Initial Thoughts on The Little Mermaid:
-Parents should be given a medal. Just think about how many times you forced them to endure this tripe as a little kid. If you're a girl, that is. I don't know too many boys who were obsessed with little mermaids. (Not that there would be anything wrong with that.)
-That being said, Disney music flat-out owns. I was surprised and pleased to find that "Under the Sea" has the same affect on me at least 15 years later that it did back then-- namely, it makes me want to quit my job and go live under the sea (of course I had a job at age 7, didn't you?). Yes, the lack of breathable oxygen would be an issue, but I feel that could be overcome if I had my own hot crustacean band to conduct.
-If it's really she who holds her tongue that gets her man, I am well and truly screwed.
Ursula-- So here's my theory: Ursula is Triton's bitter ex-wife who he left because he wanted someone who was less evil and also not purple and tentacled (which: he doesn't really have a leg to stand on there, given that he is half fish himself). Now she's living off alimony and growing more bitter by the day under the influence of her pet eels. And like all bitter ex-wives, she uses custody of the kids as a weapon against Daddy. Well, I can't fault her. It's a very effective strategy, provided you are not one of those poor unfortunate souls plagued with pesky ethics.
Eric-- Gay. No question. Bisexual at a minimum. How could he not be? Until he met Ariel he'd clearly spent his formative youth entirely in the company of horny sailors (specifically an older dude named Grimsby who obviously has the hots for him. Oh sure, he says he wants Eric to be happily married to the right girl but it cannot be denied that he was crazy enough about Eric to procure a larger-than-life statue of him. While he was on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Now me, I'm kind of wondering how Grimbsy managed the feat. Was it delivered by Fedex?) Eric is definitely a nice guy though. Real humanitarian. Not every guy who finds a beautiful, nearly nude girl on the beach would stop to help her. And it was pretty cool the way he fought and killed Ursula when she blew up to nearly 500 times his size. Most guys would have decided that the girl was too high-maintenance at that point and bailed out. (Especially if they were gay.)
King Triton-- It's kind of hard not to like the old softy, even if he is a rather shortsighted sea king and the best that can be said of his parenting skills is that he named his daughters well. You can't blame him for being clueless; he's a single father of a mess of teenage girls, and a lot of people in his place would commit suicide, myself included, so he deserves props for sticking it out. I have a harder time forgiving his blatant missteps as king. Doesn't he understand that by letting Ariel marry a land prince, he's extending his power and influence beyond the sea? That's about the best you could expect of a baby daughter who is so severely lacking in common sense.
Sebastian-- I blame his crustacean parents. With a name like Horatio Felonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian!, you couldn't help but be incredibly pretentious. Classic whiny has-been, though he clearly cares about Ariel at least as much as keeping his job, which is nice. Methinks Triton asked Sebastian to keep an eye on Ariel so he would stop burrowing in his flowing white beard. Yuck.
Ariel-- This is why minors aren't legally held to contracts they sign-- because they never read them. Ariel, honey, here's a hint-- if you need to close your eyes while you're signing something, probably not the best idea to be signing it. Also, if you have to pass a "garden" that looks like a scene from Dante on the way into someone's house, maybe that's someone you don't need to be visiting. I have no patience for the best of teenagers, but princesses are an especially irritating breed. Her character drastically improved when she lost her voice. By the way, why didn't she just write a note to the prince explaining what happened? Seems like that would have been the obvious move. Also, she could have done with a few more details about this bargain with Ursula... whether she'd have her voice back after the three days in the event of success, for example.