Walt Disney Animation’s mini-renaissance of the 1990s began with this adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The Little Mermaid returns to the Snow White formula with which Disney began: a plucky heroine, in this case Ariel, must overcome a conniving witch to gain her freedom and independence. It’s a journey that is outlined as much through song as it is action. Composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, numbers such as “Under the Sea,” “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl” are at turns bouncy and operatic. When they aren’t getting little viewers moving, they’re holding them completely enthralled. Visually, The Little Mermaid is a wealth of undersea detail, all off which is given such a delicate watery shimmer that it feels as if droplets might fall from your screen. For supporting figures such as Sebastian the crab or Flounder, Ariel’s loyal companion, directors Ron Clements and John Musker prefer an anthropomorphic style. Unlike in Pixar’s pictures, the fish here move and behave like humans, which allows for some indelible characterizations. Ursula, the sea witch, is an overflowing vamp up top – like Cruella de Vil if she stopped smoking – and a mass of oily black tentacles on the bottom. Add Pat Carroll’s husky voice and you’ve got a villain who could easily headline a nightclub.