Review: “The Little Mermaid: Second Screen Live”

In a blog post a few weeks ago, we mentioned ” The Little Mermaid: Second Screen Live”, an exclusive theatrical re-release of the popular 1989 film that, along with an accompanying iPad app, allows you to be part of the movie-going experience. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to participate in the activities of ‘Second Screen Live’ during a showing at Carmike Wynnsong 16 in Knoxville, TN.

The movie begins with a set of instructions on how to setup your iPad so that it works perfectly with the app. Jodi Benson, who does the voice of Ariel, explains the necessry steps. While very simple to do, I thought it was an excellent touch for users who are unfamiliar with iPad settings, and in the audience at the theater we attended, many seemed relieved for the instruction.

The app itself was extremely easy to use, with only a few controls available at any given time. If you are familiar with other ‘Second Screen’ apps for Blu-ray movies or TV series, you will feel right at home. If you have never tried one of them, you needn’t worry as the app is designed with simplicity in mind, and it will only take a few minutes for you to get up to speed.

Once the app is setup, you sign up with a username before the movie starts. As you watch the film, you get scored based on how well you perform at trivia questions and mini games that relate to particular elements in the movie at the current time. As the movie progresses, your score is updated and you can see how well you are doing compared to the rest of the audience, something my family and I enjoyed. Along with the trivia and mini-games, the app provides the lyrics for the sing-alongs, referred to as “crab-e-oke” which occur throughout the movie. If you can’t remember, or don’t know some of the lyrics, it’s a big help. The lyrics are simultaneously available on the app and the big screen although we found ourselves referring to the app more often than I thought we would.

When we first reported on ‘Second Screen Live’, we had a mixed bag of responses. Many seemed to embrace the concept, while some people took the opportunity to complain about theaters encouraging the use of electronic devices inside the confines of the cinema. We’ve all been instructed to turn off our devices so many times, and I have to admit, it was a bit strange to use the iPad in the theater. These thoughts quickly fade away as soon as the movie starts. I doubt that occasionally being permitted to using an electronic device for a special showing like this will encourage anyone to use them during a traditional movie. If you get a chance to see this, or the upcoming “Nightmare Before Christmas : Second Screen Live” (see poster below), I highly recommend trying it for yourself. It’s not likely something that will replace traditional movie releases at the theater, but for something you have seen previously, it’s a lot of fun.

“The Little Mermaid” movie was, for the most part, the same movie you already know and love. There are a few minor changes such as a couple of strategic pauses for the second screens, some new overlays for lyrics and communication with the audience and a few new additions from Pat Caroll, who reprises her role of Ursula. We’re not going to spoil the exact aspects for other moviegoers as it’s unnecessary for our review.

Overall, the experience was fantastic, and we’re hoping to attend the aforementioned “Nightmare Before Christmas : Second Screen Live” when released. If you decide to attend a showing, and we definitely encourage you to do so, be sure to download the iPad app ahead of time. You can set it up at home, or wait until you get to theater, but make sure to have it downloaded. On a wireless connection, the app could take a great deal of time to finish downloading, and you might miss some of the feature while you wait for the installation. It’s also worth noting that the wifi at the theater is only for the use of the app and does not provide any type of internet access outside of it.

[Rating:4.5/5]

Amy Crooks

Hi!! I'm Amy, and I am the owner and writer of this site. I'm a stay-at-home mom that enjoys cooking, crafting and cheering on my favorite hockey, football, baseball and basketball teams! I have an amazing husband and son (Clayton III does a little writing for the site too)!! :)

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