Famous Mermaids in Movies and TV
The Animal Planet’s critically blasted Mermaids: The New Evidence brought in a riveted audience of 3.6 million viewers, which was a prize winning catch for the network that brought us the guilty pleasures of The Dog Whisper, My Cat From Hell, and Too Cute. This is the second special in a series of bizarre docu-fiction, or a fake documentary, specials that included last year’s Mermaid: The Body Found. In an odd style that looks as if it might be a nature documentary that’s complete with a fictional script with actors used as so called oceanographers claiming them have proof that mermaids are more then just out of storybooks. The end result was a bit of a throwback to old episodes of Unsolved Mysteries by the way of crackpot Weekly World News headlines. The New Evidence did not disappoint those looking for a good time for a night in with the DVR. The National Ocean Service went on the record last year declaring that mermaids were in fact did not exist as an unofficial response to the first television special. Boo! In honor of The New Evidence here’s a look at some of the most memorable portrayals of these ladies of the ocean.
Daryl Hannah in the Ron Howard film Splash is one of the most iconic portrayals of mermaids on screen, and what child who’s seen this movie didn’t want to either be Madison, or fall in love with her? Hannah’s charming performance as the sea-maiden hits the right whimsical tone with the story. It’s complete with an off screen back story that hints at a Hans Christian Anderson origin of a bargain with a sea witch for its heroine to walk on land. Laid out the groundwork for the development of another similar Disney princess.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
It was Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved children’s story that got Disney Animation its groove back in 1989, and it’s lead heroine Ariel (Jodi Benson) will forever be cemented as a Disney fan favorite. While not as sad as the original Anderson story, the film still keeps faithful to its origins as a movie about a mermaid that yearns to be apart of another world. The film features great songs, and has one of the most memorable villains in cinema history as the curvy sea witch named Ursula (voiced with malevolent perfection by Pat Carroll). Some twenty-four years after its released the film still continues to captivate its audience both young and old. Still no news when the folks over at ABC’s Once Upon a Time will include Ariel in their ensemble cast of Disney alums. I for one am lobbying for Monique as Ursula.
Peter Pan (1953, 2003) and Hook (1991)
Mermaids play a memorable but minor role in JM Barrie’s Peter Pan. They are briefly seen in all of the screen versions. In the Disney animated version of Peter Pan they are seen catty mean girls who torment Wendy, in Hook they are colorful sea babes who save Robin Williams from drowning by planting a wet mermaid smooch on him. But the most sinister portrayal of them is seen in the 2003 P.J Hogan adaptation where they sport webbed hands, and almost come onto screen as the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Okay so it may not be about actual mermaids, but it still involves Cher dressing up in a Mermaid costume for a New Years Eve party. Cher always had a penchant for over the top wardrobe choices, and her Mrs. Flax takes after her own style.
90210 - Halloween (1991)
90210 buffs will no doubt remember Donna Martin going to a house party on Halloween dressed in an over the top mermaid costume she rented from a Hollywood BLVD costume shop. Classic Donna moment includes her limited mobility in the fins, and her hopping around the party.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2010)
So apparently there’s mermaids in the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and it involves someone drinking a mermaid’s tears in a chalice. Who knew? Despite the fact that it grossed over a billion dollars worldwide I don’t know one person that has actually seen it. Upon a Google image search of Pirates IV the mermaids look like they’ve stepped right out of the spring break issue of Maxim Magazine.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
JK Rowling’s mermaids she wrote about in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that Daniel Radcliff battles in the film version are sinister little under water creatures that almost look like a sea monkey mated with Medusa.
My Weird Obsession (2013)
Meet Eric Ducharme a certified scuba instructor who indulges in a little fantasy of his own, oh yeah and it’s putting on mermaid flippers. Yes this episode of TLC’s “My Weird Obsession” aired this spring, and it took the world by storm. This little hobby or more lifestyle choice is certainly weird one, but I for one am all for this little mermaid hunk letting his freak flag fly.
Madonna’s Cherish Video (1989)
Speaking of mermen here’s the classic Madonna video for Cherish, which also features one of the few showcases of mermen in pop culture. Maybe Eric Ducharme is onto something, why shouldn’t the boys get to have a little fun? The video was directed by iconic fashion photographer Herb Ritt who defiantly knows how to showcase the masculine form in flippers.
Content from our partners
ScreenPicks is a subsidiary of AllMediaNY.com