It’s no secret that Disney likes to push the boundaries when it comes to what actually goes on in the real world. (After all, this is the same company that is remaking The Lion King with CGI and labeling it “live-action”.) Still, the suspension of reality is what makes Disney films pretty magical, and we can definitely get on board with that. Once of the most iconic Disney film’s is 1989’s The Little Mermaid. It follows Ariel, a young mermaid who’s desperate to live on land and pursue a relationship with her hunky bae Prince Eric, even though she’s only met him once. (So maybe love at first sight is a possibility?)
Anyway, the lovely but naive, Ariel goes to the diabolical Ursula to trade her stunning voice for a pair of legs so that Eric might look her way. (Ok girl…)
Despite signing with a magical quill, it looks like Ursula’s diabolical contract would have never held up in anyone’s court of law. Shon Faye, a London-based writer, and comic who is licensed to practice commercial law, finally gave The Little Mermaid the law analysis that we never knew we needed.
one of the cutest/saddest things I ever did was write out the legal ways Ariel could have annulled her contract with Ursula The Sea Witch pic.twitter.com/xyaGiuXW5U
— shon faye (@shonfaye) November 2, 2016
Basically, Ariel could have gotten the contract annulled at any point because it was trash and not legally binding and here’s why.
1. Ariel was 16 years old when she signed that contract which means that as a minor, she could not legally enter into a contract. So yeah, no.
2. The clause that Ariel would have to give Ursula her soul if she did not kiss Eric within a period of three days is unreasonable AF. In fact, Faye calls in “erroneous and unreasonable” this clause could have been severed from the contract at any point.
3.Ursula breached her duty of “good faith” when she got the eels to overturn Ariel and Eric’s boat, just as they were about to smooch and when she posed as Vanessa to try and scoop Eric up for herself.
4. The sea is an absolute monarchy with Ariel’s daddy King Triton having rule over the waters. Therefore he has the final word and total power . Basically, Ursula’s contract really doesn’t mean crap.
Shon Faye is an icon and people are totally obsessed with her analysis, we just knew Ariel knew all of this before she gave up her voice.
— Ben Zoldan (@BenZoldan) November 4, 2016
Lesson of the day? Don’t sign anything unless you’ve read itthoroughlyy and understand it. Better yet, just hire a lawyer.