Our 10 Favorite On-Screen Mermaids
Did you catch Mermaids: The New Evidence on Animal Planet Sunday night? The special broke ratings records for the network. It seems people just can’t get enough of the possibly (!) fictitious part-human, part-fish creatures of the sea. While that show might have been a hoax, you can totally trust the mermaids on our list of favorites… if only for a taste of what life is like in the ocean or how to wear a great costume and pretend.
The Little Mermaid
Why we’re obsessed: Ariel may have wanted to be human, but viewers longed to be part of her underwater world in the 1989 Disney classic. She can have Prince Eric — we’d fight Ursula to get the chance to stay in the ocean. From where we’re standing, life looked pretty good under the sea.
Why we’re obsessed: If you know a young gal named Madison, it’s probably due to the popularity of this 1984 fantasy mermaid tale. Daryl Hannah stars as a beautiful mermaid who falls in love with human Allen (Tom Hanks). We never knew how much we wanted a mermaid love story until we had it; we just wish we could swim off into an underwater kingdom with them.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Why we’re obsessed: They weren’t pretty but they were pretty fierce. In the 2005 film, viewers learned that the scary merpeople who were part of an underwater challenge during the Goblet of Fire tournament were not to be messed with. We’re hoping these guys never run into Ariel.
Why we’re obsessed: As if we didn’t already want to spend all of our free time in Neverland, in this 1991 updated continuation of J. M. Barrie’s classic the magical world has underwater creatures as well, and they save Peter (Robin Williams) after he walks the plank.
The Thirteenth Year
Why we’re obsessed: The only thing better than meeting a merperson is being one, which Cody discovers on his 13th birthday in this 1999 Disney Channel movie. And you thought your teenage years were awkward. (Yes, we’re saying a merman counts too.)
Why we’re obsessed: As we said in the 2009 EW review of this Japanese movie from the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, it’s an “emotionally profound, visually thrilling animated reimagining of the classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid.” With all the magical under-the-sea creatures including fish-girl Brunhilde, and her underwater wizard father, Fujimoto, plus the gentle lesson on balance in nature, what’s not to love.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Why we’re obsessed: Out of the group of mermaids who attacked the crew, one stood out and caught the eye of Sam Claflin’s missionary character in the 2011 franchise fourth-quel. He fell in love with – and ultimately was seduced or tricked by – a dangerous mermaid named Syrena. If it’s good enough for the future Finnick, it’s good enough for us.
Why we’re obsessed: Maybe it’s our inner 14-year-old, but who wouldn’t want to have a sleepover with our best friend and a real live mermaid? In this 2006 film starring Emma Roberts, a magic wish leads to a real live mermaid in the swimming pool – and plenty of chats on the shell phone.
H2O: Just Add Water
Why we’re obsessed: The coming-of-age storylines really played up the bonds of friendship. Originally an 2006 Australian series, U.S. fans have come to know the show about three teenage girls who just happen to be mermaids with powers over water from its later run on TeenNick and from the DVDs.
Why we’re obsessed: Who can forget Cher’s New Year’s Eve mermaid costume in the 1990 dramedy? The film also starred an unfortunately finn-free Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci.