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Critics weren't impressed by 'The Little Mermaid,' but here's what kids thought

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

"The Little Mermaid" took in a great big haul at the box office this weekend. It was the fifth-highest Memorial Day opening of all time in spite of critics' generally crabby reviews. Well, NPR's Tilda Wilson went fishing for other opinions from the movie's target audience.

TILDA WILSON, BYLINE: There's a lot to love about Disney's live-action remake of "The Little Mermaid." Maybe it helps to be 5 years old. Kaliah, whose mom did not give her last name, saw the movie in Washington, D.C. She listed everything she liked.

KALIAH: The fishes and the mermaid and the crab.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "UNDER THE SEA")

DAVEED DIGGS: (As Sebastian, singing) The seaweed is always greener in somebody else's lake.

WILSON: Critics said the movie was all wet. Kaliah would like a word with them.

KALIAH: I told them, why are you being mean to the things that I like?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "UNDER THE SEA")

DIGGS: (As Sebastian, singing) What more is you looking for? Under the sea.

WILSON: Other young critics found "The Little Mermaid" to be an effective piece of cinema. Seven-year-old Miya Guglielmo found it so-fish-ticated (ph).

MIYA GUGLIELMO: There was a lot of jump scares. I liked it more than the first "Little Mermaid" 'cause it looked more real.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LITTLE MERMAID")

AWKWAFINA: (As Scuttle) Something about you seems different. I can't quite figure it out.

DIGGS: (As Sebastian) She got legs.

WILSON: Some people are annoyed that Disney keeps recycling its old intellectual property with versions of the same movie.

Eight-year-old Sofia Casarrubias did not care. She had never seen the original "Little Mermaid."

SOFIA CASARRUBIAS: I like how Ariel and - she found her match that she loved. Ariel had a boyfriend, and it's really cute.

WILSON: Casarrubias says "The Little Mermaid" has it all - romance, comedy, tragedy. Bring tissues.

SOFIA: I think it's worth watching because you'll get your tears out because it's really sad.

WILSON: With an opening weekend that brought in more than a hundred million dollars and dedicated fans like these, Disney will be crying all the way to the bank.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PART OF YOUR WORLD")

HALLE BAILEY: (As Ariel, singing) She's got everything.

WILSON: Tilda Wilson, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PART OF YOUR WORLD")

BAILEY: (As Ariel, singing) I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty. I've got whosits (ph) and whatsits (ph) galore. You want thingamabobs? I got 20. But who cares? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tilda Wilson