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Ultra HD : Worth a Look
Release Date: September 19th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 2023

The Little Mermaid (2023) - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Walmart Exclusive)

Overview -

The Disney Live-Action Remake Machine keeps churning out content with Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid on 4K Ultra HD. A visual marvel, the new cast with Halle Bailey, Javier Bardem, and Melissa McCarthy is excellent, but the film is overlong adding almost another hour to the original with one pretty bad new song potentially throwing off the enjoyment for some viewers. On disc, the HDR10 transfer is genuinely beautiful and the Atmos is effective with some interesting bonus features to liven up the package. Worth A Look

The Little Mermaid is visionary filmmaker Rob Marshall’s live-action reimagining of Disney’s beloved animated musical classic, the story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy. “The Little Mermaid” is directed by Rob Marshall with a screenplay by David Magee, and is produced by Marc Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John DeLuca and Rob Marshall.


Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English Dolby Atmos, , Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English AD 2.0 Dolby Digital
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
September 19th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Ten years ago, the idea of The House of Mouse crafting live-action updates of their animated classics was a bit of a novelty. Alice in Wonderland was visually arresting in 3D even if it was a bit on the vapid side. The Jungle Book was a good bit of fun with some clever updates to the voice cast, and Cinderella was well, Cinderella but with a beautiful-looking human cast, and Beauty and the Beast had some worthwhile enchanting moments. While most of these films have just been relatively innocuous and fun ways for new parents to show their kids old favorites, the efforts have been rather dodgy of late.

The Lion King may have looked beautiful but the unemotive CGI lions (nothing was live-action about it), were lacking. Mulan was again just fine but not as much fun as the original. Cruella at least was a fun punk-infused origin story for the famous villain. Aladdin was pretty tough as Dumbo was a flop with Pinocchio being the worst offender as a hollow attempt to recapture the magic of the 1940 original. And here we are with Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid

Truthfully, I’ve never been a big fan of the original animated classic. It’s a fine film and I enjoy the songs, I love that the look of Ursula was based on Divine, but I never really had a strong connection with that one. I was a seven-year-old boy who loved Ninja Turtles and Batman at the time. So I thankfully wade into Marhsall’s update without that extra fandom baggage. On the whole, it’s a beautiful-looking update. Every frame is a virtual visual marvel of special effects and the songs are just as infectious as ever - the older classic original ones at least. 

Halle Bailey proves to be a wonderful Ariel giving everything she’s got to bring the character to life. Of the live-action update films we’ve seen thus far, I found her to be the biggest highlight and the best modern casting. Likewise, I enjoyed Javier Bardem as King Triton giving the character that perfect angry/irritated father vibe to give the character some new dimension. Even Melissa McCarthy is a fun-if-predictable addition as Ursula. That said, I would have thought it’d be clever and funny if they brought in John Travolta to complete his Divine run after his time with Hairspray

My main issue is this film has a bizarre need to pad things out. At two hours and fifteen minutes, it’s almost an entire hour longer than the 1989 classic. And after a while, you really do start to feel that hour. You can coast on visual effects and splendor for so long before you become numb to it all. I don’t mind Rob Marshall and team wanting to give Jonah Hauer-King’s Eric some more character dimension over the original film, but damn, this movie is just too long. Did this guy really need a wishing song? His backstory with adoptive parents and becoming a “leader” and their import politics is just overwrought filler. It’s called The Little Mermaid, let's keep the focus on the character that matters. And then I do have to wag a finger at Lin-Manuel Miranda for the ear-bleeding new Scuttlebutt song… 

Overall the film is fine. I found I was far more entertained by it than expected. It’s certainly better than Disney’s last few “live-action” outings and those quick to dismiss it without seeing it should give it a true shot. Like I said at the outset, I’m just not a big fan of The Little Mermaid in general, it’s not my favorite Disney movie. If I’m going to watch a flick about aquatic redheads falling in love with the surface world, give me Ponyo any day of the week and twice on Sunday. To that end, I’ll say Disney shouldn’t necessarily outright stop making these live-action updates, but maybe they should put a little more thought and time into them instead of just rushing to capitalize on the IP. These films should be as special as the classics that spawned them, but lately, these remakes are just shadows of past magnificence with intermittent shades of brilliance and creativity. 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Little Mermaid 2023 surfaces for its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release with a two-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital release from Disney. On a curious side of things, the standard 4K set seems to be a Movie Club exclusive so we were sent the Walmart Exclusive with a beautiful slipcover and exclusive enamel pin for review. Thankfully the pin is positioned inside the case where it shouldn't move or slip and shouldn't damage the discs while in transit. The discs are housed in a standard sturdy case with individual trays and aren’t stacked. The 4K is pressed on a BD-66 disc with a BD-50 for the 1080p.

NOTE: We haven't been able to rip the 4K disc yet so all images are sourced from the included 1080p disc. When we can we hope to update the pictures and maybe add a video sample. 

Video Review


Say what you will about the movie itself, The Little Mermaid hits a lovely stride on HDR10 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Bright, bold, and colorful - those primaries of the undersea kingdom leap off the screen. Fine details in facial features and the actual practical effects costuming look quite lovely. The surface world features far less CGI trickery so it obviously looks quite a bit more realistic with those fine details and clothing textures. With that in mind, the undersea sequences have an odd weightless quality to them. If there weren’t fish zipping around you could have told me characters were supposed to be flying and I’d believe you. This is an area where I feel like 3D would have been better considering all of the objects and critters that move in and around the screen. That’s more of a personal quibble really and not a transfer issue to speak of. 

HDR10 is well placed giving those bright lively colors the care and attention they deserve - at least most of the time. When the underwater scenes are in the full sun or in Ariel’s little treasure trove look quite nice. I was also impressed with Ursula’s underwater lair using purples and oranges with light greens to keep that sense of space and dimension lively without losing accent details into crush. All around this is a lovely transfer. I do wish Disney still issued 3-D discs stateside since the film really does look and feel like it’s meant to be seen that way, but as 2-D presentations go this is quite nice.

Audio Review


On the audio front, Disney delivers a respectable Atmos mix. Like a number of Disney Atmos tracks, it’s a fairly midlevel mix without a lot of huge peaks, deep lows, or intense pin-point object placement, but it’s far better than some of their past tracks. When Ariel swims around within the corals or in the sunken ships the big storm and ship explosion is pretty terrific. The busier the scene the better. If there’s not a lot of activity or only a single character on screen, the mix doesn’t really go out of its way to set a fully immersive soundscape. But when those music cues start to swell or when Ursula in human form appears on the beach, the build of the music cues and Ariel’s hypnotic tune echo into the surround channels and heights nicely. Then immediately after we’re beaten over the head with that previously mentioned and particularly grating hip-hop-infused song that works those channels out. So yes, it’s a good Atmos track. Not the greatest for the format, but better than past averages for the House of Mouse.

Special Features


As has been the case for Disney disc releases, bonus features appear on the included Blu-ray only. On the whole, this isn’t the biggest assortment of extras ever, but it’s pretty interesting and informative. I was most impressed with the Hotter Under Water featurettes giving a bigger look at how they accomplished the combination of live-action and CG worlds. Obviously, they didn’t Avatar 2 those swimming sequences but it was pretty cool to see how they were accomplished. After that is the typical assortment of behind-the-scenes materials with some time given to the songs. You’re getting about an hour’s worth of decent content - not counting the Sing-Along viewing option. 

  • Sing-Along Mode (accessed at play menu)

  • Hotter Under Water Featurettes (HD 26:15 Total)

    • A Tale of the Bottomless Blue

    • I Know Something’s Starting Right Now

    • Down Where It’s Wetter

    • Explore That Shore Up Above

    • Do What The Music Say

  • Song Breakdowns

    • Wild Uncharted Waters (HD 4:17)

    • Under The Sea (HD 5:18)

    • Kiss The Girl (HD 6:02)

    • Poor Unfortunate Souls (HD 6:41)

  • The Scuttlebutt on Sidekicks (HD 6:49)

  • Passing The Dingle Hopper (HD 3:55)

  • Bloopers (HD 2:00)

I didn’t love The Little Mermaid but I didn’t hate it. I’m not the biggest fan of the animated classic, but if nothing else this live-action remake makes me appreciate that film more. I wouldn’t call this new film “bad” but with so much padding it makes one long for the simplicity of the original. Again, that Scuttlebutt song… With that, I know a lot of people who loved this movie including three little nieces of mine who can’t wait to watch it again, and even knowing I’m not the target demographic, I’ll defer to their happiness if the time comes that I am to sit down in front of this film again. On 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the film makes a fine entry with a lovely HDR10 transfer with a lively enough Atmos track to match. Bonus features aren’t the most extensive ever produced but the curious should find some interesting tidbits to explore about the production. All in all, fans who caught it and loved it in theaters will want it on disc. Newcomers should at least consider it Worth A Look