Opinion: “Little Mermaid” Re-Release Distracted by Interactive Gimmick – by Matt Marshall

by Matt Marshall

Now I’m all in for Disney’s animated classic The Little Mermaid being re-released back into theaters later this month to promote the upcoming Blu-ray Diamond Edition release. The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast were both given the same type of treatment back in 2011 and 2012 respectively, though both films were marketed with the addition of a distracting 3D conversion.

Fast forward to 2013 and Disney’s re-release strategy has been shaken up by what the studio’s dubbing “Second Screen Live.” What’s this “Second Screen Live” you ask? Simply a new gimmick that’s replaced the dying 3D fad and even more obnoxious for those cinemaphiles looking for a basic theater experience. With “Second Screen Live,” the Mouse House is encouraging the use of iPads and tablets throughout the movie to increase audience interaction.

Like that’s all we need. On a busy Friday night, hundreds of iPads lighting up a pitch black auditorium, offering the most distracting experience known to moviegoers. “Second Screen Live” isn’t the first time, studios have attempt to spark theatrical interactivity. Last summer’s The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure was intended to get kids into the aisles and dance with three mascot-looking Teletubby rip-offs that drop their pants from time to time and retrieve golden balloons for a pink pillow.

That’s no joke either. I unfortunately sat through 90 minutes of The Oogieloves last summer and the experience was numbingly atrocious. Fortunately for me, the theater was nearly empty with the exception of a bored family sitting in front of me.

Obviously, The Little Mermaid will draw a bigger audience than The Oogieloves, but will moviegoers be respectful of others and leave the devices home? I certainly hope so. I’ve never had the chance to experience Disney’s “Under the Sea” classic on the big screen, so when I heard the 3D version was being canceled to poor sales from Monsters, Inc. 3D last year, the news was disappointing.

Now that Disney has rescinded that cancellation in exchange for this interactive gimmick, it’s still not the best trade-off, but The Little Mermaid is still available looking to experience the film on the big screen starting September 20. Forget the interactivity and just enjoy the movie in its original animated glory.


Matt Marshall is a YouTube movie reviewer who hosts MNMreviews. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.

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