The Little Mermaid (2023) Story Recap

The Little Mermaid’s World

The sea God, King Triton, has seven daughters that represent the seven oceans. His youngest is Ariel, the little mermaid. Ariel has always dreamed of going to the human world. Being banished from ever going to land and joined by her friends – Flounder the fish and Scuttle the seagull – Ariel often wonders what the human world is like. King Triton sends Sebastian the crab to keep an eye on Ariel and to tell her why meeting the humans is not a good idea.

However, Ariel’s attention is sidetracked when she notices the fireworks on land, Ariel comes out to the surface of the sea to find Prince Eric, a young man whom she instantly falls in love with. Just like Ariel, Prince Eric is misunderstood by his family which draws Ariel closer to him. However, a storm breaks out in the sea that causes Prince Eric’s ship to sink.

The almost meet-cute

Ariel saves Prince Eric and wakes him up all thanks to hearing her melodious singing voice. Prince Eric is taken back to the palace by the guards after they find him on the shore. Before Prince Eric can see her, Ariel scurries back into the ocean. But, once she makes it back down to the sea, she is met with King Triton, who assumes that she has fallen in love with a merman.

Sebastian tells King Triton that Ariel has fallen in love with a human, which infuriates the sea king. King Triton lashes out at Ariel and as a punishment, destroys the statue of Prince Eric that she had saved from the ruins of his drowned ship. He banishes Ariel from going to the surface. Prince Eric cannot seem to forget Ariel’s voice and sends his men to look for the girl that saved his life.

Queen Selina, his mother, does not want the Prince to go back to the sea and banishes him from taking the ship to the sea again. Meanwhile, underwater, the Sea Witch, Ursula sends her minions to lure Ariel into her den. She speaks badly of her brother – King Triton tries to sully his reputation to trap Ariel.

The witch’s trap

Ursula tries her level best to fill Ariel’s ears against King Triton and convinces her to crack a deal with her. She promises to exchange Ariel’s fish tail with legs by using a spell. Ursula also tells Ariel that since Prince Eric could easily recognise Ariel from her voice, she would be taking her voice away. She tells Ariel that if she would be able to make Eric fall in love with her true self in 3 days and have him kiss her, Ariel would get her voice back.

Ariel starts questioning her decision but eventually gives into Ursula’s scheme and makes the deal by giving up a scale from her fishtail to seal the spell. Ariel finds that her tail had been turned into legs and tries her best to swim up to the surface. With her voice gone, Flounder asks Sebastian to accompany Ariel on land. Ariel gets caught by a fisherman who clothes her and brings her to Prince Eric’s palace.

At the Palace, Ariel notices how the sea creatures are all seen as commodities to humans and wonders if her father was right all along. She is groomed and given a change of clothes before Prince Eric comes to see her. He assumes that Ariel was the girl who saved his life. However, when Prince Eric learns that Ariel cannot speak, he leaves her alone.

Just Kiss The Girl

Ariel finds herself looking around the palace when she enters one of Prince Eric’s rooms. Whilst there, she finds that Prince Eric too has a collection of items he has picked up from the sea. The two start bonding when Eric takes Ariel around the city. Despite her inability to verbally communicate with Eric, the prince finds himself interested in Ariel.

Sebastian learns that Ursula had cast another spell on Ariel, making her forget that she needed to kiss Eric before the third sunset. He takes the help of Scuttle, Flounder and other sea creatures to secretly convince Prince Eric into kissing Ariel. Just as Prince Eric tries to kiss Ariel, Ursula’s minions tip the boat over causing the two to fall into the water, ruining the moment.

The Prince is trapped by a spell

Ursula is unable to understand how Ariel managed to make Prince Eric fall for her. She decides to take matters into her own hands and transforms herself into a human woman named Vanessa. She disguises her own voice into Ariel’s voice and starts singing the call that Prince Eric remembers from when Ariel saved him.

The next morning, Ariel wakes up when Scuttle tells her and Sebastian that the Prince had announced that he’s getting married. Assuming that the Prince’s to-be bride is Ariel, the trio gets excited. However, Ariel soon learns that Prince Eric is marrying a different girl. The people in his life are also confused by the sudden change in Eric’s behaviour after meeting Vanessa.

Ursula is exposed

Ariel accepts her fate and goes away from the palace. Scuttle ends up hearing Ariel’s voice from one of the rooms and learns that Vanessa is actually Ursula. She tells Ariel the truth and the little mermaid decides to stop the wedding before sunset to expose Ursula’s plans. Ariel makes it just in time and manages to stop Prince Eric from marrying Ursula.

She breaks Ursula’s necklace and gets her voice back. Prince Eric is released from his trance and is about to kiss Ariel when the sun sets. Vanessa starts laughing maniacally when Ariel turns into a mermaid. Vanessa transforms into Ursula, the Sea With and takes Ariel with her to the sea. She tells Ariel that King Triton was always her target and that Ariel was a ploy in getting the sea king to submit to her.

A father’s sacrifice

King Triton learns that Ariel had returned to the sea and pays Ursula a visit. Ursula tells King Triton that Ariel had to die in order to fulfil the deal they had made. King Triton agrees to barter and exchanges his life in order to save his daughter. Ursula willingly takes the barter and takes the crown to become the new Sea Queen.

Prince Eric is determined to go against his mother and decides to go find Ariel. He takes his boat into the ocean and goes looking for Ariel. In the meantime, Ariel is shaken by the death of King Triton and is unwilling to accept that her father gave up his life to save her. She starts fighting Ursula but is unable to overpower the now-powerful, Sea Queen. Ursula is about to kill Ariel as well when an arrow coming from the surface distracts her.

The final battle

Both Eric and Ariel start fighting Ursula, braving the storm and many other challenges the new Sea Queen throws at them. The scuffle causes a lot of debris to rise from under the ocean. Ariel and Eric find themselves on two different ships that had come up to the surface of the sea because of the storm. Ariel manages to navigate the broken ship in a way to kill Ursula in the process.

As soon as Ursula dies, King Triton is brought back to life. Ariel is still not allowed to see Prince Eric while the prince is kept from going back to the sea. However, as time passes, King Triton finally realizes that Eric is different in comparison to other humans that he thought were evil. He finally agrees to let Ariel go on and live her life by changing her fishtail into legs.

How does The Little Mermaid end?

Ariel makes it back to the Palace and reunites with Prince Eric. The prince is happy to see Ariel and kisses her. They eventually get married and start going on different adventures as a couple. The merpeople and humans now live in harmony and Ariel promises to meet her friends, Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle, from time to time as the movie comes to an end.


Read More: The Little Mermaid (2023) Movie Review

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