Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)

Belle prepares the castle for Christmas against Beast’s wishes, trying to bring him happiness for the season. Forte, a pipe organ, fears that Belle’s plans may eventually bring about an end to the curse… the curse that brought him more importance in the Master’s life. Forte uses Fife, a flute who desperately wants a solo, to destroy Belle’s plans and get rid of her.”

– R. John Berggren, IMDB.

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, is brought to us by Walt Disney. The Enchanted Christmas is the third Disney sequel to come out in the 90s (Following The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves), and is a ‘midquel’ taking place during the events of the first film. The animation for The Enchanted Christmas was produced by Canadian animators in Toronto and Vancouver, with additional animation done by Walt Disney Television animation and Wang Film Productions Co. The film features the majority of the original cast, including Page O’Hara as Belle and Robby Benson as the Beast. The Enchanted Christmas also features the voice talents of Paul Reubens (PeeWee Herman) and Tim Curry (Dr. Franknfurter, Nigel Thornberry, and Pennywise, among many other roles).

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
I remember as a kid seeing advertisements for Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, but for some reason I never watched it, despite being a huge fan of the original film. I imagine if I did see it as a kid I probably would’ve thought it passable, as all Disney direct-to-video sequels are. As an adult though, it’s definitely pretty laughable.

I think for me, a lot of the laughs from the Disney sequels are a result of the dumbed-down nature of the films. With The Enchanted Christmas, my brain automatically contrasts everything to the original film that, while being all ages, comparatively had a much more mature tone. As a result, this makes all the kiddy stuff in the sequel that much more funny to me. Beast goes from a brooding, tormented man to a whiny, Christmas hating brat, while Belle goes from a being a kind-hearted, strong woman who’s not afraid to stand up for herself, to an always positive Christmas-time cheerleader.

The best character is Forte, the villain of the film. As mentioned in the summary, Forte actually kinda likes the curse, and wants to keep the status quo going. It’s actually an interesting concept, I kinda liked that they chose that angle for the villain… of course, it’s all made hilarious because Forte’s plan hinges on destroying Belle and Beast’s budding relationship, which in this film, translates to Forte making the Beast hate Christmas (And thus, making the Beast and Belle quarrel over her attempts to bring Christmas to the castle). 

Interestingly, according to Wikipedia the original plan for this movie was a direct sequel, with Gaston’s younger brother Avenant in the villain role. Avenant, out for revenge, was going to use sorcery to transform the Prince back into the Beast and frame Belle for it. I’m honestly a little sad we didn’t get to see that film, it sounds like it could’ve been amazingly bad.

I’d definitely recommend putting this one in your roster for a Christmas-time Bad Princess Movie Night. As with my recommendation for Mulan II, you get bonus points if anyone in attendance is a big fan of the original film.

References

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