Javier Bardem’s portrayal of King Triton is just one of many changes in the live-action update. For starters, he wears armor instead of showing off a fit and muscular body. He also treats his daughters more as equals; Ariel and her sisters represent each of the seven seas, rather than just beautiful ornaments staging musical performances for her kingdom.
Bardem’s version of the character is less belligerent, making King Triton’s fierce protection of Ariel more focused; he’s not just some adult male authority figure throwing a tantrum. His performance reminded me very much of Pocahontas’s father in the animated Disney movie: someone who finds strength in his quiet wisdom, a stern but compassionate leader who cares deeply about protecting his loved ones from those he believes They are wild.
The pivotal scene in Ariel’s grotto is no longer a shouting match. Bardem relies on his quiet intensity and actual stature to convey Triton’s frustration. The act of destroying his things is desperate, a desperate measure to safeguard his daughter. Her anger comes off as fear, especially since the live-action version makes it clear that Ariel’s mother died at the hands of humans.
Ariel and Trition’s resolution of the conflict is not based solely on their acceptance of Prince Eric, but on their realization that she has other expectations for his life. “Thank you for listening,” Ariel tells him at the end of “The Little Mermaid,” emphasizing the importance of mutual respect and understanding in a parent-child relationship. While Bardem’s cool approach (or “stoned” look, as /Film writer Vanessa Armstrong puts it) may seem overly restrained, it’s refreshing to see King Triton as more than just a raging tyrant.
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