tek's rating: ½

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (G)
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This is a direct-to-video "midquel" to Beauty and the Beast. It came out in 1997, six years after the original movie, but I didn't see it until 2016. The internet informs me that it takes place after the Beast saved Belle from the wolves in the original. So, I re-watched the original up to that point, then watched this. (And then I'll finish re-watching the original, after writing this review.) Really, it's hard for me to believe this whole story fits within the time frame of the original, but whatever. I guess I can suspend disbelief.

Actually, it begins on Christmas the year after the original, when everyone's human again, and they reminisce about the previous Christmas. At that point, Belle and the Beast were just starting to become friends, and she wanted to celebrate Christmas, but he didn't. (Because apparently, the spell that turned him into a beast and his staff into household objects happened on Christmas, like ten years earlier. So the holiday brings back painful memories.) But Belle and Lumiere convince Cogsworth to let them secretly plan a Christmas party. And Lumiere leads them up to the attic, I guess, where all the Christmas decorations are stored. (Of course they're all enchanted members of the castle's staff.) The main one is the castle's decorator, Angelique (voiced by Bernadette Peters), who is now in the form of an angel tree-topper.

Anyway... the main antagonist in the movie is a pipe organ named Maestro Forte (Tim Curry), who actually prefers not being human, even though he's now chained to the wall. Because, since the curse, the Beast considers him a confidante, as he likes the baroque music Forte plays. (It suits his bad mood, I guess.) And before the curse, Forte was of no importance. Of course, since he can't move now, he needs a henchman to carry out his evil plots, and that's a piccolo named Fife (Paul Reubens). Forte wants to make sure Belle and the Beast don't fall in love, though Fife seems conflicted about that.

And... most of the original cast reprise their roles, though Chip is now voiced by Haley Joel Osment. (Incidentally, until he met Belle, he'd never heard of Christmas, which seems really hard to believe. It's not like he was a baby when the curse was cast.) I also want to mention that there's a Jewish axe voiced by Jeff Bennett. And there are some new songs that I didn't find particularly memorable or anything. (Though there was one song that used the word "bend" in a way that ironically made me think of a song from the original movie. Which was probably intentional.) And the movie had some funny bits. (My favorite was probably when Cogsworth said "Don't whine, glasses" to some wine glasses. But that may have been partly because I was drinking wine while watching the movie. Also because I love puns.) Anyway, obviously the movie has a happy ending. And um... I enjoyed the new characters, because of the familiar actors voicing them. (I especially liked Angelique, and wished she would have had a bigger role in the movie.) Oh, and when Belle and Chip were looking for a Christmas tree, it kind of reminded me of A Charlie Brown Christmas (which I assume was intentional). And I dunno what else to say. It's really not a great movie, even by direct-to-video sequel standards, but it's not really bad, either. (But maybe it would have seemed worse if I weren't having wine, I dunno.) Anyway, I kind of view it as apocryphal, but... whatever. I'm glad to have finally seen it.

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