It’s bad enough that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has mermaids that become a cross between supermodels and sea monsters but now there are reports from Variety that director Shana Feste (Country Strong) is going to write and direct a live action film based on a novel called Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon, based in turn on The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. Here’s the basic plot of the novel:
When two women from two decidedly different worlds fall for the same prince, what else can ensue but heartache and misery? After rescuing a human from the sea, mermaid Princess Lenia falls hard for Prince Christopher, even agreeing to give up her beautiful voice and to endure the constant pain caused by her new legs in order to pursue him on dry land. Meanwhile, Princess Margrethe has also set her sights on the handsome prince in hopes of uniting their two warring kingdoms. With Lenia’s life on the line and war looming on the horizon, the princess’ choice is bound to have catastrophic consequences.
For those who have read The Little Mermaid, Disney’s retelling in their 1989 animated classic is innocent and refreshing in its own way, more of a tribute to the original than just a toned down version. And what about the movie industry’s new vision of mermaids? Since when have they turned into bloodthirsty sirens reminiscent of Homer’s Odyssey?
I for one am appalled at this decision to darken a story that interprets love, self-sacrifice, and mortality. I’m sure that the novel has its own attributes in reference to Andersen’s fairy tale, but a movie adaptation is another chapter to consider. Rumors are also circulating that Joe Wright may direct his own modern take on The Little Mermaid.
I love that fairy tales are back in the spotlight, but do you think that dark modern cinematic interpretations of fairy tales are justified by their original content and themes, or is this just a trend following the success of the Twilight series by focusing on another mythical creature?