold. Those scenes were actually filmed in The Bahamas.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Dr. Kornbluth, when he learns they're going to kill the mermaid. All he wanted was to show people he's not crazy.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: When Dr. Kornbluth tries to pass off Allen and Freddie as visiting Swedish scientists to get them into the research facility where Madison is being held, a suspicious guard asks Allen and Freddie in Swedish, "What are two Swedish scientists doing so far from Sweden?" The guard jovially allows them entry after Freddie tentatively responds in Swedish, "Hey, babe! I got a twelve inch penis." Freddie later explains that he picked up some Swedish phrases from watching hundreds of hours of Swedish pornography.
- Naked First Impression: Madison being nude on the beach when Allen sees her in adult human form for the first time.
- Naked on Arrival: Madison has no clothes when she transforms into human form so her first encounters on the beach with Allen and outside the Statue of Liberty have her naked.
- Naked People Are Funny: What's really funny is Madison's reaction to people seeing her naked.
- Nipple and Dimed: Despite the Godiva Hair, there are a few underwater shots where the hair doesn't cover Madison's... uh, headlights.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: In an earlier drafts, a sea hag tells the mermaid that she can only stay on land for six days to find her human lover, and she must wet her tail every day. The finished product simplifies things by ruling that wet=tail, and dry=legs.
- This subplot makes sense, since Madison has to return to sea after six days or she "can never come back" and why Allen can't return to land.
- Non-human Lover Reveal: The first time she gets wet.
- Painful Transformation: Ron Howard wanted something like this for the bathtub sequence, but decided it would ruin the appeal of the character.
- Playing with Syringes: When Allen goes to confront Kornbluth he is at the dentist. Expecting Allen to attack him, he grabs the syringe of anesthesia to defend himself.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: What nudity taboo?
- Rapunzel Hair: Madison
- Starfish Language: "[My name is] hard to say in English..."
- Tail Slap: Madison does this to some of the military soldiers near the end of the movie.
- They Would Cut You Up: One of the impending examinations when Madison is rescued is implied to be dissection, or possibly even vivisection.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Allen starts acting this way over Madison's strange behavior and her reluctance to marry him. Then he starts being sarcastic towards her, which upsets her and she runs away for a while. Allen regrets acting that way. But this gives Madison some time for consideration of whether or not to stay with him.
- Underwater Kiss: Must be a mermaid thing.
- The Unpronounceable: Madison's real name.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: It's quite an endorsement of the greatness of the Statue of Liberty that a beautiful naked woman could be walking around and nobody notices her until the tour guide brings her to their attention.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Freddy was last seen about to be arrested by the feds. If he goes to prison, and Allen never comes back, who's going to run the company?
- He turns up un-imprisoned in the sequel
- Your Universe or Mine?: When Madison must go back to the ocean, she tells Allen that he can go with her, but he will never be able to return to land. It is never explained why, perhaps it may have to do with the sea hag subplot. Still, he was reluctant at first but accepts readily after saving her from government frogmen.
- It's somewhat a Bittersweet Ending. The bitter part is Allen will never see his brother, friends, or even Kornbluth again. The sweet part is being with Madison always.
- Whitewashed in the sequel, as Madison reveals that she was just kidding and that it's actually perfectly okay for them to go back to land.
- It's possible it was a test question, how much would a human be willing to give up for his aquatic lover? Once Madison realized Allen was really going to stay with her, it was safe to tell him the truth.