Quick Thoughts on Halle Bailey Live Action ‘Little Mermaid’ Casting

I’ve been wary of the creative direction of this project and the casting choices that have come along with it. Upon learning Halle Bailey (the second part to the Grammy nominated sister duo Chloe x Halle) has been cast as Ariel, my faith has been restored. My skin nourished and cleared. The sun is shining and the seas are free of pollution. What a time to be alive.

According to Variety , director Rob Marshall had the singer and actress in mind all along. Of her, Marshall was quoted as saying, “Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance.”

Many fans on social media had been campaigning for the likes of Zendaya, Ariana Grande, and even Riverdale’s Madeline Petsch. Bailey is a revelation on Freeform’s Grown-ish, frequently landing some of the best quips and one-liners. It will be interesting to see how she translates that sardonic realness over to this role as Ariel is known for being headstrong and adventurous, if a bit naive. 

If we take into account that this is, at its heart, a musical that centers around the draw of it’s main characters voice, Bailey is a pretty strong choice. She has such an angelic, siren-like range it’s impossible not to imagine how Prince Eric would risk it all after hearing a good run. Just listen to the talent! The FLAVOR!

I’m honestly not ready. Like Robert Pattinson as Batman, it’s one of those left-field castings that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. 

In response to this casting, Disney and Bailey have received a barrage of criticism online and it has reminded me that Disney fans are no worse than comic book purists that stand as gatekeepers to the fandom. It’s honestly exhausting and if they boycott I’ll be happy that they won’t be in line at the theatre taking up all the breathing space with their negative energy.  

joanne-tenor
Tenor

There’s nothing about Ariel’s fair skin tone that’s especially integral to her story or character arc. You can sub anyone in and it would remain the same. The red hair, a striking design choice that makes her stand out amongst the other mermaids, is a must though. Of course, slapping a red wig on Bailey’s gorgeous locs would be a mistake. I hope they integrate them into her character design and dye them red. 

Although he did the music for the animated movie, I’m not totally crazy about Alan Menken returning for yet another live action adaptation. I think his sound worked well for more classical sounding arrangements for Beauty and the Beast but the slightly modernized re-interpretation of the music from Aladdin left much to be desired. Apparently, he’s getting help from “Hamilton: An America Musical” creator Lin Manuel Miranda who previously produced the music for Disney’s Moana. Miranda has a very distinct sound so I am praying that it will mesh well with Menken’s and, most importantly, complement Bailey’s unique voice.

Along with iconic 1989 songs, some new music will be thrown in the mix. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll be listening to the Little Mermaid Original Soundtrack and Chloe x Halle music on a loop. And if you are still an unbeliever just listen to the enchanting opening to this late night performance.

Captain America’s Ending: Please Return to Sender

If Avengers: Infinity War is about the fall, about failure, then Avengers: Endgame revolves around avenging the fallen (it’s the damn tagline!), i.e the people that were dusted during Thanos’ snap.

Out of the original six Avengers, Tony Stark and Thor (cheap fat jokes notwithstanding) are given arcs with the best set up and pay off. They make decisions that are within character and reason. Everyone else, not so much. Hulk is mostly fine but his internal conflict is handled off screen. And don’t even get me started on the arbitrary Natasha/Clint soulstone debacle. Forget all that. I’m here today to talk about Captain America, the last five minutes of Endgame, and how it is ultimately an indictment of his moral character and a misrepresentation of Bucky and Peggy’s importance in his life. Continue reading “Captain America’s Ending: Please Return to Sender”

Ranking the ‘Aladdin’ Songs

I’m still on an Aladdin kick several days after seeing it. For a musical it doesn’t boast a lot of music but the catchiness of the tunes makes up for that. In order to purge it from my system I’ve been listening to the soundtrack–as such, in my expert opinion (as someone who has listened to it an obsessive amount of times back to back) I have compiled a definitive ranking of the Aladdin musical numbers. Continue reading “Ranking the ‘Aladdin’ Songs”