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Legacy Review

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)

Despite suffering through the nightmarishly bad Belle’s Magical World the previous day, my daughters were up for still more Beauty and the Beast content last night, so we streamed The Enchanted Christmas.

The Enchanted Christmas looks like La règle du jeu next to Belle’s Magical World. Its animation is clean, consistent, and even occasionally artful and ambitious, though the CGI villain sticks out like a rubber cement thumb.

Meanwhile, the story takes at least one fresh angle on the Beast’s enchantment: A composer named Forte (voiced by Tim Curry!), enchanted into being a stationary pipe organ, has gone mad but found meaning in providing brooding music to accompany the Beast’s angst. With Belle in the picture, he feels he might lose his power and grip on the Beast. (It’s the first time we witness an enchanted servant who might not have the Beast’s and the castle’s best interests at heart.)

The movie barely even veils that Forte is in love/lust with The Beast/The Prince. He gets a “Hellfire”-esque song of jealous devotion. It’s a minor but unexpected and compelling wrinkle in characterization (if slightly troublesome from a queer representation perspective).

Unfortunately, the rest of the story and script is quite rote and lifeless. Belle’s Stockholm Syndrome is turned up to 11. There are the requisite misunderstandings and chases. The music is totally forgettable. At 72 minutes, it still feels dragged out. The Enchanted Christmas not even in the same zip code as the original, let alone the same ballpark, so don’t get your hopes high.

But it’s still plenty watchable and well above average among the direct-to-video Disney sequels, which is all I was hoping for after the previous night’s Belle’s Magical World debacle.

Is It Good?

Not Very Good (3/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.


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