“Wonder Woman” has quickly proven itself to be the movie of the summer, but some people have noticed that a certain Amazon princess has more than a little bit in common with another famous princess of fiction: Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved heroine, “The Little Mermaid,” especially, but not necessarily, her incarnation in the Disney animated film, “Princess Ariel.” We’ve compiled a few similarities between the two stories, so be warned of spoilers.
Both are princesses are from worlds so close, yet so far…
Both Princess Diana and Princess Ariel live far-off in a place cut off from the world of mankind, of which they are a literal princess of. In both, they are the daughter of the realm’s main ruler, either Sea King Triton or Amazon Queen Hippolyta (that are also coincidentally both figures from Greek mythology, I might add!).
Both are the daughters of an overprotective parent
Wanting to know more about the outside world, or at least more than their structured life, the aforementioned parents do not want their charges to enter the outside world. Queen Hippolyta also does not even want Diana to be trained to be a warrior at first. While this originally appears to be due to Diana having some responsibility to her people as a princess, it eventually turns out the Hippolyta has certain secrets about her daughter’s origin.
The princess meets her man by saving him (and in a similar way, too!)
In both stories, the heroine saves the life of the hero from the same manner of death: drowning! Honestly, Diana’s face from Steve’s perspective when he wakes up just looks like they were trying to invoke the Disney cartoon!
We get to see the heroine enjoy the outside world
We also get a, pun intended, fish-out-of-water subplot, with Ariel and Diana enjoying new experiences in the outside world. Both get to appear in elegant, time-appropriate dresses (although Ariel enjoys this more than Diana), try the food (though Diana probably appreciates ice cream more than Ariel does with stuffed crab), and both even get to dance (or “sway”) with their respective hero.
There’s a wicked witch at the heart of the story
Okay, this one’s kind of pushing it, but both stories do have villainous “witches.” Isabel Maru, or Dr. Posion, is not a literal one, but a side character does call her one at one point. She might not have anything in common with Ursula, but she does invoke the sadistic witch in the Andersen story, cutting out tounges and piercing people with swords, and spells that are literal murder to get out of!
Speaking of the original story…
Not all fairy tales have happy endings, and Andersen’s fairy tales usually made this the rule, not the exception. While Ariel married her prince and lived happily ever after, the mermaid in the original story did not. The prince married another girl, who he believed was the one who saved him, which meant the mermaid’s death. She was given a chance to save herself, if she killed the prince, she would change back into a mermaid and live, but she refused to do so. Heaven rewarded her love and sacrifice, since instead of dying, she becomes a “daughter of the air,” (I wonder if that’s why her name is “Ariel” in the Disney film?).
The 2017 movie also preaches the importance of sacrifice, and that people with true love in their hearts are willing to give up their very lives to save those they care about. Except here it is the boy, Steve Trevor, who gives up his life to help Diana save the world. And in a way, just like the Little Mermaid, he seemed to love Diana all along without her realizing. Obviously, they had to keep Diana alive so she can go help Batman in the future, but it still shows that life does not always have happy endings, but there are many ways to love someone.
Now, these movie theories are a dime o’ dozen, but it turns out we might have been a little right with this one! According to Entertainment Weekly, movie writer Allan Heinberg confirmed that, “The story as I see it is The Little Mermaid, specifically Disney’s incarnation;” he added, “This is a woman who has been raised in a very protective, sheltered life, she’s curious about what life is like outside and she wants to have her own experience. She wants to be where the people are.” Heinberg also didn’t just use Ariel for inspiration, he also reportedly used Madison from “Splash,” another adaptation of the story, as an influence for the film’s incarnation of Princess Diana.
For the time being, here’s another theory on why “Batman vs. Superman” is basically just “The Wizard of Oz.” I could have told Zack Snyder that he needed to put more winged monkeys in that movie, but nobody ever listens to me!
Cover Photo: Flickr/Wilson Hui