It's Christmas time once again, and that means Disney pulls out all the stops and gives fans another holiday favorite for the first time on Blu-ray. This time around we get "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas." It should come as no surprise that Disney would release it this year. After all, the studio just released "Beauty and the Beast" on Blu-ray in 2D and 3D versions. In addition, "Enchanted Christmas" is coming out next year in theaters in 3D.
In "The Enchanted Christmas," former court composer Forte, who has been transformed into a giant pipe organ, does everything he can to keep Belle and Beast from being together forever. This movie takes place after the fight with the wolves and before the Beast gives Belle the castle library in the original "Beauty and the Beast." It shows how the Beast forbade Christmas after he was transformed from the prince on the holiday. "The Enchanted Christmas" also expands on what we saw in the first movie when the enchantress casts her spell on the castle.
This 1997 "midquel" to "Beauty and the Beast" has already proved itself to be worthy of wearing the title "classic." Critics and viewers alike praise the film. "Enchanted Christmas" even won two World Animation Celebration Awards for Best Direct to Video Production and Best Director of Home Video for Andrew Knight.
Knight does a great job picking up where "Beauty and the Beast" helmers Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise left off with their first film. Knight got his start in animation working for the Gaumont Film Company in Paris on projects like the original "Inspector Gadget." He also went on to direct "Joseph: King of Dreams" for DreamWorks. Sadly, he passed away in 2008.
The voice cast for "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas" includes the same actors from the original movie. We've got Robby Benson as the Beast, Paige O'Hara as Belle, Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts, Jerry Orbach as Lumiere, and David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth. New characters introduced in this follow-up are Tim Curry as the malevolent Forte, Haley Joel Osment as Chip, and Paul Reubens as Fife. Curry does a great job of making the sinister pipe organ very creepy and scary for younger viewers. He's my favorite character in this movie.
The two-disc combo pack of "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas" comes packed with extra features. Of course, a majority of them are only found on the Blu-ray disc. They include Disney's Sing Me a Story with Belle: "Stick to It (Don't Give Up)," in which Belle inspires children to keep trying and never give up.
There's also Disney's Song Selection, Disney Sing Along mode, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a music video for "As Long As There's Christmas." You can also bring the castle's crackling fireplace into your own home by playing the Enchanted Environment feature. The regular format DVD only has a few of the special features included on it.
I actually prefer "Enchanted Christmas" to the original film. Forte is a much nastier villain than Gaston or anyone else in "Beauty and the Beast." He adds a gothic flavor to the film that was missing for me from the other. "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas" on Blu-ray would be a perfect gift for any fan of the original classic film who wants to have everything from Disney enhanced and in high definition.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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