After a theatrical roll-out of the digitally remastered "The Little Mermaid" in high-definition 3D, Disney did what we've come to expect from them. They released its two direct-to-video sequels, "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" and "The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea," in one Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. The follow-ups might not be as good as the original, but you better believe there's a demand for them.
In the prequel "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning," King Triton (Jim Cummings) bans all music from the kingdom of Atlantica. After visiting a secret underground club, his youngest daughter Ariel's (Jodi Benson) passion for music is ignited. Does the mermaid hide her love of music from her father or reveal it to him? She embarks on a dangerous journey to convince her father to allow music in his kingdom once more.
"The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea" begins with Ariel and Eric (Rob Paulsen) celebrating the birth of their daughter, Melody (Tara Strong). Melody is curious about her heritage as a mermaid and journeys into the sea to become a mermaid. Ursala's evil daughter Morgana (Pat Carroll) involves Melody in her plot to take over the underwater world. Ariel finds herself reuniting with Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright), Flounder (Cam Clarke), and Scuttle (Buddy Hackett) in a dangerous adventure to save her daughter and restore peace to the Seven Seas.
Both movies have been given high-definition video and audio upgrades. The 1080p transfers are clean and vibrant, making the colors simply pop out at the viewer. A 5.1 surround sound mix immerses audiences in the underwater world of Ariel and her friends. It also brightens the wonderful musical numbers and will leave your ears delighted.
"The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" and "The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea" each have fun bonus material. They include a Storybook read by Jodi Benson, a deleted song and two deleted scenes, four sing-along songs, and a Mermaid Discovery Vanity Game. A classic animated short entitled "Merbabies" is featured as well.
"The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" and "The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea" 3-Disc Special Edition will thrill all fans of Disney Princesses. There's nothing here that will top the first movie. However, both will give viewers something else to watch when their children either grow tired of the original or wear out their existing copy.