An animated tale of a beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, who is fascinated by the human world, to the dismay of her father, King Triton. She spies on Prince Eric and falls hopelessly in love. Sebastian the crab is sent by the king to keep an eye on Ariel, though he cannot stop her from rescuing the prince during a storm. Ursula the sea witch plots to grant Ariel's wish to be human, in exchange for her beautiful voice, part of a larger scheme to gain control of Triton's realm. Eric finds himself falling for the now-human mermaid, but Ursula tricks him and Ariel, now mute, cannot warn him. Finally, Ariel and Eric together foil Ursula's evil plans, save the undersea kingdom, and receive Triton's blessing.
Tawny-haired mermaid Ariel is one of Disney's most immediately popular animated heroines. Ariel is a girl in the process of becoming a woman. One of her attractive qualities is that she is very definite about what she is doing and very confident about her own ability to succeed. Of course, a good deal of that confidence is ill-placed, as she is just a teenager. Although she is warned by her father, King Triton, that humans are dangerous, Ariel stubbornly believes otherwise and has an insatiable curiosity about them. She explores human artifacts (sunken ships, etc.) and is constantly going into forbidden territory: the surface. This, of course, leads her to love ... and trouble.
The marvelous villainess Ursula is one of Disney's classics. Bejewelled and lip-pouting like an overweight, over-rich, over-pampered, over-the-top society hostess gone mad, she is all flair, flamboyance, and theatricality mixed with a touch of con-artistry. Except when her wrath - the only genuine emotion she seems capable of expressing bursts through, her every movement is a deceitful artifice, as if she's performing for an audience. Her vile hobby of collecting souls so that they can suffer humiliation in her morbid garden is utterly in keeping with her society-hostess-from-hell persona.