The Little Mermaid (1989) Poster

Alternate Versions

For the re-release in 1998, some of the international versions were entirely re-dubbed. It has been claimed this was due to a bureaucratic error, but the real reason for this action was because the international companies were unhappy with the scripts on the earlier releases and wanted to be more faithful to the original dialogue. Many international fans disliked the new dubs, especially in Germany, where several petitions were set up to restore the old dub on DVD (which actually resulted in Disney including the old dub on the 2013 DVD/Blu-ray release). Other countries affected by the change were France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Poland, Thailand, Japan and Brazil.
For the 1997-1998 re-release, the end credits were changed to have altered music: a shorter version of "Under the Sea" and then "Part of Your World" as sung by Ariel.
In the Swedish VHS release, a few scenes have been cut. They include most of the song that Louis sings when he chops the fish (only the part when he discovers Sebastian is still in the film), some shots of Triton destroying Ariel's cavern, and some scenes between where Ursula says (towards the end) "Now I am the ruler of all the ocean. The waves obey my every whim" and where she is killed by Eric. This makes the Swedish dubbing on the DVD version a little odd, since these scenes are then in English. These problems has since been corrected for the newer Special Edition DVD, but the changes made to the dubbing are still noticeable to the trained ear.
A 2-disc Platinum Edition was released on DVD in October 2006. There are a handful of changes, as well as some things that only appear to be changed.
  • The most noteworthy change is that the infamous priest's knee has been smoothed out the first time it is seen. (For those who prefer accuracy, poke around disc 2 a little bit and see if you find some consolation.)
  • A few goofs have been corrected: the "bubble curtain" before "Daughters of Triton" is smoother and as Ariel and Eric begin their day out Grimsby's hand has been covered by Carlotta. Ariel's sisters' clam shells for their song are discolored a light green instead of light blue.
  • The end credits are sped up to contain restoration credits. What has not changed:
  • The original movie has some computer-generated elements (such as the ship and a staircase Ariel runs down); these are not new, and have been in the movie from its first release.
  • While the 1997-1998 re-release used a shorter version of "Under the Sea", followed by Ariel singing "Part of Your World", the original version (and the 2006 DVD) feature a slightly longer "Under the Sea" and a wordless choral arrangement of "Part of Your World," so the audio for the end credits is faithful to the original.
When the film was released on VHS in Norway, these three scenes were cut short: first, part of the shark chase; second, when Eric sees the dynamite, followed by the explosion; and third, when Ursula tries to shoot Ariel off the rock and then tries to kill her. The DVD has these scenes intact, however.
For the 2013 Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD/Blu-ray 3D/Digital HD release,
  • The original 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo was replaced by the 2011 Disney logo.
  • The opening scene fades in a few seconds earlier than any other version.
  • The opening credits were starting earlier than any other version, and the Silver Screen Partners IV credit was omitted in this release.
  • The dissolve from "you really are a guppy" to Scuttle's first scene is cut short. This was corrected and an exchange program was created to replace the Blu-ray/DVD discs with the mistake.
  • Two shots at the end of "Part of Your World" scene were in the wrong order: Ariel should sink before the reaction shot of Flounder. This was corrected and an exchange program was created to replace Blu-ray/DVD discs with the mistake.
  • The end credits contain the 3D conversion credits. The overall length and audio content generally seems the same as the original. A few previous changes from the 2006 DVD have been undone and reflect the film's original look:
  • Ariel's sisters' clam shells from "Daughters of Triton" return to their blue color.
  • Grimsby's hand when Ariel and Eric start their tour of the kingdom is once again visible in front of Carlotta (this is actually an animation goof, since it should be obscured by her).
  • This was a goof from 1989 that was corrected in any other version, but when Eric and Ariel dive off giant Ursula and jumped in the water, there's the film tear in the top right corner.
1998 USA VHS release has credits barn-doored with a music video making most of the credits impossible to read and giving the general impression of a TV showing of the film.
The magazine Entertainment Weekly published in an article that the 1990 home video version includes a less-than-a-second background image of the silhouette of a menacing knife hovering over a scared Mickey Mouse.
During the re-release in 1998, a new Austrian German-dubbed version was made and shown in Austrian theaters starting in June 1998. All dialogue for this version was adapted to Austrian expressions and slang. Another dubbed version was made in the Viennese dialect, with Jazz Gitti as the voice of Ursula, but this version has never been commercially available.
In the 1990 and 1998 VHS versions of the film, there is a scene where Ursula (as Vanessa) is marrying Eric (most of this scene is still in newer versions). In one shot you can see the pastor's (Priest's) knee move up and down, which looks convincingly (to some) like an erection. This one shot has been edited out in newer releases of the film (2006, 2013), although it is present on the 1999 DVD release.

See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Connections | Soundtracks

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