Judge it compared to the original and it looks awful. For a direct to video film, and compared to the sequel, it's pretty darn good. The best thing about it, is that it doesn't go for bigger action. Had it done, it would lesson the impact of the adventure in the original. This does mean that the villain isn't particularly awful, nor is the adventure THAT exciting. What it does do is present a solid prequel. It adds some layers, with the death of Ariel's mother, and gives us a plot that doesn't effect/change the original. Characters are also able to learn valuable lessons, without contradicting their future selves. The film also has a great character in a softly spoken manatee. It makes a nice change to see an engaging Disney character that isn't obnoxious and loud. Can be watched before or after the original.