- Adaptation Displacement: The film was mistaken for Disney's live action remake (which hadn't even entered production yet), but is entirely an original separate story based on the source material. It does apply similar Adaptation Deviation to the source material though - the mermaid surviving, the character who turns her human becoming the villain. Didn't stop it being attacked for attempting to exploit this for ticket sales.
- Angst? What Angst?: Elle displays almost no angst over her parents' death, although it is lampshaded in the opening.
- Anti-Climax Boss: Locke is defeated quite easily in a quick magic battle with Thora.
- Ass Pull: Thora's new powers in the third act come out of nowhere with no foreshadowing. The film attempts to Hand Wave them by saying she was afraid to use them around Locke, but they are still a little too convenient to help the protagonists escape. It also begs the question of why Thora didn't just use them to help Elizabeth escape before?
- Awesome Music: "When This Story Ends", courtesy of Poppy Drayton's amazing singing voice. The song is already quite popular on YouTube.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The "When This Story Ends" sequence teeters on the edge. Elizabeth just randomly starts singing a full "I Want" Song when the film isn't a musical. Sure the song is diegetic but it does seem a little out of place, especially since she doesn't display a beautiful singing voice at any other part of the film.
- Girl-Show Ghetto: Detractors of the film often label it "something for people to distract their daughters with".
- Moe: Elle manages to be quite charming and cute in the face of her circumstances.
- Locke's hammy "Elizabeth!" when he realises she's gone.
- The film's abrupt shift from Magic Realism to straight up children's fantasy in the final act. It's very jarring and feels like the climax of a different story. The first half is more like FairyTale: A True Story or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in tone, while the last is more like Hocus Pocus.
- The confrontation between Sid (Locke's henchman) and the dog man is treated as if it's an important payoff for a character we've literally just been introduced to, and a villain who has never said more than two lines per scene.
- The sheer plot convenience of Thora being able to start a car with her powers. How exactly has she been kept prisoner all these years?
- One-Scene Wonder: Gina Gershon as Peggy Gene - the fast talking Genki Girl who goes on about the miracle elixir.
- The Scrappy: Locke, not for being the villain. But for being a dull, cliche'd villain who doesn't seem to have any clear motives.
- So Okay, It's Average: Despite the film's myriad of script problems and a little too much cuteness, Poppy Drayton is quite charming as Elizabeth, the love between Cam and Elle feels quite real and there are some other nice moments bringing it up to average.
- Special Effect Failure: Locke's death is a very terrible green screen shot of him falling into the sea. You don't even see him go off the cliff.
- Strangled by the Red String: Not a romantic example, but the friendship between Elizabeth and Elle starts being treated as a big deal quite early on. They share two scenes together before acting like best friends, and they barely interact until the escape scene. Averted with Elizabeth and Cam's romance - which is developed much better.
- Tastes Like Diabetes:
- The two granddaughters in the Framing Device are almost insufferably sweet.
- There's also the final scene between Elle and Cam, where they go out to roleplay a game about fairies.
- Took the Bad Film Seriously: Poppy Drayton. Even the reviewers that trashed the film have nothing but praise for her charming emotional performance as Elizabeth. More importantly, she demonstrated a beautiful singing voice. In fact the "When This Story Ends" sequence is starting to become more popular than the movie itself.
- Tough Act to Follow: Locke has to follow Ursula of the Disney version - widely one of the most beloved villains of all time - and he doesn't quite cut it.
YMMV / The Little Mermaid (2018)