Beauty and the beast: Enchanted Christmas is animated movie appeared in 1997 and it's a sequel for the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast from 1991. In the animation the story is told as flashbacks. Flashbacks are from the time when Belle was still a prisoner in the Beast's castle. If you haven't seen this movie this is a spoiler warning!
Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas starts from a Christmas party. That takes place in a time after the events of the first movie. The most important side-characters from the first movie Lumiere, Mrs. Pott, Chip and Cogsworth are re-living their memories and chat how Belle brought Christmas celebration back to the castle.
In the flashbacks we'll go back to the winter of the first movie. Flashback begins from Belle's escape when Beast saved her from the pack of wolves. Belle tries to get beast to open more. They go skating together and make snow angels.Beasts however shutters down more. He is ashamed by his looks and is filled with grudge towards winter. Sometimes Belle feels herself desperate and almost looses her hope with the beast.
In the second flashback we'll find out why Beast feels grudge towards winter. He was turned from human to beast in Christmas. Villain of the movie is Forte, pipe organ who was court composer in his human form. Fronte's sidekick is Fife, little flute. Fronte promises Fife that he will get's his own solo to play if he helps him to sabotage Christmas and Belle's and the beasts relationship. We also see Fronte's human character in the flashbacks. As a human he didn't get the admiration he wanted so he prefers to stay as pipe organ since Beast is always his audience and finds his music comfortable. One of the most memorable scenes with Beast and Fronte is the scene where Fronte tells Beast to destroy the magic rose. However beast knows that if he destroys the rose he also would loose his human side completely and also looses his capacity to give and receive love.
Belle decides to give Christmas party at least for the servants even if Beast wouldn't agree. Servants start to prepare Christmas in secret. Belle and Chip go to the forest to find a tree after Fronte recommends them to do so. Fife causes and accident and Belle nearly drowns. Beast saves her but is extremely mad because she didn't obey his orders. One of the saddest scenes in the movie occurs when Beast throws Belle back to the dungeons and Belle says "I should have known you'll always remain as a beast". Fife is shocked that he caused the accident and he starts to question Fronte's motifs..
Soon Belle and the beast get a long again and castle folk starts to prepare Christmas. Fronte gets furious and almost destroys the castle but ends up destroying himself. I especially like the end of the movie. We'll go back to the "present day". Mrs Potts has finished her story. Belle and prince welcome everyone to the Christmas Party and Fife has become new court conductor.
Beast in my personal opinion is one of the most interesting characters in the history of animation. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie of all time. He is very complex character: aggressive, lovable, endearing, scary, protective, beast, arrogant, prince and has humanity. In away Beast remembers his life as human prince with shame and he is also shamed of his beastly outlook. He is constantly afraid that he might become full-beast and he is also aware that when he was a human even then he behaved beastly towards others. He is also afraid of the idea to return back to a human because he has fear can he change his beastly behavior even then? Solitude and isolation also causes him anxiety. He sees Belle as an angelic creature and the more they spent time together the more he is touch with his human side. As their relationship becomes warmer Belle starts to understand the beast and his inner struggle. That is when their romance start.
I have lots of problems the way beast is portrayed in this film. Especially the part where he locks Belle into the dungeon just because she wants to have a Christmas party. This is not enligned to the beast´s behavior in the original film and is the weakest link of this film.
As a viewer I find new and interesting aspects from Belle as a character. Especially in the beginning of Beauty and the Beast Belle is described to be someone who in away lives in imaginary world. She dreams about interesting exiting life and adventures. Later in the movie Belle becomes more active character and is more aware of things happening around her. In the Enchanted Christmas Belle really tries to get Beast more involved in winter activities and tries to make him appreciate the lovely things in Christmas. Belle is beautiful character. She is overall friendly towards people she meets. She is polite even for Fronte though she clearly doesn't like him. Belle therefore remains in her original character unlike the beast.
New characters are Fronte and Fife. Fronte reminds me of Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not by appearance but attitude. Fronte is very arrogant character. One way he tries to get Beast to dislike Belle is by singing a song about evil charms of women. Fife is typical bit stupid side-kick of the villain. He does have a concurrence and he feels guilt of his actions and viewers forgive him when he jumps to the other side.
Angelique is castle's decorator who was turned into a angel decoration also Christmas balls who I assume to be Angelique's assistants. We don't see Angelique a lot in the movie. It is clear that she loves Christmas and she either decorates the castle and have big celebration or she doesn't celebrate at all.
When I watched the movie I wondered is there lot's of non-living things in the castle? If servants were turned to things like Christmas decorations? do they have real Christmas decoration? or dishes? maybe they have them more in storage.
I love all scenes with Lumiere and Cogsworth. As a dry humorous British Cogsworth doesn't easily warm up Lumiere's french charm. Mrs. Potts is caring motherly character as always and Chip is his cheerful self.
Disney's imaginary locations
I would like to correct some Disney misunderstandings that people have about the animation locations.
No one should say that Beauty and the Beast takes place historically accurately in France. Beauty and the Beast takes place in to imaginary 17th century France. There are songs where they mention France. In both movies characters speak about baroque - architecture and style which was dominant style in 17th century France. Also in the Beauty and Beast: Enchanted Christmas there is also yule-log that is one of the central European Christmas traditions.
Movie itself is not historically direct portrait from 17th century France that is why I prefer to talk about imaginary France. Same way as Aladdin takes place in imaginary Agrabah and Frozen takes place in imaginary Norway.
Unlike for example Pocahontas which takes place in historically accurate 17th century Jamestown. Aristocats early 20th century Paris and Great Mouse Detective in London of Sherlock Holmes.
In many animations imaginary country or place is very good solution. In that case story is not bound to certain time period or place but story can get influences and inspirations from certain time period, style, culture and place. One famous fairy tale versions made from Beauty and the Beast is Charles Perrault's fairy tale. Perrault himself was famous in 17th century France. Without doubt animators and story team were inspired by baroque style and french landscapes.
Beauty and the beast: Enchanted Christmas is not worst what it comes to Disney sequels. There is even character development of certain level. This is animation sequel and that's not the same thing than Disney's animation classic and definitely script could be way better. Overall it's nice additions for those who enjoy Disney's Christmas / holiday themed films and also some Beauty and the Beast fans can enjoy it as long as they don´t take it too seriously.
Artist and Illustrator. Mythology and Folklore enthusiastic. Keen traveler. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea, and such.
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