Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
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|Beauty and the Beast:|
The Enchanted Christmas
North American VHS cover
|Directed by||Andy Knight|
|Produced by||Lori Forte|
|Written by||Flip Kobler|
David Ogden Stiers
Haley Joel Osment
|Music by||Rachel Portman|
|Edited by||Tony Migalaski|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Home Video|
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas is a 1997 American direct-to-video animated Christmas musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. It takes place within the timeline of the 1991 film Beauty and the Beast.
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 be the narrator of the story. After hesitating she agrees. Soon everyone is gathered around Mrs. Potts as she tells the events of what happened after Beast saved Belle from the wolves...
The story is made into a full-length flashback of when the Prince is the Beast and his servants are 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.
Belle finds the Beast outside and offers to teach him ice-skating. Meanwhile, in an unknown part of the castle (through a secret door in the West Wing), an enormous pipe organ is composing rhythmic music while 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 human 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 be forced to break up the merriment between Belle and the Beast. Fife is able to interrupt Belle and the Beast's skating, causing them to crash into the snow. Then, when Belle makes a snow angel, she and the Beast get up in the snow to see their snow figures, but when the Beast smiles at Belle's angel while rubbing his head he suddenly makes a low growl and looks at his own snow print. While looking, he assumes that this is no angel, but the shadow of a monster. Enraged, he roars, thrashes around through the snow and storms off in a fit of rage, leaving Belle and the others outside. Then when Fife chuckles and hopes that Forte is going to be so proud of him, the Beast stomps back into the castle in fury and depression.
Belle has no idea why she bothers, and as she flops back into the snow, she assumes that the Beast is "worse than ever", but Mrs. Potts tells her not to lose heart. Inside the castle, Forte is playing gloomy music, while the Beast stomps into the West Wing and looks at the enchanted Rose the Enchantress gave him. After assuming that he hates Christmas, the Beast sits on his chair by the fire, and when Forte tells him that the music helps, the Beast mumbles to the pipe organ that his music is the only thing that will help him forget. Forte tells the Beast that he is always here for him.
Believing that Christmas will brighten the 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, until they are destroyed by the Beast's foul temper and hatred for the holiday, despite Cogsworth's misgivings. 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 the Beast finds out, he is far from pleased, and wants Christmas to be depleted. Forte plays along, saying that "the girl doesn't care how you feel about Christmas", separating the two even more. The Beast reflects on his past: Christmas was the day he was most selfish, and it was on that day that the Enchantress put the spell on him and the castle.
Belle enters the boiler room and meets Axe, 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". The 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. Then, having finally had enough, he hates Christmas once again and storms out, despite Cogsworth's misgivings.
Belle refuses to give up, and concludes that they will have Christmas with or without the 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". The 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 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, trying to persuade him to forget her, but he races out anyway. In his anger, Beast destroys the decorations in the dining room where Angelique was and storms off outside to look for Belle, leaving Angelique hopeless. Meanwhile, Belle and the others look for a tree but Fife startles Phillipe on the ice, creating a chain reaction that leads to Belle nearly drowning, and being rescued by the furious Beast.
Belle is locked in the dungeon for breaking her promise, but Angelique comes to visit 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, and that 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 fall on the present. Beast then remembers the gift Belle gave him, opens it and reads it. Remembering there is hope to break the spell, he ignores Forte and releases Belle, asking her for forgiveness. After she accepts, the Beast announces plans to have the best Christmas ever.
Enraged at the failure of his plans, Forte plans to bring the whole castle down with the rationale that they cannot fall in love again. This horrifies Fife, who finds it far too extreme and then he learns that his promised solo is blank. The Beast manages to get into the room until Forte's powerful music confounds him as he has no idea what to strike at. With Fife's advice, the Beast unplugs Forte's keyboard with his strength and smashing it, causing him to come crashing down and shatter into pieces, and the Beast laments the death of his old, traitorous 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, and Fife becomes the new court composer of the castle.
After the story, the others celebrate as the Prince gives Belle a gift, a single rose.
Cast and characters
- Robby Benson as Beast
- Paige O'Hara as Belle
- Jerry Orbach as Lumière
- David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth
- Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts
- Haley Joel Osment as Chip. Andrew Keenan-Bolger provides his singing voice.
- Paul Reubens as Fife
- Bernadette Peters as Angelique
- Tim Curry as Forte
- Frank Welker as Phillippe the Horse and Sultan
- Jeff Bennett as Axe
- Kath Soucie as The Enchantress
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. 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. Their first project was Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, which went into pre-production later that spring. Additional animation work was done by Walt Disney Television Animation and Wang Film Productions Co., Ltd. located in Xindian District, Taipei, Taiwan, and Characters Builders.
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. Unlike the other characters, Forte was animated entirely by computers.
The film was first released on VHS on November 11, 1997. 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.
The Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray was re-released on 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.
The film was re-released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on a Blu-ray combo pack on October 25, 2016.
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."
The film won two wac awards 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|
|Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas|
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Released||September 9, 1997|
|Label||Walt Disney Records|
Harold J. Kleiner
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 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. 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)
Tracks 8 to 15 feature Paige O'Hara singing familiar Christmas carols:
- 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)
- Poirier, Agnes (February 15, 2000). "Disney pulls plug on Canadian animation studios". ScreenDaily. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
- Turner, Craig (October 7, 1997). "Disney Studio Draws on Canadian Talent". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
- 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.
- King, Susan (November 13, 1997). "The Untold Chapter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
- 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.
- King, Susan (August 28, 1997). "Summer Movie Hits Will Go Home in the Fall". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
- "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas Special Edition". Toonbarn. June 20, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
- "Beauty and the Beast - The Enchanted Christmas". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Burr, Ty (November 14, 1997). "Video Reviews: 'Beauty and the Beast'; 'The Enchanted Christmas'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
- Recorded specifically for album; not used in the film.