When you watch this movie, you will release something is terribly wrong. Well, not right from the start.
This movie opens with a wonderful scene featuring Ariel's mother, a younger King Trident (with a brown beard!), and all of their young children hanging out on rocks on the surface. Since we all know what happened to Ariel's mother, we know something sad is about to happen. This takes over about the first seven minutes of the film.
Being a prequel, this is before 1. King Trident is noticeably far more angry and withdrawn, so much that he doesn't want to hear any music. His time spent with his daughters consists of a short walk in the morning. This gives the movie an interesting tone.
But what happens next goes downhill. We get introduced to the girl's caretaker, "Marina Del Rey," and "Benjamin." To start, Benjamin is so lazily animated that he doesn't even fit in the rest of the movie, which is above normal quality for direct-to-dvd Disney films. "Marina Del Rey" is a very typical female villian; all about the glamour, ready to decieve and steal, etc. In fact, all she really is comes off to be the poor man's (or women's) Ursula, who was very unique and down-right great. In fact, Morgana from Little Mermaid II was a thousands times better.
The movie moves into more trouble. Does anyone remember little Flounder, scared and terrified of everything? Apparently in this so-called "prequel," he dances to music and acts obnoxious. Um, what? This makes no sense.
Not a whole lot happens at this point-they do some traveling, being a club dancing to "Shake Senora"(can't even come up with an original song), and have more trouble with the evil Marina Del Rey. Her song on her own pails terribly to anything done by Ursula or Morgana. In fact, it's terrible.
So the "big conclusion" has "Marina Del Rey" unleashing electric eels on the characters, and them ultimately winning, with Marina and Benjamin being put in jail. Right there, it is so obvious that the movie had a chance to be far more than it was. With a female character who uses magic, uses electric eels as weapons, doesn't she seem to have some connection to Ursula? Why not turn her into a pre-Ursula, have her be cursed to be an octopus, or change, or anything? It is ultimately the uninspired, boring villian that brings down the movie from it's little mistakes.
This movie is far from terrible. The beginning is actually very good. However, if you are looking for a good sequel to the original Little Mermaid, the 2nd one with her daughter and Morgana was far better, darker, more detailed, and never "out-of-character."
Overall the high ratings of this movie are not deserved, though it is better than many Disney direct-to-dvd sequels.