Beauty and the Beast:
The Enchanted Christmas
North American VHS cover
Directed byAndy Knight
Written by
  • Flip Kobler
  • Cindy Marcus
  • Bill Motz
  • Bob Roth
Produced by
  • Lori Forte
  • Susan Kapigian
Starring
Edited byDaniel Lee
Music byRachel Portman
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Home Video
Release date
  • November 11, 1997 (1997-11-11)
Running time
72 minutes
CountriesUnited States[1]
Canada[2]
LanguageEnglish

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas is a 1997 direct-to-video animated Christmas musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Television Animation.[3] It is the follow-up to Disney's 1991 animated feature film Beauty and the Beast. The film sold 7.6 million VHS tapes in 1997.[4] This is the first of two sequels to Beauty and the Beast that were released, with the other being Belle's Magical World (1998).

Plot

A Christmas party is held at the Beast's castle sometime after the enchantress' spell is broken, attended by almost the entire village. While reminiscing about the previous year's Christmas, Lumiere and Cogsworth get into an argument over who "saved" Christmas, prompting Mrs. Potts to tell the story.

One year ago, not long after the Beast saved Belle from the wolves, Belle anticipates the coming Christmas season, as do the other servants, though they reveal that the Prince is against the season since that’s when he was transformed into a Beast and the enchanted rose was put under the bell jar on Christmas Eve. To lighten his spirit, Belle teaches the Beast how to ice skate. They are observed from the West Wing by Forte, a pipe organ who was formerly the Prince's court composer and does not want the spell to break (meaning he never wanted to be human again) as he believes that he is of more use in his enchanted form. He sends his piccolo minion, Fife, to sabotage their newfound friendship, causing Belle and the Beast to crash into the snow. Then, when Belle makes a snow angel, the Beast sees his snow figure as a shadow of a monster. He roars, thrashes the snow and storms off in a fit of rage. As Fife claims that Forte will be proud of him, the Beast stomps back into his castle in fury and depression.

Despite the Beast's misgivings, Belle decides to celebrate Christmas without his consent, though the Beast gradually opens up to the idea with advice from Lumiere. Belle meets Forte in the West Wing and he suggests that she venture into the forest to find a Christmas tree, but he secretly tells the Beast that Belle is abandoning him. Forte then continues to manipulate the Beast (under his mind control) into a rage, destroying the Christmas decorations in the dining room and storming off outside to look for Belle. Angel ornamentation decorator Angelique cries after the Beast had destroyed everything, thinking it's hopeless. Belle and a few more servants find and chop the tree down, but Belle falls through thin ice and almost drowns. The Beast intervenes and saves her in time, though he locks her in the room for supposedly breaking her promise not to leave.

As Belle is comforted inside the room by the servants and Fife, who felt guilty for what happened. Forte tempts the Beast to destroy the rose when a petal flutters beside the storybook present Belle left him. The Beast then has a change of heart after reading it makes him realize that all she wants is for him to be happy and let go of the past. He then frees Belle, giving his consent to celebrate Christmas. Powerless to prevent the inevitable, thinking that when human again he would once more fade into the background, Forte, in a lasting attempt, attempts to use his powers to bring the castle down, thinking that they can't fall in love if they're dead. Fife confronts Forte and it is revealed that the solo Forte promised him was all along blank, even going as far as to tell him that he's only second fiddle and that's all he'll ever be. Beast then storms up to confront Forte, but by then unreasonable to obey him. Belle and the others reach the West Wing where Lumiere, Cogsworth and Angelique try to save the rose, while Belle joins the Beast in confronting Forte. Fife points to the Beast's Forte's keyboard where he clambers up and pulls it away, removing Forte's magic abilities. The Beast violently smashes Forte's keyboard. Forte then tries to pull away from the wall, causing him to come crashing down into the floor, killing him while Belle comforts the devastated Beast. Soon after, the castle is repaired, Fife receives a royal pardon, and Christmas is celebrated.

Back in the present, Mrs. Potts concludes that it was Belle who saved Christmas. Belle and the Prince enter the court to greet their guests, presenting Chip with a storybook as a present. As Fife, now the new court composer, leads the orchestra, the Prince and Belle share a moment on the balcony, where he gives her a rose as a gift.

Cast

Main article: List of Disney's Beauty and the Beast characters

Production

In the wake of the success of The Return of Jafar (1994), The Walt Disney Company opened the Walt Disney Animation Canada studios in January 1996 to produce direct-to-video and potential theatrical films, as well as utilize the talent pool of Canadian animators.[5] With 200 animators hired, Disney Animation Canada had two separate animation facilities in Toronto and Vancouver which were supervised by Joan Fischer, a former Canadian public television executive.[6] Their first project was Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, which went into pre-production later that spring.[7][8] Additional animation work was done by Walt Disney Television Animation Australia, Wang Film Productions Co., Ltd. located in Xindian District, Taipei, Taiwan, and Character Builders. It was Disney's first direct-to-video animated film to use digital ink and paint.

Initially, the film was going to be a direct sequel to the original film with the main villain slated to be Avenant, here depicted as Gaston's younger brother. Avenant's goal was to avenge Gaston by ruining the lives of Belle and the prince and threatening to kill them, reportedly using sorcery to transform the prince back into a Beast and frame Belle for it. Although he was cut out of the story and the plot had changed, these traits were incorporated into Forte, the pipe organ, who did not want the Beast to become human again.[9][failed verification] Unlike the other characters, Forte was animated entirely by computers.[10]

Incidentally, the antagonist's name "Avenant" was taken from the French 1946 live action black and white film Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête), being the name of the antagonist of its film. The film is one of the first and most popular adaptations of the story, and have been the most influential on future adaptations, including the original Disney film whose antagonist, Gaston, in fact, was himself inspired by Avenant.

Release

The film was first released on VHS and LaserDisc by Walt Disney Home Video in the United States and Canada on November 11, 1997.[11] A bare-bones DVD was released on October 14, 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 a month after the studio released the original film's Platinum Edition DVD and VHS 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 Platinum Edition and this film's Special Edition were taken out of print at the same time in January 2003.

A Special Edition of the film was released on DVD and on Blu-ray/DVD combo packs on November 22, 2011,[12] following the release of the Diamond Edition of the first film on October 5, 2010. In Australia, the film was released on Region 4 DVD on November 3, 2011 with the same features as the original Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas DVD. The Blu-ray release was placed into the Disney Vault along with the other two films.

A little over one month after the first film's 25th anniversary Signature Edition was released, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment re-released Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas on October 25, 2016 on DVD as well as a Blu-ray / DVD / Digital HD combo pack — the latter of which was a Disney Movie Club Exclusive.

In 2019, the film was released on Disney+.

Reception

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film has a 13% "rotten" approval rating with an average rating of 4.1/10, based on eight reviews.[13]

Ty Burr, reviewing for Entertainment Weekly, graded the film a C−, concluding in his review, "All in all, a pretty soggy Christmas fruitcake. Will your kids eat it up? Sure, and that makes Enchanted Christmas worth a rental. But Disney really wants you to put this sucker in your permanent collection. And next to Beauty and the Beast — still the company's crown jewel — Christmas looks like a lump of coal."[9]

Accolades

Award Result
Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production for director Andrew Knight Nominated[14]
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[14]
Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Feature Production for Tim Curry Nominated[14]
Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Feature Production for Jerry Orbach Nominated[14]
Annie Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for the Writers Nominated[14]

Music

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedSeptember 9, 1997
GenreSoundtrack/Christmas
Length46:44
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerBambi Moe
Jay Landers
Harold J. Kleiner

A soundtrack was released on September 9, 1997. The original score and songs were composed by Rachel Portman with lyrics written by Don Black, marking the first time in history that a Disney animated feature film has been scored by a woman. 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 Jean 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 about 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. Tracks 8 to 15 also act as a Christmas album of traditional carols sung by Paige O'Hara.

All tracks are written by Rachel Portman

No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Deck The Halls"Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters & Chorus 
2."Stories"Paige O'Hara 
3."As Long As There's Christmas"Paige O'Hara, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters & Chorus 
4."Don't Fall In Love"Tim Curry 
5."As Long As There's Christmas (Reprise)"Paige O'Hara & Bernadette Peters 
6."A Cut Above The Rest"Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers & Paige O'Hara 
7."As Long As There's Christmas (End Title)"Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack 

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Beauty and the Beast The Enchanted Christmas (1997)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on May 5, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  2. ^ Hoffman, Ilene (November 1997). "Buena Vista Home Entertainment: A Very Lucky Accident Indeed". Animation World Network. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  3. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. pp. 24–25. ISBN 9781476672939.
  4. ^ Wroot, Jonathan; Willis, Andy (2017). DVD, Blu-ray and Beyond: Navigating Formats and Platforms within Media Consumption. Springer. p. 22. ISBN 9783319627588.
  5. ^ Poirier, Agnes (February 15, 2000). "Disney pulls plug on Canadian animation studios". ScreenDaily. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  6. ^ Turner, Craig (October 7, 1997). "Disney Studio Draws on Canadian Talent". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  7. ^ McKay, John (October 8, 1997). "Beauty and the Maple Leaf: Disney Animation Canada unveils its first film" (Subscription required). Montreal Gazette. p. B12. Retrieved November 16, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ King, Susan (November 13, 1997). "The Untold Chapter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Burr, Ty (November 14, 1997). "Video Reviews: 'Beauty and the Beast'; 'The Enchanted Christmas'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  10. ^ Ritter, Malcolm (November 14, 1997). "New 'Beauty and Beast' tells tale of Christmas with striking villain" (Subscription required). The Times and Democrat. p. 6B. Retrieved November 16, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ King, Susan (August 28, 1997). "Summer Movie Hits Will Go Home in the Fall". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2016-08-02. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  12. ^ "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas Special Edition". Toonbarn. June 20, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  13. ^ "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 6, 2021. Edit this at Wikidata
  14. ^ a b c d e "Animation World News - Awards". Animation World Network. Vol. 3, no. 8. November 1998. Retrieved May 18, 2020.