The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning is a 2008 Disney animated fantasy feature film, and the direct-to-video prequel to the 1989 film The Little Mermaid. Directed by Peggy Holmes, the film's story is set before the events of the 1989 film and the 2000 sequel, where all music has been banned from the underwater kingdom of Atlantica by King Triton, and his youngest daughter Ariel attempts to challenge this law. The film features the voices of Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Sally Field, and Jim Cummings. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the film on August 26, 2008. The film openly contradicts certain events of the television series, implying that it is an independent installment of Disney's The Little Mermaid franchise.
King Triton and his wife, Queen Athena, rule over the underwater kingdom of Atlantica, which is filled with music and laughter. They have seven young daughters, the youngest of whom is Ariel. The merfolk are shown relaxing in a lagoon above water, and Triton gives Athena a music box. Suddenly, a pirate ship approaches. Everyone escapes except Athena, who is crushed by the ship when she tries to save the music box. Devastated by the death of his wife, Triton throws the music box away and bans music from the kingdom.