Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Collection of so-so enchanted tales is redeemed by Belle.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Except for the lesson that a bird would rather be free than caged, these stories are purely for entertainment.
Each of the segments provides a different positive message, from the importance of forgiveness to the reminder that a good friend should try to cheer up their close pals to the lesson that it's never wise to let jealousy control your feelings.
Positive Role Models
Belle is, as always, selfless, sweet, and kind -- not to mention intelligent and willing to stand up to Beast for what she believes is important. She thinks of others around the castle, even though she's the one who's imprisoned there. Beast's beastlier moments are balanced out by his ultimate willingness to correct his wrongs and ask for forgiveness.
Violence & Scariness
Beast loses his temper more than once and can be frightening, like when he pushes Webster off the table or when he growls or yells at Belle. Fifi and Lumiere almost take a dangerous fall before being rescued. Beast refuses to release a caged bird.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting between Lumiere and Fifi, who's jealous of the relationship between Lumiere and Belle. The entire "Fifi's Folly" segment is filled with romantic overtones and jealousy before the couple reconciles. Belle and Beast also have a romantic subtext to their relationship.
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Products & Purchases
Any of Disney's straight-to-video offerings are made to extend the original movie's popularity and merchandising tie-ins.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Disney direct-to-DVD spin-off of the classic Beauty and the Beast is a collection of four separate stories. Beast can be kind one moment and full of rage the next, but ultimately Belle's generous manner always persuades him to redeem himself. There are a few moments when Beast is mean that may frighten the youngest viewers, but for the most part the various shorts feature the castle's enchanted characters and are fine for older preschoolers. Each of the vignettes offers a different lesson about forgiveness, friendship, and love.
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Where to Watch
Based on 2 parent reviews
PICKLE ICE CREAM SANDWICH
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Cute but not necessary
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What's the Story?
This direct-to-DVD special includes four short tales that highlight different enchanted characters in Beast's castle. The vignettes include "The Perfect World," which shows how a dinner conversation between Beast (voiced by Robby Benson) and Belle (Paige O'Hara) escalates into a fight; "Fifi's Folly" is about how Fifi (Kimmy Robertson) thinks Lumiere (Jerry Orbach) has forgotten their anniversary and is smitten with Belle; "Mrs. Potts' Party" follows Belle as she plans a surprise party to cheer up a depressed Mrs. Potts (Anne Rogers); and "The Broken Wing" focuses on an injured bird that Belle is nursing to health but winds up locked in a cage by the Beast.
Is It Any Good?
None of the stories is particularly memorable, but they're all amusing enough to delight Belle fans. BELLE'S MAGICAL WORLD is feature length at 92 minutes, but it's a collection of four different tales rather than one, and the short stories don't have anything do with each other. Viewers expecting the same level of animation, storytelling, or musicality as the original will be disappointed by the budget look of this installment, which takes place after Enchanted Christmas but before the spell is broken at the end of the original.
Since several key members of the original cast return, it's a treat to hear O'Hara, Benson, Orbach, and Cogsworth's David Ogden Stiers (among others) voice their beloved characters again. Fans will also appreciate that O'Hara's lovely singing voice is highlighted in two original songs. Belle is one of the best Disney princesses, because she's not waiting around for a prince to save her -- she's the one who will eventually save the Beast; her charming personality and kind spirit save this otherwise forgettable quartet of friendship tales.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the movie's focus on relationships. How does each short story highlight a different relationship and what it needs to overcome?
What is "The Perfect World" segment's lesson in forgiveness? Why must an apology be from the heart? Can Belle tell the difference between Beast's real apology and the fake one?
Do these straight-to-DVD movies live up to the original's standards? What's the appeal if they aren't as good as the first one? When you love a character, does it make you want to buy stuff with his or her face or name on it?
- On DVD or streaming: February 16, 1998
- Cast: Jerry Orbach, Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson
- Directors: Bob Kline, Cullen Blaine
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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