Disney has announced plans to rerelease The Little Mermaid to theaters on September 20 in a move that should fill any fan of classic animation with glee. Of course it's not just a rerelease, or we wouldn't be talking about it on TUAW. No, this rerelease is dubbed The Little Mermaid: Second Screen Live, and it unofficially redefines "watching a movie" as "playing with your iPad in the theater."
The rereleased film has been synced with an iPad app that gives users the ability to play games, sing-a-long to the movie (not such a terrible idea for kids) and interact with the characters. It's a brilliant idea for home video, especially since, at home, you won't be paying a premium price for each of your children to play with an app while not watching a movie.
But in a theater? For a movie aimed at children? Should we as a culture further demystify going to see a movie by normalizing children to the idea that it's okay to play with their smartphones and tablets during movies?
At first I worried I was overreacting. Maybe the full moon is around the corner and I'm about to turn into Andy Rooney at any minute. And then I watched the trailer for Second Screen Live.
Yes. "Let's train children to compete" with other audience members to be the biggest distraction during a movie.
This is charging parents a premium to teach their kids terrible in-theater behavior for a well-thought-out, glorified Blu-ray special feature. In a world where the movie-going experience is already regularly ruined by adults who are too selfish not to text, talk or web browse in the middle of an expensive movie experience, this seems like a short-sighted cash grab.
I believe the children are the future, and if this is a trend that picks up, the children are going to be even more annoying than their parent's to watch movies with. Andy Rooney out.