Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this unexpectedly dark holiday tale includes several potentially frightening scenes and a character who's especially mean and manipulative. Younger kids may be disturbed when Beast rages and starts destroying everything in his path or when Belle, Chip, and Fife almost drown in icy waters. The mean-spirited Forte, who is extremely creepy and could cause nightmares, is a negative example of how a friend should act, but all of the other characters are quite sweet and giving, particularly Belle, who -- as always -- is kind-hearted and just wants to show Beast the joy of the Christmas season. If you are looking for a sweet holiday tale, this is not it; it is far scarier than you might expect for a Disney holiday title.
What's the story?
Belle (voiced by Paige O'Hara) tries to prepare the castle for the Christmas season despite Beast's (Robby Benson) disinterest in holiday cheer. But while most of the enchanted figures are excited to help Belle, a mean-spirited pipe organ named Forte (Tim Curry) enlists his small pal, Fife (Paul Reubens), to foil the possibility that Belle could break the curse. Forte convinces Belle to trek into the dangerous Black Forest to get a Christmas tree, which Belle believes will make Beast happy. Forte, however, pretends that Belle has abandoned Beast.
Is it any good?
Nothing could compare to the original Beauty and the Beast's splendor, but once audiences lower their expectations to meet the level of direct-to-DVD films, THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS is an amusing if unnecessarily dark installment in the "tale as old as time." The musical numbers are catchy and the story compelling, but it doesn't always feel like an actual Christmas movie.
The focus on Forte's mission to stop Beauty and the Beast from falling in love takes away from the holiday spirit that permeates the rest of the movie. But on the bright side, Curry is always pitch-perfect playing evil characters, and his desperation to remain BFFs with the Beast is upsetting but surprisingly understandable. O'Hara's Belle is lovely to behold, whether she's dancing around with Chip or telling Beast she just wants him to be happy. She's the heart of the story, and her loving charm makes every Beauty and the Beast ultimately enchanting.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the movie's message about friendship. Was Forte a true friend to Beast? What motivated him to deceive both Beast and Belle?
What is the movie's Christmas message? Why did Belle risk her safety to retrieve the tree?
How does the movie fit into the story of the original Beauty and the Beast? How do the new characters compare to the ones depicted in the original?