Beauty and the Beast-The Enchanted Christmas (1997)
|Year Of Production||1997|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Andy Knight|
Warner Home Video
David Ogden Stiers
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Dutch Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hebrew Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Icelandic Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
If you are unaware of the original animated Beauty And The Beast, you may not understand some of the references here. Suffice it to say that the Beast (Robby Benson) is suffering, along with his household staff, from the effects of a curse placed upon the castle as a result of his self-centred behaviour. His salvation will only come when he meets a woman who will love him for what he is, and thus enters Belle (Paige O'Hara). Naturally, the original ends in true Disney fashion with everything working out and all living happily ever after. It is now a little after those events, Christmas, and the household staff in the form of Lumiere (Jerry Orbach), Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers) and Mrs Potts (Angela Lansbury) are reminiscing about how Christmas was returned to the castle by Belle the previous year. The story is simple enough: Beast is in love with Belle, Belle wants to make Christmas special, Beast is not too keen, Belle is infuriatingly single-minded in her pursuit of a happy Christmas. The rest is as they say, history - or more correctly, herstory.
Even in these made-for-video presentations, the general quality of the animation is very good. A pity that this is often better than the story, but that is also part of the Disney tradition. The story here is really very simple, and its presentation here is just about spot-on in terms of the length that it could sustain. Most of the vocal cast return from the original film, plus a couple of new additions in Bernadette Peters as Angelique, the house decorator, and Tim Curry as Forte, the court composer. All do a suitable good job and they keep the interest level moving along at a decent rate. The animation is a blend of traditional and computer, with that of Forte clearly being computer generated. It is all uniformly good with nothing to complain about. This sort of effort is where new or emerging talent gets a chance in the Disney organization I guess and that would account for the unknown name in the director's chair. The result, however, is decent enough.
It may not be the original and it may not be the best story, but the result is quite a mildly entertaining effort that will probably keep the younger set happy. However, amongst the other animated features coming out at the moment, there is not much here of great distinction to encourage its purchase in preference to great quality like Tarzan or Toy Story 2, or esteemed classics like Fantasia.
There is certainly little to complain about in this transfer. A nice sharp transfer indeed, with loads of detail in the picture and plenty of decency in the shadow detail created, even in the darker scenes. A very clear transfer, there is not a hint of grain at all in the transfer, and there is no problem with low level noise.
The colours come up wonderfully well here, with plenty of vibrancy where it is required and plenty of subtlety where it was required. A very nice looking matt finish here, with the computer animated sequences showing Forte a nicely contrasting metallic feel. There is plenty of depth to the colours, without a hint of oversaturation nor any issue with colour bleed.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There did not appear to be any significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There were some obvious film artefacts in the transfer, but nothing that really was too distracting or annoying.
The dialogue and vocals come up very well in the transfer and are easy to understand. There is of course the inherent problem of animation sync.
The music and songs come from Rachel Portman, and try to meet the strict Disney formula of a few good songs to keep the animation flowing along. Unfortunately it has to be said that the songs are not exactly great, and the score is even less so. Nonetheless, they support the film reasonably well, even if they do not in the least indicate anything other than made-for-video status.
Unusually for a Disney animated feature aimed at the younger set, this gets not only a bass channel but a quite aggressive bass channel to boot. When the organ kicks in, this really lets fly with some very decent bass support. It seems a little incongruous to have a full 5.1 soundtrack here yet something like Tarzan gets only a 5.0 effort. The organ scenes are what really demonstrates the excellence of this soundtrack. Apart from the bass channel kicking in, there is some glorious surround channel detail that really accompanies the bass reverb very well indeed. This is definitely an excellent soundtrack that is in many ways far better than this made-for-video effort deserves.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|