By Clint Morris
As much effort as the mouseketeers put into these direct-to-video sequels and spin-offs, there’s no denying that extra time, more money and a longer spool does make for a better movie.
Still, as inferior as the animation and plotting is, points to the story tellers for coming up with something rather clever : They’ve set this film in the original, award-winning, tear-jerkin’, money-making “Beauty & The Beast”, when the Beast is being attacked by Wolves while rescuing Belle. In otherwords, it’s like “Beast 1.5″.
Taking a page out of the “Scrooge” book, the story has Belle and her newly talking kitchen-ware pals trying to convince the Beast that Christmas isn’t just another money-wasting marketers dream. A couple of the ornaments aren’t too happy about being turned back into humans and so plot against Belle to ruin Christmas for everyone, particularly the easily-ruffled Beast. You know the drill.
Naturally, the Beast’s mind is changed by the end of the film’s rather stumpy 72 minutes.
Songs aren’t as good, and the story isn’t as special as the original, but with the whole cast returning (namely Robby Benson and Paige O’Hara as the title characters) , some clever scripting and a terrific Tim Curry voicing the villainous pipe organ out to squash Christmas cheer.
Blu-ray Details and Extras :
This is one of those Blu-ray/DVD combos, meaning you’ve got the choice to play it in high-def or standard. Either way, it looks good.
Considering it’s a direct-to-video sequel, there’s a surprisingly good amount of extras on here : music videos, featurettes, games and a sing-along feature.