Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas is a 1997 direct-to-video animated holiday film distributed by Walt Disney Home Video. It is a midquel that takes place within the original Beauty and the Beast (after the fight with the wolves and before the ballroom dance), although the prologue and epilogue of the film is set one year after the events of the first film. In this movie, the Beast forbids Christmas (because his transformation from the Prince occurred during that time of year) until Belle, Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, and Chip convince him that Christmas is a good holiday, all whilst dealing with the threat of the villainous Forte, who plans on stopping Belle and Beast from breaking the curse.
The film starts out with everybody getting prepared for Christmas. Lumiere and Cogsworth argue about who saved Christmas last year. Chip begs Mrs. Potts to tell the story. After hesitating, she agrees. Soon everyone is gathered around Mrs. Potts as she tells the story and the events of what happened after Beast saved Belle from the wolves...
When the story fades into a flashback of when the Prince was the Beast, and his servants were the Enchanted Objects, Belle is still a prisoner in Beast's castle. All the servants are trying to figure out a way for them to fall in love with each other, and with Christmas coming up, they look at this as a great opportunity to bring them together. Belle is excited about Christmas, but Beast is not happy seeing how it is the anniversary of his spell being cast upon the castle.
Meanwhile, in an unknown part of the castle (through a secret door in the West Wing), an enormous pipe organ is playing very creepy music while his minion, Fife, a small piccolo applauds. The organ is Forte, the court composer for the musicians during his human years. The organ player though is not in the mood to be mortal again, so he decides to figure a way for the beast to steer clear of falling in love with Belle. He believes that "humanity is overrated" and that he has more use and power in his enchanted form.
He tells Fife that he has written a solo for a piccolo in his opera, which persuades Fife to aid him in breaking up the merriment between Belle and Beast. Fife manages to interrupt Belle and Beast's skating, and when Belle makes a snow angel, Beast sees his "angel" as a "shadow of a monster" and leaves in fury and depression.
Believing that Christmas will brighten Beast's mood, Belle creates a wonderful new book for him, and with a little persuasion for Cogsworth, Christmas is officially being prepared. The gang goes to the highest tower in the castle, which serves as a storage room for old decorations. In one of them lies Angelique with a number of other animated baubles, who once served as the Royal Decorator. However, she is not pleased to hear about Christmas, arguing that she will not raise her hopes again in a belief that they could all get together in celebration, only to have them destroyed by Beast's foul temper and hatred for the holiday. Belle sings to them about how "hope is the greatest gift", saying that there is always hope, even for breaking the spell, and there will "always be a time when the world is filled with peace and love". Eventually, Angelique reluctantly agrees.
However, Fife has been overhearing all this and rushes off to tell Forte. When Beast finds out, he is not at all pleased. Forte plays along, saying that "the girl doesn't care how you feel about Christmas", separating the two even more. Beast reflects on his past: Christmas was the day he was most selfish and spoiled, and it was on that day, the Enchantress put the spell on him and the castle.
Belle enters the boiler room and meets Axe (Jeff Bennett), head of the boiler room. She tells him she needs a Yule Log, and he tells her to help herself. Beast finds her and demands to know what is going on. She explains that it is a great tradition: "one log is chosen, then everyone in the house touches it, and makes a Christmas wish". Beast, however, claims that wishes are stupid and bellows at Belle, "You made a Christmas wish last year! Is this what you wished for?!" He shouts that she has no idea what it is to be a true prisoner, but she knows all too well. Finally, he forbids Christmas and storms out.
Belle will not give up, and concludes that they will have Christmas with or without Beast, but not before sending him her gift, the storybook. Belle and Chip take Axe with them to go look for a Christmas tree, but none on the grounds are very promising. Beast finds his gift, but Lumiere will not allow him to open it as it is not yet Christmas. He explains that everyone understands how Beast feels about the holiday, but giving a gift to another is a way of saying "I care about you". Beast gets in the mood, and demands Forte to compose a song as a present, who agrees unhappily. When he leaves, Forte puts his plans in motion, and plays beautiful music, attracting Belle to his room. Forte quickly manipulates the situation, telling her that the tree has always been Beast's favorite part of Christmas, and that she would find a much better tree lies in the Black Forest, the woods outside the castle.
Getting the tree would break Belle's promise never to leave the castle, but she wants to make Beast happy, so she agrees to go, taking Chip and Axe. Forte orders Fife "to make sure they don't come back". Beast is still waiting for Belle to show up, but Forte claims, "she's abandoned you!" and feeds Beast's anger and served him as his mindless slave, trying to persuade him to forget her, he send Beast to destroyed Christmas decorations and dinner room, trying to persuade him to forget her, but he races out anyway. In his anger, Forte has Beast (being hypnotizing) destroys the decorations in the dining room where Angelique was on his way out, leaving Angelique hopeless. Meanwhile, Belle and the others look for a tree, but Fife accidentally startles Philippe on the ice, creating a chain reaction that leads to Belle nearly drowning and being rescued by the hypnotized and furious Beast.
Belle is locked in the dungeon for breaking her promise, but Angelique visits with the other baubles and admits that she was wrong to believe that Christmas could never come. They all agree that they do not need decorations or gifts to celebrate Christmas; they have each other, which is the best gift they could ever ask for. Meanwhile, prompted by Forte, Beast threatens to destroy the rose, but one of the flower petals falls on the present Belle gave to him earlier. When Forte's hypnotic spell on Beast is broken, he then remembers the gift Belle gave him, opens it, and reads it. Remembering there is hope to break the spell, he ignores Forte, asks her for forgiveness, releases her from the dungeon, and plans to have the best Christmas.
Enraged at the failure of his plans, Forte plans to bring the whole castle down with the rationale that they cannot fall in love if they are dead. This horrifies Fife, who finds it far too extreme, and then he learns that his promised solo is blank. Beast manages to get into the room, but Forte's powerful music confounds him as he has no idea what to strike at. With Fife's advice, he unplugs Forte by ripping out the keyboard below him and hurls it with his strength. With the keyboard destroyed, Forte begins to panic and accidentally breaks the support mounts that held him up, causing him to fall over. Beast laments the death of his old confidant.
Still, together they continue to have a happy holiday, which brings us back to the actual party, but of course, if anyone actually saved Christmas, it was Belle. The others celebrate as the Prince gives Belle a gift, a single rose.
Cast and characters
- Robby Benson as Beast - A selfish prince turned into a hideous Beast as punishment and the main protagonist of the film. His behavior seems to be improving, although he still resents Christmas for the painful memories it brings, which he would later abandon when he allows everyone (including himself) to celebrate Christmas.
- Paige O'Hara as Belle - A young woman residing in the Beast's castle in exchange for her father's freedom. She and the Beast are now friends, but they repeatedly clash over Christmas until the end.
- David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth - The Beast's majordomo and the head butler of the household, turned into a pendulum clock. He initially opposes celebrating Christmas, but even he cannot resist the temptations of a happy holiday.
- Jerry Orbach as Lumiere - The Beast’s maître d’, and Cogsworth’s off/on friend, turned into a candelabra. He is prepared to celebrate Christmas with or without his master's consent.
- Haley Joel Osment as Chip - A lively teacup and the son of Mrs. Potts. His presence in the spell flashback proves that he and the other servants have not aged during the ten-year spell period. Andrew Keenan-Bolger provides his singing voice.
- Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts - The castle cook, turned into a teapot. She is the storyteller of the events of the film.
- Bernadette Peters as Angelique - The castle decorator, turned into a Christmas angel. Like Cogsworth, she initially opposes preparing Christmas, as she fears the Beast will destroy her hard work, but in the end, she relents.
- Tim Curry as Forte - The castle composer and the main antagonist of the film, turned into a Pipe Organ. As the Beast's private and personal confidante, he proves to be more useful to his master with the spell, and will do anything to keep the spell from breaking, especially to enforce the prohibition of Christmas and breaking the castle down with his loud music. In the end, he is killed by the Beast and his keyboard is destroyed.
- Paul Reubens as Fife - A piccolo and Forte's unwilling henchman. He does Forte's dirty work under the false promise of a musical solo, but soon realizes his mistake and allies with the Beast to stop Forte. Once human again, he becomes the new court composer.
- Frank Welker as Philippe and Sultan - Belle's horse and the castle dog/ottoman, respectively.
- Jeff Bennett as Axe - The Head of the boiler room.
- Kath Soucie as Enchantress - The one who places the spell on the Prince and everyone inside the castle for the Prince's cruel ways. She appears only in a flashback, with a radically different appearance than in the original film.
After the success of Beauty and the Beast, another film was inevitable. The film was put on a direct-to-video release after The Return of Jafar and other sequels based on theatrical films were having success on the direct-to-video market. The film was the first product of a subsidiary of Walt Disney Television Animation's Vancouver Studio. The studio was shut down in 2002 because of studio cutbacks.
In the early stages of production, the film was going to be a sequel to the original film. The film would feature Avenant, here depicted as Gaston's younger brother, as the villain. Avenant's goal was to avenge Gaston by ruining the lives of Belle and the Prince by using sorcery to turn the Prince back into a Beast. Although he was cut out of the story and the plot changed, this trait was given to Forte, the pipe organ, who did not want the Beast to become human again. This plot was inspired by the 1946 film, with Avenant being named after the lover of Belle of the same name.
It was later decided that the film should be a midquel instead of a sequel. Its original title was going to be Beauty and the Beast: A Christmas Belle.
The film was first released on VHS on November 11, 1997. It is the fourth highest grossing direct-to-video animated film, surpassing the $180 million mark. The film is right behind Aladdin and the King of Thieves at $186 million.
A bare-bones DVD was released on October 13, 1998. Both editions were quickly taken out of print and the film remained unavailable until Disney released the Special Edition DVD and VHS on November 12, 2002, just after the studio released the original film's Special Edition DVD release. The new DVD featured a remake music video of the song "As Long As There's Christmas" by Play. Also featured was a game titled Forte's Challenge, a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, Disney Song Selection, and Enchanted Environment, where it shows the Beast's Castle during the different seasons. The original film's Special Edition and this one's were taken out of print at the same time in January 2003.
Special Edition (Blu-ray + DVD)
The Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray was released November 22, 2011, following the release of the 'Diamond Edition' of the first film in the United Kingdom in Region 2 PAL format in November 2010. It was released in Region 4 Australia on November 3 with the same features on the original Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas DVD. The Blu-ray re-release was put into the Disney Vault along with other two films.
Critical reviews for the film had been generally mixed to negative. It currently has a 13% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, audience reaction on the same site was warmer with a 55% approval rating.
The film won two of its eight nominations.
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films: Best Home Video Release||Nominated|
|Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production for director Andrew Knight||Nominated|
|Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production for "As Long As There's Christmas" by Rachel Portman and Don Black||Nominated|
|Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Feature Production for Tim Curry||Nominated|
|Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Feature Production for Jerry Orbach||Nominated|
|Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for the Writers||Nominated|
|WAC Award: Best Direct to Video Production||Won|
|WAC Award: Best Director of Home Video for Andrew Knight||Won|
The original score and songs were composed by Rachel Portman with lyrics written by Don Black. The film's songs were recorded "live" with an orchestra and the cast in a room, similar to the first film. "Stories", sung by Paige O'Hara, is about what Belle will give the Beast for a Christmas: a story book, and is heavily based on the motif in the finale of Sibelius' symphony no. 5. "As Long As There's Christmas", the theme of the film, is about finding hope during Christmas Time. The song was sung by the cast of the film with a back-up chorus and is sung when Belle and the enchanted objects redecorate the castle for Christmas.
"Don't Fall in Love", sung by Tim Curry, displays Forte's plan on keeping the Beast away from Belle to stop the spell from breaking. "A Cut Above the Rest", also sung by the cast, is how teamwork and friends are very important in life. "Deck the Halls" is performed during the opening title by Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Bernadette Peters, and the Chorus. A soundtrack was released on September 9, 1997. The album serves as the film's soundtrack and also as a Christmas album of traditional carols sung by Paige O'Hara.
- Deck the Halls (Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury, Chorus)
- Stories (Paige O'Hara)
- As Long As There's Christmas (Paige O'Hara, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury, Chorus)
- Don't Fall in Love (Tim Curry)
- As Long As There's Christmas (Reprise) (Paige O'Hara, Bernadette Peters)
- A Cut Above the Rest (David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Orbach, Paige O'Hara)
- As Long As There's Christmas (End Title) (Peabo Bryson, Roberta Flack)
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Paige O'Hara)
- Do You Hear What I Hear (Paige O'Hara)
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel/Joy To The World (Paige O'Hara)
- O Christmas Tree (Paige O'Hara)
- The First Noel (Paige O'Hara)
- What Child Is This (Paige O'Hara)
- The Twelve Days of Christmas (Paige O'Hara)
- Silent Night (Paige O'Hara)
- Belle's Magical Gift (Rachel Portman)
- Fife's Yuletide Theme (Rachel Portman)
- The Enchanted Christmas Finale (Rachel Portman)
At the beginning of the NTSC VHS, the album was advertised before the feature.
- This is the first Disney Princess Christmas movie officially released.
- Bernadette Peters (Angelique) and Tim Curry (Forte) had both appeared together in the 1982 Columbia film version of Annie as Lily St. Regis and Rooster Hannigan, the respective kidnappers, making this the second film in which they both appeared. This time, however, they played the roles of characters who were enemies.
- The axe is very stereotypically Jewish, using phrases like "Oy, gevalt!" and "Merry Christmas, and a Happy Hanukah!" His 'official' name (though the scene it was used was cut for time) is 'Mister Feurerwerker', also a Jewish name loosely translating to 'Fire-worker'.
- For so far, this is Disney's only feature-length animated film to have its music score composed by a female composer, as most Disney animated films are scored by male composers (although some have songs partially composed by female songwriters).
- While the both the VHS and the 1998 and 2002 Special Edition DVD releases present the film in open matte full screen format, the film was released in cropped widescreen format for the first time on the 2011 DVD and Blu-ray releases.
- This was the first Disney animated film to have a DVD release.
- After Forte says "I think not" and plays his first chord, there is a moment of silence as a chandelier drops and Chip asks "What's happening?". This moment is reminiscent of the chandelier drop in Phantom of the Opera, as there is no musical score in the background as it drops. The only sound as the chandelier drops is the chain loosening in Enchanted Christmas.
- Despite the film's VHS and DVD box art prominently depicting Belle in her iconic red winter outfit a s seen during the "Something There" musical number from the original film, Belle wore that red dress only at the end of this film.
- When the film was re-released on Blu-Ray and DVD in 2011, the following edits for the remastered version brought some small changes from previous releases of the film:
- The film is matted to match widescreen formats, while the original release was held in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
- The colors obviously, are slightly pale.
- When Belle sings "It'll stay up until July..." in the original release, the camera is at a tilting Dutch angle, where as in the later release, it is straight.
- When Forte introduces himself to Belle ("I am Miestro Forte, court composer...") the sound appears to be slightly out of synchronization and there is a slight pause focusing on the steps before the camera pans up to Forte.
- When Forte shouts "I THINK NOT!" there is a keyhole cutaway when the camera zooms out, in the earlier releases, there is none.
- The Christmas angel on the tree at the end of the flashback is replaced by one resembling Angelique.
- The end credits are golden yellow like the end credits of the first movie instead of chalk white like in the earlier releases.
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia page Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. The list of authors can be seen in the . Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.|