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'Little Mermaid' live-action film to update lyrics to teach consent

By Camille Santiago Published Apr 06, 2023 11:56 am

Disney wants to teach consent to its audience by updating some of its lyrics that may seem problematic for modern viewers.

The Little Mermaid composer Alan Menken told Vanity Fair that the lyrics of two original songs from the 1989 animated film have been updated for the new live-action remake.

In Kiss the Girl, Sebastian is encouraging Prince Eric to take the leap and kiss Ariel, singing: "Yes, you want her - There is one way to ask her - It don't take a word - Not a single word - Go on and kiss the girl." Meneken said, without specifying which lines were to be updated, that the song might imply that it's okay to force oneself.

"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 said.

He also added that they have revised some parts of Poor Unfortunate Songs, which is a song sung by Ursula, tempting Ariel to give up her voice. One verse could be regarded as encouraging young women to keep quiet.

The lyric goes: "Yes, on land it's much preferred / For ladies not to say a word / And after all, dear, what is idle prattle for? / Come on, they're not all that impressed with conversation / True gentlemen avoid it when they can / But they dote and swoon and fawn / On a lady who's withdrawn / It's she who holds her tongue who gets a man."

Menken said: "We have some revisions in Poor Unfortunate Souls regarding lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn’t speak out of turn."

Aside from that, fans can expect four new songs that have been co-created with Lin-Manuel Miranda. One of which is Wild Unchartered Waters by Prince Eric. Another is a song by Ariel for when she discovers new things after getting legs. The last two are Scuttlebutt and Impossible Child” for King Triton.

The Little Mermaid, which stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, premieres on May 26.