|The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea|
|Directed by||Jim Kammerud|
|Based on||The Little Mermaid|
by Hans Christian Andersen
|Music by||Danny Troob|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Home Video|
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea is a 2000 animated direct-to-video musical fantasy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, and the second installment in The Little Mermaid trilogy. Directed by Jim Kammerud and Brian Smith, the story of the film takes place 12 years after the original, and focuses on Ariel and Eric's daughter Melody, a human princess who longs to swim in the ocean despite her parents' law that the sea is forbidden to her.
Many voice actors from the original film returned for the sequel, including Jodi Benson as Ariel, Kenneth Mars as King Triton, Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian, and Buddy Hackett as Scuttle in his final film role before his death in June 2003. Pat Carroll, who voiced Ursula in the first film, returned as Ursula's sister Morgana, the sequel's new villain. Tara Charendoff joined the cast as Melody and Rob Paulsen replaced Christopher Daniel Barnes as Prince Eric.
The film received largely negative reviews with criticism directed at the plot, which many considered to be a generic rehash of the original film, though the animation and voice acting were mixed and the character of Melody along with Tara Charendoff's acting was praised. In 2008, Disney released a third film, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, which is a prequel to the first film.
Ariel and Eric celebrate the birth of their daughter Melody on a ship at sea. Ariel's father King Triton presents Melody with a magic locket. The party is interrupted by Ursula's sister Morgana, who threatens to have Melody fed to her pet tiger shark, Undertow, unless Triton surrenders his trident to her. Morgana then announces her plan to use the trident to avenge Ursula and take over the ocean. Ariel and Eric work together to foil Morgana's plan, and Triton shrinks Undertow to the size of a piranha. Morgana escapes, eluding the attempts of King Triton's forces to capture her and declaring that she will someday exact her revenge on both Ariel and Triton and avenge Ursula's death. Fearing Morgana and remembering Ursula, Ariel decides that, until Morgana is captured, they will have to withhold all knowledge of the sea world and her heritage from Melody in order to protect her. Triton tosses the locket into the ocean, and a massive wall is built to separate the royal castle from the sea. Triton assigns Sebastian to watch over Melody.
12 years later, Melody remains unaware of her mother's mermaid heritage and is forbidden from ever going into the sea. However, she has been sneaking out of the castle regularly to swim, and one day finds the locket. Seeing her name on the locket, Melody questions her mother about it, but Ariel confronts Melody and forbids her to go into the sea. Frustrated with her mother's refusal to answer her questions, Melody steals a small boat and sails away from home. Melody is discovered by Undertow, who leads her straight to Morgana. In desperation, Sebastian tells Ariel and Eric that Melody went out to the sea. Meanwhile, Melody meets Morgana, who reveals that Melody's background is marine, and uses the remains of Ursula's magic to transform Melody into a mermaid. Triton prepares search parties, and is convinced by Ariel and Eric to use his trident to transform Ariel back into a mermaid in order to help in the search for Melody. Ariel searches the sea for Melody, regretting not sharing her heritage with her, while Melody explores her newfound abilities as a mermaid, and has a strong feeling that she was meant to be part of the sea.
Melody visits Morgana to thank her, only for Morgana to tell Melody that the spell was only temporary, and that she can only make the spell permanent if Melody retrieves the trident from Triton, which Morgana claims he stole from her. Melody decides to get the trident, and during her search befriends Tip and Dash, a penguin and walrus duo who join her. Melody succeeds in stealing the trident, and returns to Morgana, but before Melody can hand the trident over to Morgana, Ariel arrives and pleads for Melody not to give Morgana the trident. Melody refuses to listen to Ariel, having been angered by Ariel's decision to lie to her, and gives Morgana the trident. With the trident in her power, Morgana reveals her true intentions, and traps Melody in a cave by sealing the entrance with a thick layer of ice, while also informing her that her time as a mermaid is about to expire. Soon afterward, Morgana's spell on Melody wears off, causing her to revert into a human and nearly drown. Tip and Dash manage to free her and drag her to the shore.
Morgana uses the trident's magic to lord over the ocean, rising to the surface to gloat. Scuttle, Triton, Sebastian, and Eric arrive, and a battle ensues against Morgana and her minions. Melody manages to grab the trident and throws it back to Triton, who encases Morgana in a block of ice, which sinks underwater. Melody reunites with her family, and Triton offers his granddaughter the choice of becoming a mermaid permanently. Instead, Melody uses the trident to destroy the wall separating her home from the sea, reuniting the humans and the merpeople.
Main article: List of The Little Mermaid characters
The film was released directly to video on September 19, 2000. It was released on May 7, 2001, in the UK. On November 6, 2006, the film was released in a bundle together with the original film in the Region 2 release. The original DVD release was later discontinued and a special edition DVD with a deleted song, "Gonna Get My Wish", and a new game was released on December 16, 2008. A package called The Little Mermaid Trilogy, which includes all three Little Mermaid films, was released on the same day. This film, along with The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, was released in a 2-Movie collection on DVD and Blu-ray on November 19, 2013.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 17% of 6 critics gave the film a positive review, and the average rating is 3.8/10. In 2011, Total Film ranked it as 27th among the 50 worst children's films ever made.
Unlike the film and even her mother Ariel, for whom the latter was generally mixed, Melody, the main character, was generally well received by both critics and Little Mermaid fans, who praised her emotional relationship with Ariel, character growth, likability, and Tara Charendoff's performance. In 2019, Screen Rant put her at #9 on Disney's Unoffcial Princesses, Ranked. Melody is one of Tara Charendoff's favorite characters to voice, as she was a big fan of the 1989 film growing up.
The film was the tenth-most-successful direct-to-video release of 2000, with retail revenues of $121 million. The film sold 6 million VHS and DVD units in 2000.
|Songs from The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea & More!|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||September 19, 2000|
|Label||Walt Disney Records|
|Producer||Bambi Moe, Don Mizell, Eric Silver, Leonard Jones, Shepard Stern|
The film's official soundtrack was released on September 19, 2000, and again on October 31, 2000, in a special edition double pack with the original film's soundtrack. Additionally, two limited-edition two-tracked CD samples were released as a promotion for the soundtrack.
|1.||"Down to the Sea"||Michael and Patty Silversher||Jodi Benson, Rob Paulsen, Clancy Brown, Kay E. Kuter, Samuel E. Wright and Chorus||3:29|
|2.||"Tip and Dash"||Michael and Patty Silversher||Max Casella, Stephen Furst, Tara Charendoff||1:59|
|3.||"Iko Iko" (*)||Barbara Ann Hawkins, Jessie Thomas, Joan Johnson, Maralyn Jones, Joe Jones, Rose Lee Hawkins, Sharon Jones||Wright||3:49|
|4.||"Octopus's Garden" (*)||Richard Starkey||Wright||2:47|
|5.||"For a Moment"||Michael and Patty Silversher||Benson, Charendoff||2:28|
|6.||"Give a Little Love" (*)||Albert Hammond, Diane Warren||Wright||3:57|
|7.||"Hot, Hot, Hot"||Alphonsus Cassell||Wright||5:08|
|8.||"Here on the Land and Sea" (Finale)||Michael and Patty Silversher||Benson, Charendoff, Wright and Chorus||1:44|
|1.||"Part of Your World"||Alan Menken, Howard Ashman||Chely Wright||3:25|
|2.||"Limbo Rock" (*)||Samuel E. Wright||2:29|
|1.||"Here on the Land and Sea" (Finale)||Michael and Patty Silversher||Jodi Benson, Tara Charendoff, Samuel E. Wright and Chorus||1:44|
|2.||"Coconut" (*)||Harry Nilsson||Wright|
The film's ending credits play a new recording of Part of Your World, performed by country singer Chely Wright. Another version of the song, performed by Ann Marie Boskovich, was used in some international releases of the film.
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