Remember the polyps in Ursula's cave? How they grabbed onto Ariel? They were trying to SAVE HER.
This troper has always wondered why Eric's boots comes off in the ocean, and is barefoot when Ariel brings him ashore, as boots cannot come off in the water that easily. Then it hit me. Eric's bare feet being seen is meant to highlight something Eric, a human, has, but Ariel, a mermaid, does not have, and is obviously something (along with legs) she'd need if she wanted to be with him!
Ursula the Sea Witch angrily refers to Ariel as "the little tramp" because she almost got Prince Eric to kiss her, even though she can't speak. Well, Charlie Chaplin, the brilliant silent movie star, was most famous for his "Little Tramp" character, who of course was never heard speaking. Dendarii Dame
In the beginning scenes of the movie, the sailors and Eric are commenting on the perfect sailing weather, and the sailors say that it must be because Triton is in a good mood, letting Eric know that Triton was, in legend, king of the sea. While they were either joking or being superstitious, Triton was in a good mood: he was about to watch his youngest daughter's musical debut. When she didn't show up and he found out that she went to the surface instead, he was furious at her and later got upset over how harshly he spoke to her. So maybe it is the sailors' superstition, but Triton happened to be in a bad mood when Eric and his men got caught up in the storm at night.
Ursula is supposed to be half-octopus, but she has six tentacles instead. That is, unless if you count her arms as limbs, which means that she actually indeed has eight limbs from the start.
Octopuses are one of those animals that mutate horribly easily - they've been found with less than eight, right up to dozens of tentacles.
During the chanting part of Ursula's song, one of the words she says in the song is laryngitis aka a disease that makes you lose your voice!
The line is "Larynxes, glossitis, ad max laryngitis, la voce to me." Larynx is the voicebox, glossits is an inflammation of the tounge, la voce is Latin for voice, etc.
Ursula's human alias is Vanessa. Vanessa is a genus of butterfly. Butterflies are well-known as the masters of metamorphosis and mimicry.
While this version cut out much of the darker material in Hans Christian Andersen's story, it does include a sly reference to the tale's Bittersweet Ending. The film names the mermaid Ariel, which at first glance is simply a reference to the air-spirit of the same name in The Tempest. But at the end of Andersen's original story, the mermaid makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save the prince she loves and throws herself into the ocean to become sea foam; instead of ceasing to exist, she's rewarded for her goodness by becoming an air spirit. - TechnicolorPachyderm
When you remember that Ursula was inspired by a crossdresser it makes a lot of sense why she wants Ariel's voice. So she cam be more of a woman.
Ursula's first appearance has her lamenting that she's "wasted away into nothing," and "practically starving." At first, you laugh at it, seeing how, er—big, she still is. But wait... if she genuinely believes she's wasted away and feels starved...how big was she beforehand??? Oh God, please don't tell me her One-Winged Angel form was her previous true form, oh God, please...
It could be taken metaphorically - when she lived in the palace she was wealthy and powerful and respected - probably the equivalent of the court magician - and now she's become a nobody.
Ariel signing that contract is effectively her signing away her soul. And without your soul you become a polyp. When I was young, I always figured that was what people look like without souls. When I heard about the sad ending of the original where the Little Mermaid dissolved into foam at the end because mermaids apparently don't have souls, it just made even more sense.
So Ursula is supposed to have an octopus lower torso. But if you consider the fact that in real life, that's where the octopus' mouth is supposed to be, what is supposed to be the octopus' mouth in real life becomes's Ursula's anus!
Actually, this makes even more sense when you learn from the supplements that she may or may not have been in love with Ariel's father.
Their mother's name is Athena. The goddess Athena had a problem with the god of the sea, Poseidon. The mother is never shown. Um, wait, what?
But the mother is shown in the prequel and I'm not sure what the Fridge Horror of that is anyway.
It is possible the original post refers to one of the many, many interpretations of Greek myth where Poseidon raped Athena and then stole the children from her that he fathered. It must be pointed out that Athena being present in tie-in films means nothing to the 75% of the fandom that denies their very existence - this Fridge Horror entry works especially well if you believe that there is only one film in which Aerial's mother is practically never mentioned.
Her father is Triton whose the son of Poseidion and while Athena does hold gruges in the stories she doesn't tend to punish Poseision's children for it.
What exactly do Merfolk eat? Because before anyone replies with the answer a diet of seaweed and other assorted underwater plants I will point to the fact that they very clearly have evolved meat tearing teeth; if they were designed to eat nothing but roughage their teeth would be large and flat just like every other herbivore. So... all those completely and absolutely sapient, laughing singing and dancing, brightly coloured jolly fish would have at some point in recent history been a Mermaid's dinner. And they were probably begging for their life as they did it. This not only casts a whole new light on the Merfolk hatred for humans (a past they would rather forget perhaps?) it actually makes Ariel's relationship with Flounder seem rather creepy in retrospect.
Kelp. They eat kelp.
Perhaps krill. They're a good source of protein and too small to converse with on a one on one basis.
So, Ariel's got three days to charm True Love's Kiss out of Eric, right? But she doesn't really know the guy at all, he's just a pretty face that she's projected her love of the surface onto. What would have happened if he'd fallen in love and kissed her, but she had realized in that time that she wasn't truly in love with him?
Sent Flounder or Sebastian to ger her father and had him change her back. Sure, she'd still be mute and Eric would be heartbroken but that's just something she'd have to live with.
The confrontation between Ariel and Triton when he discovers her grotto full of human treasures is unsettling enough at first. Then he pulls out his trident and starts blasting them all to pieces directly in front of her. With him in a rage and her desperately trying to stop him, and then trying to save her things from being destroyed - in all the chaos, it's not hard to imagine how easily she could have accidentally gotten in his line of fire...
Ursula, being extremely Genre Savvy for a Disney villain, removes the one thing that her victims would find most helpful to fulfil their contract to her. In Ariel's case it was her voice to make it ridiculously hard for Eric fall in love and impart that one true kiss. So what the hell did Ursula take away from that Mermaid who just wanted to be thinner during Poor Unfortunate Souls in order for her to fail her contract? because I have horrible images of the poor thing gorging herself to bursting point after Ursula stole her self-control.
A conversation of the creepy things Disney gets away with in kids movies brought me to the sudden realization that the Little Mermaid is, at heart, a watered down version of Faust. Both protaganists feel they've reached the heights of their current lives, both make a Deal with the Devil to pursue a life they believe will bring them more happiness, both fixiate on a love interest which leads to them messing up royally, ruining the lives (permanently or temporarily) of a bunch of people, both end up being redeemed at the end. The original Hans Christian Anderson version of the Little Mermaid even more strongly parallels this, as much of the mermaid's motivation was to receive a soul, and at the end of the story she did, sort of. After suffering and dying, instead of just being dead, she is made into a spirit and given the chance of eventually earning a soul. In Faust by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe and subsequent adaptations, Faust's soul is eventually redeemed after he goes to great lengths to make up for the guilt of ruining Gretchen. In fact, Anderson could have drawn from elements of Faust, as he was well educated, and the legend of Faust predated him by at least 200 years.
Upon a rewatching with friends this troper remembered Ariel's age, 16. At the end of the film she gets married. At least in the sequel we don't know how old she is when she had her daughter.
It could be worse. In some parts of the USA people can marry as young as 14. In some Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, girls can be married off as young as nine. Yeah, think about that for a minute...
Note: in the U.S. where marriages below 18 are allowed parental consent is required for those that are not legal adults. Anyways, concerning Ariel's age, people used to grow up much faster than they do now, the concept of 'teenager' as we know it being a relatively recent thing. If it bugs you enough, feel free to imagine a bit of a time skip between Ariel's second transformation into a human and the wedding.