Plot: Taking place somewhere after the wolf attack, it’s Christmas time and Belle and the others want to celebrate. However, Beast hates Christmas since that was the day he was turned into the beast. Belle and the others are determined to make Christmas anyway to try to make him happier, but the court composer turned pipe organ, Forte, doesn’t want the Beast to become happy as that means his somber emo music will have no place in the castle.
I really liked the first Beauty and the Beast. I was never a huge fan of it and it’s been ages since I’ve sat down and watched it all the way through, but I liked it. Christmas in July is going down and whatnot, so why not give this a nice review? Is this a nice late Christmas surprise or a big glass of eggnog that’s been sitting in the open since Christmas of 1997?
Our movie starts out on Christmas Eve set after the events of BatB, so everyone’s back to their human forms that no one wants them to be in. As Chip opens a present early, Cogsworth and Lumiere argue over who saved Christmas last year. In order the settle the dispute, Mrs. Potts says she has to tell the story all over again and Chip acts like he’s never heard it before even though it sounds like she’s told this story several times and he was, ya know, there at the time. Exactly the same problem as Cinderella 2, that’s a great start.
Before I get down to the nitty gritty, I don’t remember enough about the first movie to point out every inconsistency between what I’m about to watch and what actually occurred.
I will, however, point out the glaringly obvious. No matter what happens in this story, it’s pointless. This story happens after Belle gets attacked by wolves in the forest but before any scene that follows that. I guess it’s during that montage where they’re getting along. The events of this story obviously had no impact on anything or else they would’ve showed them in the original movie. Gee, will Belle break the spell? Will they defeat the villain? Obviously they do or else the second half of the original movie would be drastically different.
Midquels can work even with this problem, like Bambi 2, but at least that movie had something interesting we wanted to see. This is just one more thing they did during the montage that made them closer.
The story starts out with really sloppy animation as Mrs. Potts’ words clearly don’t match her lips in the first scene. The group is still hell-bent on getting Belle and the Beast together so they try to get them to go on a walk.
We get some painful slapstick and some awkwardness as Beast meets Belle on the ice out front. Belle then tries to ice skate with Beast….despite the fact that he has no ice skates. Take it from my dog, paws are not ice skate material. They’re slip and fall on your ass material.
We zoom out from the ice skating scene to see our main villain of the movie, Forte, voiced by Tim Curry because he never plays anything but villains….and Nigel Thornberry. Forte is a giant pipe organ. He’s also entirely CGI which contrasts greatly with everything else being traditionally drawn and cel shaded. He’s playing a song for his ‘friend’ or lacky, a piccolo named Fife played by Paul Reubens.
Fife says he sees Beast outside skating with Belle and gets excited because he believes he may fall in love with Belle and break the spell. This sends Forte into a hissy fit, though, as he actually wants to stay as a pipe organ despite the fact that not but 30 seconds ago he raged at being chained to the wall and being unable to move.
He wants to stay in that state because he has a crush on the Beast……..Okay, not really but he might as well. He thought his position was pointless and unappreciated when he was human but now that he IS the pipe organ, the beast is apparently always going to him to listen to sad music when he’s emo because My Chemical Romance hadn’t gotten together at that point yet.
He feels he’s Beast’s best friend and confidant despite the fact that he’s never mentioned before or after this in the original movie, nor is Fife, and he’s jealous of Belle spending time with him. Thus he sends Fife to split them up before Beast falls in love.
Belle and Beast are hitting it off and Beast is even inexplicably getting better at ice skating. Fife tries to stop their romantic shenanigans, but just makes them crash into a snowbanking which doesn’t really bother them.
Belle: “Look, a Christmas angel!” No, that’s a snow angel. Just because you make a snow angel on Christmas doesn’t make it a Christmas angel. It’s not even Christmas, it’s Christmas Eve.
Beast shows his imprint in the snow, which is just a snowy mess and it causes him to have a hissy fit.
Beast: (in front of the rose) “I hate Christmas…” You’re a mean one, nanana, Mr. Grinch.
I really shouldn’t mix those two movies together or else I might cause a tear in the delicate balance of the universe.
So obviously Beast mopes by the fire while Forte serenades his emoness.
Cut to Belle talking with Chip about what a crankypants Beast is and then talks about Christmas. However, Chip doesn’t know what Christmas is, which blows my mind. Mrs. Potts never tried to make Christmas for him? What a bitch. I bet his father would’ve made Christmas for him, but Mrs. Potts probably killed him with a teapot in a fit of irony.
Chip asks Belle what she’d get Beast for Christmas and Chip suggests she should make Beast a story.
She thinks that’s a great idea and starts making him one during our first song of the movie. Now I distinctly remember Nchick talking about this song with annoyance in her review because she felt like the movie shifted gears between the Beast needing to learn to be a better person in order to be with Belle properly to Belle thinking Beast just needed to cheered up or ‘fixed’ and he was becoming her little project. And I do have to say, I think she has a point.
I remember a lot of Belle arguing with and yelling at Beast in the original movie and he was the one who had to work through his own crap to earn Belle’s affection. It wasn’t a matter of cheering him up or making him get over being a beast. He was a jackass before he became the Beast and he had to change on his own….that’s kinda…the plot of the original movie.
However, I don’t really know why she was singling out this song in particular. I guess for the opening few lines where she talks about the Beast needing someone and blah blah. Yeah, that’s there, but the rest of the song is really about how great books are and how getting lost in a book world could make Beast happier. The song’s fairly good and the background animation is really interesting and creative too. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s fine.
Cogsworth says they can’t have Christmas because the Beast hates Christmas. It reminds him of his past and makes him even more of a bummer than usual.
I love when they’re talking about preparing a big Christmas feast. They can’t eat any of the things they’re listing and all of that stuff would be served on their faces.
Is every single item in the Beast’s castle a person? Serious question. Because I almost feel like he’d have nothing in his castle but people if the spell were ever reversed.
Belle and Lumiere go see Angelique who was the castle decorator. She’s apparently an angel tree topper, which explains why she’s rotting away in the attic with her ornament friends. They want her to help them make Christmas, but she refuses because she doesn’t have time. So they decorate without her. Glad that character was so necessary.
It’s here where we get our second song about how awesome Christmas is. It’s also a fairly good song that I have nothing really to note about.
Forte tells Beast that Belle’s planning Christmas so of course he flips out. Then we get a flashback to an animated version of the story of the prince becoming the beast. In the original movie, we’re not given any indication that this occurred on Christmas. It does occur in winter, but that’s all we’re told. Also, from what the stained glass in the original shows, it was a thunderstorm outside not a blizzard….So I decided to look back and nitpick a bit. So what?
Also, uh, Chip had to have been there on Christmas seeing as how that’s when he turned into a cup so how the hell does he not know what Christmas is?
It still bugs me to this day that the witch decided to curse everyone in his castle too. What the hell did they ever do to her?
And if we’re going to be flashbacking here, where are Beast’s parents?
I would say that the prince pre-beast was way over-doing it on the whole spoiled jackass prince thing, but considering the way Beast acts on a regular basis, it’s probably fairly accurate.
Beast then decides to confront Belle who is in the boiler room trying to find a yule log. I always wondered what a yule log was for and now that I know….I find it pretty stupid. You find a log, everyone touches it makes a wish? Oh well, I guess it’s not any stupider than the thing with the wishbone.
Beast flips out at her in emo mode some more and says no Christmas, but she says she won’t stop trying.
Why exactly is Beast given a free pass to be a jerk on Christmas? I mean, yeah, boo hoo that’s when he turned into a beast, but that’s also when everyone else in the castle was turned into FURNITURE. And I have to say, if I had the choice to either be some weird werewolf chimera thing or a candlestick, I’d choose the damn werewolf chimera thing.
Belle and Chip go off into the woods to cut down a Christmas tree while Beast finds the present Belle made for him and says he’ll get her something too.
Beast asks Forte to compose happy music for Belle as her Christmas gift, which makes Forte ornery. So he decides to get rid of Belle so Beast will go back to his mopey self and he’ll hear no more of that ‘love’ garbage.
You know, this villain’s pretty damn lame. Tim Curry’s trying his best, but Forte is just a Sailor Moon villain plain and simple. He hates love and happiness and practically feeds off of negativity. In addition to that, what kind of threat can he really pose when he’s a pipe organ chained to the wall? All he can move is his face.
Forte lures Belle into his chambers by using Fife to call the little dog ottoman thing. He plays nice and says he’s all for Christmas to cheer up Beast. However, Belle and Chip failed to find a tree so Forte suggests that she go into the Black Forest to find one. Belle promised Beast she wouldn’t leave, but Forte convinces her that that the tree is so integral that she has no choice but to go get one there. She says it looks dangerous and, like, no freakin’ crap. She got attacked by wolves in there not but a couple of days ago. Once she leaves, he tells Fife to follow them and ensure they never come back.
Beast wants to meet with Belle to let her listen to the song he had Forte make for her, but she’s off to the Black Forest so Lumiere and Cogsworth go off to find her.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Potts is trying to distract Beast from realizing that Belle’s gone and we hear the song Forte made for Belle. It’s just Deck the Halls…Played awfully since Forte’s a pipe organ and he’s not putting any effort into singing because he hates happy songs.
Beast finds out that Belle is gone and wants to bring her back, but Forte tries to stop him with our third song which I don’t care much for, but it’s alright. I will however note one line in which Forte yells out the word ‘hell’. I did not see that coming. I was blindsided. ‘Hell”s not the grandpappy of all swears or anything, but it’s still a word that typically doesn’t get heard in children’s movies, especially not Christmas specials. It’s just used to emphasize how awful it is to be in love. And yes, that’s what the entire song is about, how awful it is to be in love. The visuals are pretty damn nice, but the song is just meh.
Forte also says “if you’re turned on, just turn off!” during the song. Wow, Disney was really feeling naughty that day, eh?
The song works and Beast tears up all of the Christmas decorations that everyone put up. Angelique is still there by the way. Her part is basically to stand there and be a bitch.
Belle and Chip are going way too friggin’ far into the forest to find….a TREE. For the love of God, you can see all sorts of pine trees from the damn window of the castle right there on the treeline.
And they’re using an axe whose schtick is to be a stereotypical Jewish person. I don’t know how to respond to that, really.
They get the tree down and Fife tries to sabotage them, but they discover him as he tries to catch up to the sleigh. I guess he starts having involuntary spasms where he whistles and this scares the horse, breaking the ice over the lake. Chip falls into the water and Belle saves him, but she’s dragged underwater by the tree. The Beast still goes after her for some reason and saves her life complete with slow-mo immersion from the ice.
Beast locks her away in the dungeon for going back on her word to never leave and Belle’s handling hypothermia in that cold dungeon very well.
Everyone’s sad for one reason or another besides Forte who’s all happy because Beast is mopey and has given up on Belle. The group decides to visit Belle by entering the dungeon through a doggy door that was installed in the dungeon door for some reason. Angelique, that character who has barely had a part and has been nothing but a whiny Negative Nancy says she’s changed her mind about Christmas since the nice decorations were ruined by the Beast. Then she reprises the song about Christmas from earlier with Belle and it’s actually pretty nice.
Beast broods some more and Forte tries to tempt Beast into smashing the rose to end his naïve notions of ever falling in love and breaking the curse once and for all. This scene is meant to have tension, but there is none seeing as how there’s no way he’d ever do it. If he did, the first movie would’ve ended in the middle.
As he’s about to smash it, a single rose petal falls on Belle’s gift to Beast. Forte tries to make fun of it, but Beast chooses to read it…..I’m just now realizing that Belle wrote a fairly long book in the time frame of a few hours. I knew she could read like crazy, but that’s insane.
The visuals while reading the book are also fairly nice, and I commend Disney for remembering to put the text in French.
We interrupt this movie for a pointless song sequence by Lumiere and Cogsworth.
God, it’s like the movie suddenly remembered an hour in that this movie was supposed to be a dick measuring contest between Cogsworth and Lumiere and decided to just up and throw in a random song immediately after Beast’s revelation scene to have Cogsworth and Lumiere basically go back and forth saying “I’m better than you.” And it is one of the most jarring transitions I’ve ever seen. The song is probably the lowest of the bunch with several lame lyrics and, again, it has no point. It’s also very short.
Beast and Belle make up and Beast wants to make the best Christmas ever for Belle. Obviously, Forte will have none of that, but what’s he going to do? He’s a pipe organ chained to the wall…..
Oh yeah, he has magic music powers for no reason whatsoever and we’re never told how he got them. Yeah, apparently Forte can make music so loud that it not only causes the castle to start BREAKING APART and CRUMBLING BENEATH THEIR FEET, but he also controls weird green music notes that attack anyone near him….Those things also appeared in Forte’s song but I just thought they were for the musical section. The visuals in musical sections never make sense logically, especially in Disney movies. But whatever.
Beast defeats him by ripping out his keyboard and throwing it into the pipes, which, considering he’s just a transformed person, is basically the equivalent to someone tearing off your arms and impaling you in the gut with them, causing him to break free from the wall and fall over dead.
You just witnessed a gruesome murder. Merry Christmas! 😀
Oh and yeah, the reason both Cogsworth and Lumiere thought they each saved Christmas was because they saved the rose from falling on the ground. That was also a complete after-thought scene I think.
We see Belle and the Beast enter the room to celebrate Christmas while the audience wonders how the hell the castle got fixed and decorated in only a few hours.
Cut back to present day, Mrs. Potts says if anyone saved Christmas, it’s Belle. And speak of the devil, here comes Belle and the be—Guy with no name now….This is bugging me. I really need to look this up….Hm, his real name is Adam apparently. Okie dokie.
They give Chip a storybook as a present and ask Fife, now the new court composer, to start playing music.
Belle and…Adam, I feel awkward saying that, walk off onto the balcony where he gives her a rose as his gift. I’d say he’s being cheap for a super-rich prince, but it’s symbolic and romantic and whatnot.
And that’s the end.
My opinion? It’s a perfectly fine movie, and it’s also a perfectly enjoyable Christmas movie. Is it perfect? Hell no. Are there numerous continuity errors/plot holes? Yes. Are there cheesy/lame parts? Yes. But it’s not as bad as I was fearing, in fact I’d rank it rather high on the list of Disney sequels. Many of the visuals are wonderful, and it was well-directed. It’s not as nice to look at as the first movie, especially with CGI Forte being a sore thumb, but it’s not TV series quality and it’s pretty nice to look at.
The music is also really good for a Disney sequel, and I commend them for coming up with a new Christmas song that wasn’t cheesy as hell. There’s actually three versions of the song in this movie. The first, the reprise and the credits version. I find the credits version the best.
The other songs are also fairly good. The only one I want to complain about is the ‘I’m better than you’ song and even that wasn’t that awful. Just jarringly placed, out of tone of the rest of the surrounding scenes and lame lyrics.
The story has its problems, I won’t deny, and there are plenty of little details that nitpickers like me will want to gnaw at, but it’s nothing major.
I also found that most of the reviews on IMDB for this movie were fairly positive and most of the complaints about the movie were just comparing it to the original. I can understand how certain aspects like Belle seeming too chipper or hanging around too much with Chip or making Beast seem too broody would get on a fan’s nerves, but it’s not that bad.
Forte as a villain, despite Tim Curry’s best efforts, and I give him credit for that, is just….lame. While you can tell that he’s partially motivated by not wanting to feel useless or abandoned, he’s mostly just hating on love and happiness for a good bulk of the movie and wants nothing more than for Beast to perpetually be a little emo git so he can serenade him all day. He does have energy and character, however, but that’s really just contributed to Mr. Curry’s performance.
Fife is your typically timid lackey who was obviously going to turn on Forte in the end. He wasn’t too annoying though.
Angelique was just kinda there, but her reprise of the Christmas song made up for a good chunk of that.
Bottomline – All in all, I’d say I recommend this movie. Like I said, it’s not perfect, but it’s far from being one of the rotten apples on the Disney Sequel tree……..However……there is another sequel….Belle’s Magical World…..I don’t even know what that movie’s about, but I’ll give it some hope considering this movie’s quality.
Recommended Audience: Despite the ‘hell’ thing and the incredibly minor sexual overtone-ish line, there’s nothing really offensive in this movie. 5+