Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
|Beauty and the Beast:|
The Enchanted Christmas
|Directed by||Andy Knight|
|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-Canadian direct-to-video animated Christmas musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. It is a followup to the 1991 Disney animated film Beauty and the Beast. The film sold 7.6 million VHS tapes in 1997. This is the first of two followups to Beauty and the Beast that were released, with the other being Belle's Magical World (1998).
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.
Going back a year, 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 he was transformed back into a Beast and the enchanted rose was putted back 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 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. In fury, the Beast destroys the Christmas decorations in the dining room and storms off outside to look for Belle. 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 dungeon for supposedly breaking her promise not to leave.
As Belle is comforted inside the dungeon by the servants, the Beast has a change of heart when he finds a storybook present Belle left for him. He reads it and frees Belle, giving his consent to celebrate Christmas. Forte attempts to use his powers to bring the castle down and kill everyone. Fife betrays him and aids the Beast and Belle. The Beast reaches the West Wing and after a brief fight, damages Forte's keyboard. Forte smashes to the floor, destroyed. With Forte gone, the castle is repaired and Christmas is celebrated. The castle and servants are decked out in holiday decorations, right before Belle and the Beast do their famous ballroom dance from the first film.
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 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
- Rodger Bumpass as additional vocals
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 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. Unlike the other characters, Forte was animated entirely by computers.
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 furure adaptations, including the original Disney film whose antagonist, Gaston, in fact, was himself inspired by Avenant.
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 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.
The film was released on Blu-ray on November 22, 2011, 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.
The film was re-released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on a Blu-ray combo pack on October 25, 2016 — a little over one month after the first film's 25th anniversary Signature Edition was released.
In 2019, the film was re-released digitally for the first time on Disney+.
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."
|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|
|Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas|
|Soundtrack album by |
|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 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.
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- "Animation World News - Awards". Animation World Network. Vol. 3 no. 8. November 1998. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Recorded specifically for album; not used in the film.