A dark but beautiful fairy tale - Anderson would be proud
A. Grossman | Florence, Oregon USA | 07/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the familiar version of the Little Mermaid that Disney hasn't destroyed. In her search for love the little Russalka brings tragedy to all except the very selfish Princess. Set in the early Middle Ages the film is gorgeous and well acted. Viktoriya Dovikova is the Little Mermaid and sems almost unearthly. She is beautifully cast and brings warmth to her very tragic character as we really feel her longing and pain. This and the Czech Three Wishes For Cinderella are two wonderful fairy tales that are not well knwon in the West yet should be, though the first is not for children."
JR Corry | Fl | 07/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll never understand why people who love the original version of this tale bash the Disney movie. I don't agree at all that Disney "destroyed" the story; in fact, it's because of tragic tales like Andersen's that I'm glad happy endings are still around. Having said that, I do love this film. The little mermaid is a sweet ocean being looking for love in a land-prince who she saved from death in the sea. Of course, he thinks a spoiled princess is the one who saved him and completely dotes on her, totally unaware of the angelic mermaid's true worth..or the terrible price she'll have to pay if he doesn't return her love.
The casting in this film is superb: the prince is a gorgeous man with a noble look in his eyes that portrays his soul; the princess who claims to have saved him is a beautiful but cold-looking woman with a face like carved porcelain. The mermaid herself is innocence and purity incarnate: as a mermaid she has aqua hair which makes her pretty face look impish; as a human, she has golden hair which haloes her face and enhances her angelic look.
The story's great, too; while it has all the sentiments of the original tale, the writers added some very imaginative changes: for one thing, the sea-witch is actually a land-witch with a hilarious personality who aids the mermaid in her quest for love. One of my favorite changes is that the mermaid gives up her hair rather than her voice so she can actually talk to the prince (huzzah!). There's also a new character, a vagabond, who loves the mermaid and knows her secret. One of the biggest changes involves the ending (which I won't tell you :)
The film also examines the characters closely and changes their dimensions a bit: the prince, while still clueless, has a definitely noble heart which makes him less frusterating than in the original tale. The spoiled princess, although she is thoughtlessly selfish in many ways, her fondness and kind treatment of the mermaid make it hard to dislike her entirely. Even the mermaid has more than one dimension; although her human heart is nearly flawless, as a mermaid she would thoughtlessly sink ships with her sisters. In fact, she saved the prince from a shipwreck that she herself helped cause; only her unexpected love for him saved him from watery death. The character study in this film is one of the story's strongest points.
The one true flaw in the film was, sadly, the mer-costuming; while the mermaids were lovely and mystical from the waist-up, their tails really didn't deserve the name. It's a shame, too, because the underwater photography and choreography are some of the best I've ever seen. Sorry to nitpick, but the obvious fakeness of the fins rather took away from the affect of their appearances. Other than that, I recommend the film. Even small kids could probably enjoy it, if they're not bothered by brief tasteful nudity."