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HTF REVIEW: "Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Christmas" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Beauty and the Beast:
    The Enchanted Christmas

    Studio: Walt Disney
    Year: 1998
    Rated: G
    Film Length: 72 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
    Subtitles: English

    I have never really thought much about Disney's
    direct-to-video sequels that never quite match
    the artistry of the originals. In fact, I never
    really understood the concept of bypassing theatrical
    release until someone informed me that Walt Disney
    Pictures claims to have a policy against theatrical
    follow-ups to their "animated classics." If this is
    the case, why The Rescuers Down Under? In
    any case, it is quite evident that these direct
    to video releases have become quite successful for
    the studio, letting them cut production costs while
    still earning a substantial profit.
    What better a film to make a sequel to than the
    Beauty and The Beast, a film that made $140
    million at the box office, and the only animated
    film to be nominated for "Best Picture."
    A rather satisfying sequel could never have been
    made without the reunion of the voices from the
    original film: Paige O'Hara (Belle), Robby Benson
    (The Beast), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere), and most
    importantly, Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts). They
    are all here in a brand new adventure that begins
    with the characters in humanized form as they look
    back at a previous Christmas when they had all
    still been under an enchanted spell.
    The story is rather simple: The Master has forbidden
    Christmas since it represents the most unhappiest
    of times for him. Belle enters the scene proclaiming
    that no one can "forbid" Christmas. With the help of
    her old friends -- Cogsworth, Chip, Lumiere and Mrs.
    Potts -- Belle is trying to make Christmas come
    back to the castle.
    But what story is a Disney story without a villain?
    In this case, that villain is Forte (Tim Curry), a
    gigantic evil pipe organ who tries to destroy not only
    Belle but everything that she is trying to do to
    bring hope and love back into the Beast's life.
    As a direct-to-video effort, The Enchanted
    Christmas isn't too bad. Though the lower
    production value is somewhat evident here, the
    animation doesn't seem to suffer too much, resulting
    in very smooth detailed computer generated
    sequences. The five new songs included in this
    film are easily forgettable.
    How is the transfer?
    Because this film was produced in 1997, and was
    a direct-to-video release, the transfer was full-frame.
    I was quite impressed with this technicolor transfer
    that looks mostly sharp, with a bright and vivid
    color palette. I didn't notice any compression
    artifacts, and overall, the print is clean without
    any noticeable blemishes.
    I was particularly impressed with the DTS mix
    which is extremely aggressive for what you
    would expect from a title like this. Sound is
    extremely fulfilling here with excellent direction
    across the channels. Dialogue is firmly placed
    in the center channel with very distinct stereo
    separation across the fronts. The rears do a
    remarkable job with effect noises. There are
    times that sounds just travel across the room such
    as in a skating sequence where Fife the flute spins
    across the ice. The hollow innards of the castle
    provide some nice echo effects in the rear channels.
    One of the most impressive sequences involves Maistro
    Forte the pipe organ. His anger and destruction
    provides some deep LFE response that managed to send
    some noticeable vibrations across the floor.
    Special Features
    It's nice to see that Disney has rereleased this
    feature to DVD and included a nice assortment of
    supplements for younger members of the family.
    'Click The Mouse' Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
    is a featurette with branching capabilities. Yes,
    you read that right. On the surface, this is a
    12-minute look at all the talent behind the film
    including Director Andy Knight, the cast of voices
    (Robby Benson, Paige O'Hara, Jerry Orbach and Tim
    Curry), the storyboard artists, the animators and
    the musicians. As you watch this featurette, an
    obtrusive Mouse Ears logo appears on the screen
    that invites you to click and branch out to
    additional interviews with the talent.
    Enchanted Environment is one of the
    lamest features I have seen in a while. Imagine
    looking at two Christmas Yule logs as you dissect
    the audio, playing either just the music portion
    or the effects portion of the display. This held
    my interest for mere seconds, and I imagine it will
    have the same effect on your kids as well.
    Forte's Challenge Game is a simple little
    game that challenges you to save Christmas by
    watching a song demonstration and repeating the
    musical keys on a mini-organ. It's not as easy
    for kids as one would think, and having experience
    reading simple sheet music really helps.
    There's an included Music Video, As long
    as there's Christmas
    , performed by Play. There's
    also a menu that let's you directly access any of
    the six songs in the film including the option to
    have words pop-up on the screen so you can sing
    along with all your favorite songs.
    Finally, there are loads of sneak peeks at
    upcoming theatrical and Disney DVD releases.
    Final Thoughts
    Though easily skippable by adults, Beauty and
    The Beast Enchanted Christmas is a quality
    sequel and a satisfying experience for any of child
    who is a fan of the original movie.
    Be sure to include this DVD as a stocking stuffer!
    Release Date: Now
  2. Erwin

    Erwin Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 7, 1999
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    "If this is the case, why The Rescuers Down Under?"
    Or the upcomming "Jungle Book 2" or the sequel to Peter Pan recently this year. I have the original DVD of B&B:EC and my daughter loves it tremendously. There is something about Christmas animation and children that go together so well. I actually got the DVD free in one of those Disney offers 2 years ago (You have to love Disney for offering cool things like these free offers. And giving $5 for upgrades which I think is more than fair b/c no other studio is doing this that I know of). I would have quite a bit of spending money if I had $5 for all my upgraded DVDs as I am sure you would to Ron or anyone else on this forum [​IMG]
  3. Donnie Eldridge

    Donnie Eldridge Supporting Actor

    Jan 3, 2001
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    I picked up my copy this morning. [​IMG]
  4. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Probably pick this up around December, when I get a more jolly mood going on. For now, the ringwraiths are on my mind.
  5. Victor Nugent

    Jan 11, 1999
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    There is also a coupon in this DVD to order a "Beauty and The Beast Keepsake Collector's DVD or Video case". It will hold the original B&B, this Christmas version as well as a 2003 release of another direct to video DVD, Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World.

    The coupon says it is FREE but you need to send them $1.99 for shipping and handling. Seems fair to me. It also says there is a "limited quantity of 5000". Only the orginal coupon will be accepted.
  6. JosephMoore

    JosephMoore Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 10, 2002
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    There is no prohibition on the theater release of Disney sequels. There is a driving financial reason to go straight to video when possible. The cost of production and marketing is a fraction of a theatrical release. Coupled with the name recognition of the "parent" movie and you have a very low risk high yield investment.

    You have to understand that at this point, Disney's theatrical releases are mainly marketing tools for home video and ancillary merchandise sales.

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