Tuesday, February 4, 2020
When I wrote my previous post on Disney's `The Little Mermaid' I only talked about how rebellion shouldn't be treated as a role model. I think I did the movie an injustice.
`The Little Mermaid' is one of my favorite Disney movies ever, and that's because, to me, there are some pretty allegorical moments.
The temptation scene is masterful, the way the eels watch Ariel and wait until she's most vulnerable to come at her; the fact that she doesn't give in right away. They have to work to convince her, pressuring her to make a decision while she's still hurt and angry. Then the way she throws her hurt back on Sebastian, using his mistake as an excuse not to listen to him, how that attitude shows that she's going to the Sea Witch as much from anger at her father and friends as from her fascination with Prince Eric... her conflicting emotions are just beautiful. Then there's that moment in the doorway where you can see on her face that she's realized this is a really bad idea and nearly turns back -only to keep going when Ursula calls out to her.
To me, that whole scene is a warning- a reminder not to let people pressure you into doing wrong and stupid things, and also not to tell yourself that you've already come too far to turn back. Maybe just as importantly, not to go into self-destruction mode as a `take that' to those who care about you.
The really allegorical bit is the end, where her father, King Triton is willing to take her place, her punishment. Yeah, the movie isn't a perfect allegory (the end falls apart in that regard) but where King Triton signs his name over Ariel's on the contract it always makes me think about God, and how Jesus took our punishment when he didn't have to- when he didn't deserve it.
Because, despite all our rebellion, all our `take thats' he still loved us that much.