Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (also known as Beauty and the Beast 2) is a 1997 American direct-to-video animated Christmas musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. The film is set within the time period of the 1991 film Beauty and the Beast, shortly after the fight with the wolves in the first film. In the film, the Beast forbids Christmas (because his transformation from the Prince occurred during that time of year) until Belle, Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, and Chip convince him that Christmas is a good holiday. The film also shows the time that the enchantress put the spell on the castle in the first film in more detail.
Princess Belle and Prince Adam (although they're not seen until the end) throw a Christmas party for the local villagers at their castle (with many of the servants previously enchanted). Lumiere and Cogsworth argue who brought Christmas back to the castle (both claiming credit for themselves), while Mrs. Potts insists on explaining the true story behind Christmas' return to the castle, while her son Chip listens with eager ears.
The film then switches into a lengthy flashback, during the events of the first film right after Beast saves Belle (as a peasant girl) from a wolf pack. Belle is excited for Christmas, but is shocked when the castle servants reveal Beast has forbidden Christmas from occurring. Belle finds Beast outside in the snow, and offers to teach him ice skating. But inside the room next to Beast's west wing, Maestro Forte, the court composer (transformed into a pipe organ) playing a piece, is interrupted by an applause from Fife (a piccolo). Forte offers Fife a solo in his opera for being his eyes and ears (since he's bolted to the wall), and after Fife tells Forte about the master skating with Belle, he reveals his position as Beast's confidant and refuses to let Belle take his place. Forte then instructs Fife to "see the blossoming love wither on the vine". When Beast and Belle are still skating, Fife then interrupts it, causing both of them to crash into a snow-bank, and when Belle makes a snow angel, Beast sees his own and assumes that it's a shadow of a monster. He roars, thrashes the snow and storms off inside in a fit of rage, leaving Belle and the castle servants alone.
While the Beast listens to Forte's music, Belle and Chip (who has never experienced Christmas) talk about its many traditions including the giving of gifts, to which Belle makes a storybook for the Beast. Later, when Belle and the servants talk about Christmas, Cogsworth refuses because of the master but Belle and the other servants convince him otherwise. Belle decides to get decorations, so Lumiere and Chip take her to the castle attic where they meet Angelique (a Christmas angel), the castle decorator and one of Lumiere's lovers who objects to the reintroduction of Christmas. While Belle and the servants prepare, Fife tells Forte who tells Beast (with twisted words) to which the Beast says,"the day my life ended". A flashback within the flashback reveals Beast's curse occurring on Christmas Day when he rejected the Enchantress entry into the castle. That Christmas years ago, Prince Adam was acting like a spoiled brat to both the servants and Forte in his original human form. Then a knock on the door reveals the old beggar woman (which turned out to be an Enchantress in disguise) with the enchanted rose, and the events for the original film happen as was previously described.
Beast confronts Belle in the boiler room where his carpenter, Axe supervises the job of getting the castle heated, but they come to blows over their argument over Christmas when Belle is getting a yule log. While looking for a Christmas tree with Chip and Axe after putting the Christmas present in his west wing for Beast to return, Belle eventually meets Fife and then Forte after hearing his music. Forte advises Belle to venture into the deepest part of the black forest to cut down a giant tree, saying that it will be Beast's "favorite part of Christmas". Belle accepts this, and moves out to the black forest with Axe, Chip and her horse Philippe. However, what Belle didn't realize is that in order to stop her from bringing Christmas back to the castle, Forte sends Fife as a stowaway to do anything to make sure she's not coming back.
Meanwhile in the castle, Cogsworth is sent by Beast to fetch Belle and bring her to him so she could hear a song by Forte as her present, but finds her gone. He informs the other servants of Beast's need for Belle, and Lumiere volunteers to help him. As they both went outside the castle, Lumiere and Cogsworth find tracks from Belle's sleigh leading to the black forest, and realizing in shock that she is in danger, the two servants decide to go after her. Back at the west wing, Beast is still waiting for Belle to show up with impatience, but after Mrs. Potts tells him that the household can't find her, he looks at the magic mirror to see what's happening and becomes enraged upon believing Belle is running away again (just like after she found the west wing against his warning). Taking advantage of this, Forte deceives Beast that Belle has "abandoned" him and nearly succeeds in telling him to forget about his feelings for the girl and not to fall in love with her. Beast destroys the Christmas decorations in the dining room where Angelique is and storms off outside to bring Belle back, leaving Angelique hopeless.
In the black forest, Belle finds the tree near the icy lake, chops it down with Axe, and uses Philippe to tow it for their journey back to the castle. But when Fife appears and tries to explain everything to Belle, he accidentally frightens Philippe with his loud and squeaky whistle, causing him to shatter the ice and lose the Christmas tree. And as a result, Chip falls under a sheet of ice and Belle falls in after him just as Lumiere and Cogsworth arrive on the scene. Axe quickly punches a hole to allow Belle and Chip to reach the surface, but as soon as Chip is safe and despite the other servants' best efforts to help Belle, the rope that is attached to the Christmas tree pulls Belle back into the water. Fortunately, the Beast also arrives, rescues Belle in time and carries her back to the castle. Disappointed at Belle for breaking her promise never to leave the castle again, he imprisons her in the dungeon, sentencing her to life.
At midnight; the first hour of Christmas morning, the servants visit Belle and Angelique apologizes for her sarcastic attitude. Despite Forte's encouragement to destroy the enchanted rose, Beast finds the same present, the storybook written by Belle, and reads it. Moved by the book's words, Beast has a change of heart and frees Belle, asking her to forgive him, and after Belle does so, he offers to celebrate Christmas after all much to the servants' joy. Forte is furious, and knowing the enchantment's prophecy of love on Belle and Beast will be fulfilled, he uses his music in an attempt to destroy the castle and kill them both. Fife tries to silence the maestro, only to learn that Forte has betrayed him and never intended to give him a solo. Beast confronts Forte, but is overwhelmed by his music as Belle tries to protect him while the servants shield the rose. Fife points out Forte's keyboard is his weak point and source of power. Beast rips it off, tossing it at the wall and causing Forte to collapse and die. Belle, Beast, and the servants celebrate Christmas together.
The film ends back at the party, with Mrs. Potts concluding if anyone saved Christmas, it was Belle. Prince Adam and Belle greet everyone and gives Chip a present in the form of a storybook. Adam then nods to Fife (now Maestro) as music begins to play, he then takes Belle aside, and gives her a Christmas present in the form of a rose.
Cast and characters
- Robby Benson as Beast: A selfish prince turned into a hideous Beast as punishment. His behavior seems to be improving, although he still resents Christmas for the painful memories it brings, which he would later abandon when he allows everyone (including himself) to celebrate Christmas.
- Paige O'Hara as Belle: A young woman residing in the Beast's castle in exchange for her father's freedom. She and Beast are now friends, but they repeatedly clash over Christmas until the end.
- Jerry Orbach as Lumiere: A kind-hearted but rebellious servant, turned into a candelabra. He is prepared to celebrate Christmas with or without his master's consent.
- David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth: Beast's Majordomo and Lumiere's best friend, turned into a clock. He initially opposes celebrating Christmas, but even he cannot resist the temptations of a happy holiday.
- Haley Joel Osment as Chip: A lively teacup and the son of Mrs. Potts. His presence in the spell flashback proves that he and the other servants have not aged during the ten-year spell period. Andrew Keenan-Bolger provides his singing voice.
- Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts: The castle maid, turned into a teapot. She is the storyteller of the events of the film.
- Bernadette Peters as Angelique: The castle decorator, turned into a Christmas angel. She initially opposes preparing Christmas, as she fears Beast will destroy her hard work, but in the end, she relents.
- Tim Curry as Forte: The castle composer and the main antagonist of the film, turned into a Pipe Organ. As Beast's private and personal confidante, he proves to be more useful to his master with the spell, and will do anything to keep the spell from breaking, especially to enforce the prohibition of Christmas and breaking the castle down with his loud music. In the end, he is killed by Beast, and his keyboard is destroyed.
- Paul Reubens as Fife: A piccolo and Forte's unwilling henchman. He does Forte's dirty work under the false promise of a musical solo, but soon realises his mistake and allies with Beast to stop Forte. Once human again, he becomes the new court composer.
- Frank Welker as Phillippe the Horse and Sultan: Belle's horse and the castle dog/ottoman, respectively.
- Jeff Bennett as Axe: The Head of the boiler room.
- Kath Soucie as The Enchantress: The one who places the spell on Beast and everyone inside the castle for the Prince's cruel ways. She appears only in a flashback, with a radically different appearance than in the original film.
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas was put on a direct-to-video release after Aladdin: The Return of Jafar and other sequels based on theatrical films were having success on the direct-to-video market. The film was the first product of a subsidiary of Walt Disney Television Animation's Toronto Studio, The studio was shut down in 2002 because of studio cutbacks. Animation coordination done by Walt Disney Television Animation's Sydney Studio and Wang Film Productions Co., Ltd. located in Xindian District, Taipei, Taiwan and Characters Builders.
In the early stages of production, the film was going to be a sequel to the original film. The film was to feature Avenant, here depicted as Gaston's younger brother, as the villain. Avenant's goal was to avenge Gaston by ruining the lives of Belle and the prince and threatening to kill them. Although he was cut out of the story and the plot had changed, this trait was given to Forte, the pipe organ, who did not want the Beast to become human again. This plot was inspired by the 1946 film, which inspired the first film and where Avenant was the villain and inspiration for Gaston.
The film was first released on VHS on November 11, 1997. It is the fourth highest grossing direct-to-video animated film, surpassing the $180 million mark. The film is right behind Aladdin and the King of Thieves at $186 million. 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 after the studio released the original film's Special Edition DVD 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 Special Edition and this one's were taken out of print at the same time in January 2003. The Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray were re-released on November 22, 2011, following the release of the 'Diamond Edition' of the first film in the United Kingdom in Region 2 PAL format in November 2010. It was released in Region 4 Australia on November 3 with the same features on the original Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas DVD. The Blu-ray re-release was put into the Disney Vault along with other two films.
The film was re-released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on a Blu-ray combo pack on October 25, 2016.
The film won two of its eight nominations.
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films: Best Home Video Release||Nominated|
|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|
|WAC Award: Best Direct to Video Production||Won|
|WAC Award: Best Director of Home Video for Andrew Knight||Won|
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 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 also as a Christmas album of traditional carols sung by Paige O'Hara.
- Deck The Halls (Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury, Chorus)
- Stories (Paige O'Hara)
- As Long As There's Christmas (Paige O'Hara, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury, Chorus)
- Don't Fall In Love (Tim Curry)
- As Long As There's Christmas (Reprise) (Paige O'Hara, Bernadette Peters)
- A Cut Above The Rest (David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Orbach, Paige O'Hara)
- As Long As There's Christmas (End Title) (Peabo Bryson, Roberta Flack)
Tracks 8 to 15 feature Paige O'Hara singing familiar Christmas carols:
- We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Paige O'Hara)
- Do You Hear What I Hear (Paige O'Hara)
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel/Joy To The World (Paige O'Hara)
- O Christmas Tree (Paige O'Hara)
- The First Noel (Paige O'Hara)
- What Child Is This (Paige O'Hara)
- The Twelve Days Of Christmas (Paige O'Hara)
- Silent Night (Paige O'Hara)
- Belle's Magical Gift (Rachel Portman)
- Fife's Yuletide Theme (Rachel Portman)
- The Enchanted Christmas Finale (Rachel Portman)
- Recorded specifically for album; not used in the film.
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