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Cute or terrifying? Flounder's 'very realistic' appearance in 'The Little Mermaid' divides the internet

Viewers say Ariel's sea creature sidekicks in the live-action remake look like something out of a nature documentary — and not necessarily in a good way.

"The Little Mermaid" live action adaptation, out later this month, has been generating conversation since it was announced, from casting choices to hair color.

Now, people are talking about whether the movie's animal sidekicks look too much like, well, animals.

On April 26, Disney dropped its official posters of everyone in the cast, in addition to a small teaser trailer.

Rather than cute cartoons, Scuttle and Flounder, who are among Ariel's best pals, now actually look like what they were written to be: A sea bird and a fish. Sebastian the Crab also looks like ... a crab.

Awkwafina as Scuttle in The Little Mermaid.
Awkwafina as Scuttle in The Little Mermaid.Disney
Jacob Tremblay as Flounder in The Little Mermaid.
Jacob Tremblay as Flounder in The Little Mermaid.Disney
Daveed Diggs as Sebastian in The Little Mermaid.
Daveed Diggs as Sebastian in The Little Mermaid.Disney

The reactions are mixed.

"The realistic design for Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle is the cherry on top of bad decision-making in this remake," someone wrote.

People are saying the realistic animals are "not the selling point" of the movie. "All of Ariel’s adorable sea life friends look hideous cause they aren’t cute cartoon fish anymore," someone wrote.

People are reading into the animals' expressions. "Why are the animals from the little mermaid so realistic?? fish, bird & crab all look like they’ve seen hard times. every photo i’ve seen of them looks like they’re pleading for help," another person wrote.

And while some say the fish is "cute," Flounder is provoking terror in others: "i’ll say it: a realistic little mermaid should have never happened. i don’t want to see real fish like this talking. i’m already terrified."

There was also backlash to the backlash.

"What were y’all expecting! I want someone to show me a concept of a live action for this movie and tell me what they should’ve done? For real they are FISH!!" someone wrote.

The CGI sidekicks definitely look more realistic — but, as users pointed out, the renderings are far from David Attenborough documentary-worthy.

On Twitter, one person shared a side-by-side photo of Flounder in the live-action remake, and imagined Disney animators asking themselves, "Have any of us seen a flounder?" The tweet pokes fun at the fact that while Flounder does look like a fish, he does not look like a flounder — a flat fish that lies on the sea floor with both eyes on the same side of its head.

"Everyone wants a photorealistic live action little mermaid until it comes time to reckon with what a true flounder looks like," another user wrote, sharing a picture of an actual flounder.

People continued to share "realistic" images the animals, to humorous degrees.

Comedian Vinny Thomas joked he was scared might happen to Flounder in "The Little Mermaid," based on the realities of the animal kingdom.

The cast has spoken about playing animated figures. Jacob Tremblay, who voices Flounder, said he's a fan of how his character comes to life.

"Working on the film has been really awesome ... I really like what they did with Flounder's character design," he told Collider in June 2021. "I won't say too much, but it's really cool."

In an early April interview with Screen Rant, Awkwafina also talked about her role in "The Little Mermaid," and she revealed how she made Scuttle her own after Buddy Hackett gave a memorable performance of the seagull in the original film.

In the remake, Scuttle is now a northern gannet diving bird. This is why Scuttle is able to swim alongside Ariel (Halle Bailey) in the movie's trailer.

"Buddy Hackett’s performance in the original is so good and so memorable, and I think you can’t duplicate that performance," Awkafina said. "The Scuttle that we’ve grown up with is Scuttle, but what I definitely did want to incorporate was that Scuttle is a nosybody, she’s a meddler and she’s also very neurotic, so I feel like those came easy. It was so fun to play Scuttle."

Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” will hit theaters on May 26.