The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition review

'Look at this Blu-ray. Isn't it neat? Without it your collection just isn't complete...'

It's impossible to overstate just how important 1989's The Little Mermaid was to Disney. More than just a return to the world of fairy tale adaptations after a gap of 30 years, the film also transformed the studio's fortunes, bringing to an end its decade-long run of critical and commercial disappointments. And even if the film's gender politics can be (and have been) debated endlessly, at the end of the day this animated screen version of Hans Christian Anderson's aquatic adventure is a resounding success. Packed to the gills with memorable characters and catchy songs, it's Disney's best animated feature since 1967's The Jungle Book.

Picture: Disney has worked its restoration magic yet again with this movie, the last of the studio's traditional hand-painted animated features. The AVC 1.78:1 1080p imagery is flawless in its clarity and vibrant in its colour saturation – the oceans look lush enough to swim in. In other words, it's finally time to throw away your DVD copy.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: This is the latest Disney classic to be given a DTS-HD MA 7.1-channel remix for its Blu-ray debut. And, as usual, the mix prioritises dialogue and music presentation over dynamic effects. That said, scenes such as Chapter 9's shipwreck clearly benefit from the expanded soundstage and positional cues. Good, but not outstanding.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: As with Disney's previous Diamond Edition Blu-rays, The Little Mermaid comes loaded with special features – both old and new. The latter extras take the form of archival footage of a staff 'lecture' by lyricist Howard Ashman; a featurette about the use of live-action reference footage; another piece about how the film influenced the current generation of Disney animators; a promo for the New Fantasyland attractions at DisneyWorld; and a Carly Rae Jepsen Part of Your World music video.

Repurposed DVD extras are far too many to list in full here. Highlights include a commentary by the directors and composer, deleted scenes, 46-minute Making of… doc and the inclusion of the Little Match Girl animated short, which – unlike the other archival extras – is now presented in 1080p.
Extras rating: 4.5/5

We say: Disney rewards fans with a spectacular Blu-ray that deserves to be part of your world

The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition, Walt Disney Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £25 Approx