"Ariel's Beginning" is a fun animated feature that had my 3.5 year old daughter asking for more. The story is the prequel to The Little Mermaid - it tells the story of how King Triton lost his beloved wife Athena in an accident [back when Ariel and her sisters were little] and thus banned music and all forms of gaiety in his kingdom, living in seclusion and with darkness within his heart. When the pirncesses grow up, they all chafe against the restrictions imposed by King Triton, especially Ariel who, like her mother, loves music and singing. Ariel starts to dabble in music secretly, much to her father's anger and finally runs away with Sebastian in tow, until Triton realises his folly.
It is in this movie that we find out how Ariel meets and befriends Flounder, and how Sebastian becomes the music conductor in Triton's court. There is also a villain in the form of nanny, Marina del Rey, though she is not as scary or menacing as Ursula, the sea witch in The Little Mermaid.
Ok, it is not as enchanting as The Little Mermaid, but all in all, I thought it was a decent effort by Disney, considering some of the other animated features out there.
The songs in this feature are not as catchy as in The Little Mermaid, but they are still pleasing and fun. The songs here are: I Remember, I Will Sing, Athena's Song,Just One Mistake,Jump In The Line [Shake, Senora], and Man Smart, Woman Smarter.
The extras include Deleted Scenes, Music and More [the Disney Song Selection option allows the words of the songs to appear on screen, making it easy for sing-alongs], Games and Activities [Mermaid Discovery Vanity Game- allows viewers to unearth secrets about the princesses by clicking on their personal scrapbooks, or compare which of King Triton's daughters you are most like with the Personality Profile Game]. There is also a Backstage Disney feature [a behind the scenes featurette centring on animation director Peggy Holmes].
I watched this with my little one, and we were both entertained - so much so that we watched it again! Having been long-time Little Mermaid fans [me longer than my little one of course:)], this was a delightful addition to our collection of Disney features.