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The Little Mermaid Did Sebastian And Flounder Dirty & Fans Are Cringing

The 95th Academy Awards saw the unveiling of the newest trailer for Disney's latest live-action remake, "The Little Mermaid," starring Halle Bailey as the titular sea dweller-turned-human. This new trailer showcases the familiar story beats and characters from the original 1989 film. However, amongst the classic characters shown off in the trailer, two, in particular, are rubbing fans the wrong way. 

Sebastian the crab and Flounder the fish are amongst the original's most beloved characters, so getting them right for the remake was essential. But for many fans, the two classic comic reliefs couldn't have been handled worse. Twitter has seen several fans come out criticizing the designs, such as @Freddyfazbeer1 who, despite thinking the rest of the movie looks good, exclaimed, "WHAT DID THEY DO TO SEBASTIAN AND FLOUNDER THEY LOOK SO BAD!!" 

Former Screen Junkies member @andysignore was less optimistic about the film, pointing out, "The real-life sea creatures are UGLY... That's Sebastian?! No. No. NO!" Meanwhile, @TheZeebe disliked the designs so much that they even commented, "I will not be watching this trash." 

It would be an understatement to say that there are high expectations surrounding the live-action reimagining of the original two-time Oscar-winning classic that kickstarted the Disney Renaissance.And the fan complaints regarding these character designs have opened up an old wound that these remakes have yet to heal.

Disney remakes have a major character design problem

While fans are outraged over the appearances of Sebastian and Flounder in the upcoming "The Little Mermaid' remake, this kind of fan pushback is nothing new for Disney remakes. Disney's continued output of live-action remakes of their animated classics has been a seemingly never-ending train of objectively inferior final products. And amongst the many issues these films suffer from, it's their uncomfortable visual depictions of the iconic characters that make these films hard to watch at times. 

From the grotesquely detailed characters in 2017's "Beauty and the Beast," to the uncanny look of Will Smith's Genie in 2019's "Aladdin," to the overly realistic and inexpressive cast of 2019's "The Lion King," these films fail to grasp what made the original animated counterparts so memorable. Character design is among the most crucial, yet easily overlooked aspects of any animated film. 

One look at a character from its general silhouette to its expressions should completely inform the viewer as to that character's identity and personality. While that's easy to achieve in a 2D animated world, it's near impossible to pull off successfully with realistic-looking computer-generated characters, leading to their often unappealing appearances in Disney's live-action retellings. Only time will tell how "The Little Mermaid" remake holds up in comparison, but it's doubtful that these characters will be part of our world anytime soon.