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The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (G)
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This direct-to-video sequel to 1989's The Little Mermaid came out in 2000, but I didn't see it until 2014. It begins with Ariel and Eric taking their new baby, Melody, out to sea on Eric's ship, so that she can meet her grandfather, King Triton, and the other merfolk. Triton gives baby Melody a clamshell locket that opens up and sort of holographically projects Atlantica, which is pretty neat. But then suddenly, a sea witch named Morgana, who is the sister of Ursula, shows up with her shark, Undertow, and grabs Melody. Morgana demands that Triton give her his magic trident, in exchange for the baby. However, Ariel and Eric manage to get their baby back themselves. So Triton turns Undertow into a piranha (or something like that). And now Morgana, Undertow, and two manta rays named Cloak and Dagger (who don't speak, unlike Undertow) all have to go into hiding in some icy lair, where Triton's soldiers can't find them.

The movie flashes forward to Melody's twelfth birthday (though characters keep calling her a "teenager"). All these years, Sebastian has been looking after Melody, but she pays him about as much heed as Ariel did, when she was younger. Which is to say, pretty much none at all. A wall has been built separating Eric's castle from the sea, and Melody has been forbidden from ever going beyond the wall, for fear that Morgana would return and try to kidnap her again. However, Melody has been secretly going out swimming, anyway, and even likes to imagine herself as a mermaid. Of course, she has no idea that her mother once was a mermaid, nor has she any idea why she's forbidden to go in the water. Then on her birthday, she finds the locket, which Triton had dropped into the sea not far from the castle, twelve years ago. It has Melody's name on it, which makes her more curious than ever about her parents' rules, and she realizes they've been lying to her about something. And after a minor social disaster at her birthday ball, she runs away (or rather rows away). Everyone, human and merman alike, start searching for her, but she's first found by Undertow and the mantas, who take her back to Morgana's lair. Morgana uses a bit of Ursula's leftover magic to turn Melody inot a mermaid, but tells her that it's temporary. The spell can only be made permanent if Melody goes to Atlantic and gets the trident, which she claims Triton had stolen from her. (While Morgana wants the trident to take over the seas, Undertown wants Morgana to get it so she can turn him back into a shark.) Along the way, Melody loses her map to Atlantica. But she soon meets a penguin named Tip and a walrus named Dash, cowardly would-be adventurers, who agree to take her to Atlantica.

And I don't want to reveal any more of the plot. None of it is really original, in fact it's an almost identical plot to the original movie, except it's about a human girl who wishes to be a mermaid, against her parents' wishes, as opposed to a mermaid who wishes to be human in the original. Anyway, the writing's not great, but it's not exactly bad. The music is decent, but not really memorable (nowhere near as good as the songs from the original movie). It was nice to see Ariel again, as well as other old characters. Tip and Dash weren't all that good, but they could have been worse. And Melody herself was a pretty decent character. So... I probably won't feel the need to watch the movie again, but I might. Someday. And I'm glad to have finally seen it, anyway.

Followed in 2008 by a prequel to the original movie, called The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning.


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