Just in time for Christmas, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas has hit blu-ray. Like with a lot of their popular films, Disney went direct-to-video with this sorta-sequel to their hit version of Beauty and the Beast. The reason I say “sorta” is because this is actually more of a “midquel”, as the majority of the story takes place between the events of the original film. Obviously, this makes sense, since it would be hard to follow up from the end of the first movie if the Beast is no longer, well, the Beast (come on, unless you’ve been living under a rock your whole life, you know the story of “Beauty and the Beast”, so you know the ending and I’m not spoiling anything).
Anyway, the main part of the story is a flashback of how Christmas was brought back to the Beast’s castle. Christmas is coming up, and Belle (the “Beauty” of the story, for those who don’t know) is all too excited for the holiday. Unfortunately for her, the Beast has forbidden Christmas being celebrated in the castle, since that’s the day when he was cursed. Belle decides to celebrate Christmas anyway, beginning a chain of events that shows how the holiday is celebrated again by the Beast.
This is a cute little sidestory, and as mentioned earlier, probably the only way to do a sequel to Beauty and the Beast, given the plot and ending. It’s also an interesting take on the “Christmas Carol” plot. The Beast, obviously, is the Scrooge of the story, hating Christmas with a passion and wanting nothing to do with it. Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, however, the Beast has a legitimate reason to hate Christmas, and he doesn’t go on a soul-searching trip with a trio of spirits to realize the joy of the holiday. Belle, in a sense, fills the role of the “ghosts”, only without the time travel, and the events that do happen is more a part of the journey of their relationship.
Many of the characters from the first movie obviously return for the new one, along with their voice actors. Robby Benson and Paige O’Hara return as the Beast and Belle, along with David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Orbach and Angela Lansbury as Cogsworth, Lumiere, and Mrs. Potts, respectively. Two actors who don’t return for the new movie are Bradley Michael Pierce as Chip, the character voiced by Haley Joel Osment for this time around, and Richard White as Gaston, the arrogant hunter and main villain from the original movie. For the new movie, the villain is Forte, the court composer who was turned into a pipe organ. Voiced by Tim Curry, who again does a great job as a devious yet cultured fiend, this character takes great delight using his music to manipulate the Beast’s anger, so of course he’s the one who sets many of the movie’s events into motion. Other new characters include Angelique, voiced by Bernadette Peters, who explains to Belle the reasons why Christmas isn’t celebrated, and Fife, voiced by Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman), Forte’s loyal minion. Like with all Disney movies, the characters and the roles they play help to move the story along and provide the hidden lessons and messages to be learned along the way. And, of course, make it so both kids and adults can enjoy and get it.
It’s Disney, so yeah it’s good. But is it great? That’s the question. Well, the bright vibrant color definitely shine and pop on how you would expect from a Disney cartoon flick. However, the blacks did give off the impression that they could have been darker. Regardless, the kiddo’s .. of which are the main audience of this title will definitely have no qualms about this Beauty and the Beast Christmas outing.
Beauty and the Beast the Enchanted Christmas comes to you with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that suprisingly packs a little punch to it. I was expecting for clear dialogue reproduction that was tightly mixed and mastered, which I got. However, I wasn’t expecting for some room shaking bass. Which I also got. They truly did a wonderful job with the audio transfer and everything tight and crisp. It’s alot easier to babble on when things aren’t up to par or attrocious for that matter but in the case of this title it’s perfect and handles all its feats with ease.
Nothing amazing here, but still more than some other studio titles.
Disney’s Song Selection
Disney’s Sing Me a Story with Belle
This is definitely good movie to watch, especially around Christmas time. You don’t even have to necessarily have to have watched the first Beauty and the Beast movie to enjoy it. Just knowing the basic plot of the original fairy tale is enough to watch The Enchanted Christmas and enjoy it. As mentioned, it’s more a sidestory than a sequel, so even without the first movie (though it might help a bit), it can still be watched. Especially for the little ones for the holiday season.