The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea

  • Review Date: October 2, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

Common Sense Media says

An uninspired rehash of the first movie.
  • Review Date: October 2, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 75 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Melody runs way from home after an argument with her mother. Her parents cover up and lie to her about her mermaid roots in order to protect her.

Violence & scariness

Morgana (Ursula's sister) threatens baby Melody by holding her over a gaping shark's mouth. A menacing shark attempts to eat other characters. Melody nearly drowns when she's trapped in an undersea cave. Kids who found Ursula scary in the first movie will likely feel the same way about Morgana.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

Ariel is a very popular Disney princess, whose brand reaches far and wide. Expect to see princess branding on consumer merchandise, food products, etc. as well as in books, websites, and other media.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will see some potentially scary scenes with mild peril, including a pair of sharks who attempt to eat people and animal characters. Ursula's sister, Morgana, looks very like the menacing sea witch from the original movie and is likely to frighten kids who found Ursula scary. Morgana threatens baby Melody by holding her over a gaping shark's mouth, and Melody also nearly meets her end by drowning. Melody later runs away from home after a disagreement with her mother.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

This direct-to-video sequel to Disney's animated hit The Little Mermaid reverses the first movie's plot when, against her parents' wishes, Ariel's daughter Melody tries to become part of the world under the sea. The festivities celebrating the birth of Melody, Ariel and Eric's daughter, are interrupted by the arrival of the sea witch Morgana ("Ursula's crazy sister!"), who attempts to kidnap the child. The attempt fails, but Ariel decides that, until the threat of Morgana is eliminated, Melody is forbidden from going near the ocean and kept in the dark about her mermaid heritage. Twelve years later, Melody ignores these rules and swims in the ocean regularly. When Ariel discovers what she's been up to, harsh words are exchanged, and Melody runs away, escaping in a boat out to sea. Morgana finds Melody and fulfills her wish to become a mermaid, but dupes the girl into stealing King Triton's magical trident. A guilt-ridden Ariel must now return to the ocean to make peace with Melody and prevent Morgana from gaining absolute power over the merdom.

Is it any good?


Apart from some minor variations, the story of LITTLE MERMAID II is a shameless retread of the plot of its Academy Award-winning predecessor. This sequel doesn't come close to matching the original movie's tuneful charm. Kids may be disappointed to discover that Ariel has little more than a supporting role here. Ariel's new authoritarian role is a bit off-putting, as is her decision to lie to Melody about her family's history. Although she lies to protect her daughter, the filmmakers seem to have forgotten that the Ariel of the first movie was playful and imaginative. When the evil Morgana makes a sarcastic comment about Ariel being "cruel and deceitful," some kids just might agree with her!

Two new characters, Tip the Penguin and Dash the Walrus, will amuse younger viewers with their slapstick aquatic antics. Sadly, Sebastian the crab, one the best characters in the first movie, is reduced to complaining endlessly about having to look after yet another headstrong teenager. All of the voice actors who helped give the first movie so much charm have returned, and their skill somewhat compensates for the clumsy script. Many kids will be able to relate to Melody's sense of insecurity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea has as many scary parts as the original movie. Which parts did you find alarming? What made them upsetting? Does it matter if you know that everything will turn out OK when you're watching something scary?

  • Why is a sequel rarely as good as the original? Did you think this movie was as good and The Little Mermaid? Where you disappointed to see so little of Ariel? Why do you think this sequel wasn't released in theaters when the first movie, which won a lot of awards, was?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 19, 2000
DVD release date:December 15, 2008
Cast:Jodi Benson, Samuel Wright, Tara Strong
Director:Jim Kammerud
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Music and sing-along, Ocean creatures
Run time:75 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byleftbehindcrazed8 January 9, 2011

melody's gone melody's gone melody's gone!!!

Used to be obsessed!!!! Although not even close to the original movie, still kid friendly with the same humor kids will like. I love the music in this movie, and the villain (Morgana) isn't as scary as Ursula was. So, great movie for kids 6+!!!!
Teen, 13 years old Written bydarrenc95 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Boring sequel, not worth the time

A complete rip-off of the first movie, very unimaginative, and the new characters aren't even interesting.
Parent of a 5 year old Written bytoons27 January 25, 2010

A Waste of paper and ink

This movie is the worst sequel I've ever seen! The music was very cheesy. The plot is a rip-off of the first movie only kiddiefied and reversed. I like the character, Melody, but I wished she had more originality. I'm really annoyed that she's too much like Ariel. I'm really angry that Ariel became a mean parent-just like her father! Whoever directed this trash, must have forgotten that in the first movie, Ariel was fun, loving, spunky, and loved the sea. Eric, one of my favorite disney princes, is reduced to being a prop only dumber than Ariel! In the first movie, he was so awesome (and sexy)! In the second movie, he was just an empty vessel, mindlessly agreeing everything Ariel says. This movie is a waste of paper and ink.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism


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