Most people have seen the Disney cartoon The Little Mermaid. But there are some others that are absolutely excellent – classics. Here you are:
1. My number one choice for a mermaid movie is Splash. Not only is it funny and the storyline is wonderful, but there’s a whole load of fantastic footage of Daryl Hannah diving a mermaid in the ocean. We can’t get enough of this! Keep in mind that this is not a children’s film. It was made in the 80’s and for the most part it’s fine for family viewing. But there’s a bit of nudity (when the mermaid comes to New York from the ocean with nothing but her long hair covering her) and there’s some implication of what she and the Tom Hanks character are doing in the elevator. although nothing is displayed. The movie is wonderful with a great story and amazing mermaid footage and lots of laughs and great romance.
2. My second top pick is “The Secret of Roan Inish”. This is a safe, calm film that the whole family can enjoy. Filmed in Ireland, it is slower and quieter than most American films. It’s about a little Irish girl who moves in with her grandparents. There she unwittingly stumbles upon the mystery of the island where the family used to live and which is called “Roan Inish” (Island of the Seals). As she slowly solves the mystery, she brings healing and unity back to the family. In this film, the mythical creature is a selkie, not a mermaid. The selkie lives in the form of a seal. Occasionally she will climb a rock and remove her seal skin, revealing a beautiful woman. So this movie is a little different, and you’ll never look at a seal the same way again.
3. My third favorite mermaid movie is Aquamarine. This one caters to the youthful crowd. It has nothing naughty so the whole family can enjoy it. It’s a delightfully different take on the classic tale of The Little Mermaid with a wonderful surprise ending. The mermaid in this film is different, more like a normal teenage girl. There are several good shots of her in the water. The messages in this film are of high quality, such as loyalty, friendship, personal trust, selflessness and courage. And it’s very funny too.
4. Number four of my favorite mermaid movies is an old black and white classic called “Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid”. You will have a challenge finding this film to watch, but VHS versions are available on Amazon.com. All of the underwater footage was filmed just a year after this underwater theater opened at the famous Weeki Wachee Springs in Weeki Wachee, Florida. This 1948 film is about a married couple vacationing in the Caribbean. The man is almost 50 and is having a mid-life crisis. While on vacation, he accidentally fishes a live mermaid out of the sea! Ann Blyth plays the adorable mermaid and you will love this wonderful film. The only objections a parent might have are the topic of extramarital flirting and some funny scenes with a guy trying to quit smoking.
5. One that is a bit different and came out recently is a Japanese anime Miyazaki film called Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea or just Ponyo. In this one, the fish girl is portrayed as a human-faced goldfish, which is quite odd. But in an unusual twist, this five-year-old fish girl must get the little human boy five-year-old to love her faithfully, or she will turn into sea foam and be no more. It’s such a sweet interpretation that these little kids learn to love and trust each other in such an innocent way. It is a tale of wonder and courage not to be missed.
6. My pick for number six is Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It was the film that brought Disney back into the popular film business in the 1980s. The music and the story are a treat. I remember being enchanted when it first came out – it’s an adorable mermaid film, fun for the whole family.
7. For me, number seven is the Russian adaptation of The Little Mermaid. This 1976 film has many wonderful shots of mermaids under the sea. Back then, swimmers only had small flippers, so they had to curl their legs in a very fast motion to get going. The underwater scenes are only at the beginning of the movie but they are wonderful!! (I can’t imagine how those swimmers could be in the water with all those jellyfish!!). You can rent this movie on Netflix and it is directed by Vladimir Bychkov. This version of Anderson’s famous story is also a little different, almost a completely new story. Be warned that there is nudity and depictions of sorcery in one scene. Apart from that, the whole family will enjoy this one.
8. Barbie Mermaidia is a toddler movie, but the plot is good and the scenes are beautiful. I especially liked the unusual design of Barbie’s mermaid tail. In this story, the main character has to make great sacrifices and learns some good lessons. I like this movie better than the latest barbie mermaid movie because of its great message.
9. This year there has been a lot of excitement about the new release of Barbie in a Mermaid Tail. This one has wonderfully funny surfing scenes. The mermaid world of Oceana was a little strange – basically a mimic of our materialistic society. That made it fun, but in this setting you lose the mystery and magic of legendary mermaids. This is what I call a “Fluff” movie – nothing deep, just funny pictures and a nice little story.
10. My least favorite mermaid movie is a children’s movie called Roxy Hunter and the Mermaid Myth. It’s about a young, small-town journalist named Roxy, who gradually discovers that her new homeless friend (a beautiful blonde) is actually a mermaid. The movie is okay, but there aren’t any underwater scenes or scenes with a mermaid in the tail throughout the movie – none – until the very end. Then finally you see the blonde mermaid swimming underwater for about 10 seconds with a beautiful tail. However, the story is interesting enough and kids will surely enjoy this movie.