The live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is one of the most anticipated film releases of 2023. Several changes have been made to the 1989 original cartoon to be more inclusive. In addition, Disney announced Halle Bailey would reprise the role of Ariel in July 2019, making her the first Black actor to take on the iconic part.
As audiences prepare for a May 26 theatrical release, composer Alan Menken shared that The Little Mermaid’s original score has changed.
“There are some lyric changes in “Kiss the Girl” because people have gotten very sensitive about the idea that [Prince Eric] would, in any way, force himself on [Ariel],” Menken told Vanity Fair.
Changes may be brought to the following lyrics, as written in Glamour UK.
“Yes, you want her / Look at her, you know you do / Possible she wants you too / There is one way to ask her / It don’t take a word / Not a single word / Go on and kiss the girl.”
The lyrics suggest Prince Eric doesn’t need Ariel’s verbal approval to kiss her, even though she has lost her voice.
Revisions have also been made to “Poor Unfortunate Souls” regarding “lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn’t speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice,” Menken shared.
In 1990, Menken won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for The Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea.” The song “Kiss the Girl” was nominated for an Oscar in the same category. In addition, Menken composed the scores of fan-favorite Disney movies such as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
The 73-year-old composer also helped produce four new songs for the live-action remake. Songs include Prince Eric’s “Wild Unchartered Waters,” Scuttle and Sebastian’s track entitled “Scuttlebutt,” a song for Ariel when she has her legs, and King Triton’s “Impossible Child” — which was cut from the final edit of the film.
Watch the trailer for The Little Mermaid below: