Listen to our The Mermaid episode on:
It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely box office sensation than Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid. A surreal re-imagining of The Little Mermaid featuring exploding goldfish, weaponised sea anemones and stomach-churning real-world footage of sea animals being maimed and dismembered, on paper it’s not exactly an obvious crowd pleaser.
Yet in spite – or perhaps because of – the film’s nonsensical plot, deranged performances and deliberately shonky special effects, The Mermaid quickly became the highest grossing movie of all time in China – and Chow’s biggest global moneymaker since his 2004 cult hit Kung Fu Hustle.
Describing why The Mermaid works is next to impossible. Somehow, the movie’s total commitment to its own insanity, combined with enthusiastic performances and Chow’s gift for physical comedy, effectively render any questions of tone or narrative logic pretty much irrelevant. It’s a creation of pure charm.
The Mermaid was recommended to us by an actual professional mermaid, Lucy Meredith of Yorkshire Life Aquatic, who joins us in this week’s episode to discuss octopus physiology, the movie’s feminist credentials and much more. We also found plenty of inspiration for our The Mermaid Drinking game and pitched our own fantasy sequel ideas…
John’s Pitch | The Cove
Lucy’s Pitch | The Mermaid 2: Pretty in Sink
Harry’s Pitch | A Collection of Twisted Fairy Tales Inspired by ‘The Mermaid’
Are you a fan of Stephen Chow’s absurdist take on The Little Mermaid story? Or do you prefer your fairytales with more singing and less mutilation? Let us know what you thought of this movie – and what you’d like to see from a sequel – by leaving a comment below or finding us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Beyond The Box Set releases a new episode every Friday morning, each one dedicated to dissecting a classic standalone movie, creating some highly irresponsible drinking games and pitching ridiculous sequel, prequel and spin-off ideas to bring them back to the big screen.
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