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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Fantasy > Computer Animation > Animals > Holiday > Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas – Special Edition (Disney/Blu-ray + DVD) + Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World – Special Edition (Disney DVD) + Ice Age – A Mammoth Christmas Special

Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas – Special Edition (Disney/Blu-ray + DVD) + Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World – Special Edition (Disney DVD) + Ice Age – A Mammoth Christmas Special (Fox/Blu-ray + DVD w/Digital Copy)



Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas – Special Edition

Picture: B/B-

Sound: B/B-

Extras: C

Film: C


Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World – Special Edition

Picture: B-

Sound: B-

Extras: C

Film: C


Ice Age – A Mammoth Christmas Special

Picture: A-/B

Sound: A-/B

Extras: C

Film: B-



As mentioned time and time again in this reviewer’s DVD/Blu-ray reviews, straight to Home Video films do not typically deliver the best quality material; even Disney not all too often being able to break this stereotype.


First up we have Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas – Special Edition, which was originally released to Home Video in 1997 as a VHS.  It was meant to play off of the extreme the original Beauty and the Beast and is a mid-quel as it takes place in the middle of the original film.  Think of it as a ‘lost scene/chapter’ (one that perhaps should have stayed lost).  The film takes place after The Beast saves Beauty from the wolves, but before he gives her the castle library as a gift.  The story boils down to The Beast forbidding the inhabitants of the enchanted castle to celebrate Christmas as that was the time of year when the witch transformed him.  It is up to Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Chip, Cogsworth, and of course Belle to convince that Christmas is worth celebrating.  The film is filled with musical numbers and animation that are nice, but nowhere near the level of greatness of the original.  Even as the film is not great it is astonishingly better than Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World – Special Edition.


Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World – Special Edition was produced 1 year after Enchanted Christmas, owing its conception to the fact that the first straight Home Video release was so financially successful.  Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World – Special Edition is another mid-quel and takes place right after Enchanted Christmas.  The film is awful.  It is broken down into four new short stories (originally three with one added to the re-release DVD in 2003) that have some lackluster songs and passable animation.  The four stories are ‘The Perfect Word,’ ‘Fifi’s Folly,’ ‘Mrs. Potts’ Party,’ and ‘Broken Wing.’  Each story has a cheesy moral such as forgiveness, compromise, and respect for others.  The film is wholly directed at children, but even at that I feel it is a bit weak and uninspiring.


Finally we have the Fox release of Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special.  I have always enjoyed the Ice Age films and feel they have only gotten better in terms of storyline and animation.  This straight to Blu-ray/DVD release is not the best storyline (nor does it make much sense), but the computer animation is solid and is of film quality.  The short (26 minute) film has all of the original cast back again to voice our furry friends.  The gang is gearing up for Christmas and in the middle of the celebration Sid breaks Manny’s favorite Christmas Rock.  Now Sid is on Santa’s naughty list…at least that is what Manny says.  To get back on Santa’s good graces Sid jolts off to the North Pole along with some friends.  After arriving at the North Pole, however, Sid and the gang accidentally destroy Santa’s workshop.  Manny, Ellie, and Diego arrive at the North Pole to find the shop in shambles; in order to save Christmas the gang pulls together and buckles down.  It is a cute story, even if pure nonsense, that I believe was created to refresh all of our memories on the Ice Age crew as the new film arrives in theaters this July.


In terms of technical features, some of the films presented here are much better than others; accumulating as low, middle, and high quality.  Enchanted Christmas is a 1080p High Definition 1.78 X 1 Widescreen presentation that has great colors and inky blacks, but the lower detailed animation takes something away from this Disney feature presentation.  The old 1997 computer graphics (especially the pipe organ) look worse than ever as they look very dated.  The transfer is crisp and clean, but leaves much to be desired; the DVD inside being worse, though it is a full screen image that does not crop off parts like the Blu-ray widescreen.  The sound on Enchanted Christmas is an English DTS –HD Master Audio that I felt was either whispering or screaming at me the entire time as the forceful track was overwhelmingly odd.  What can only be explained as a poor mix, makes the viewing experience shaky at best. Belle’s Magical World is even worse on DVD as the animation from 1997 to 1998 seemed to get worse, not better.  Appearing like a Disney Channel quicky and not a true Disney film; hence the straight to Home Video release.  The 1.33 X 1 animated presentation is washed and lacking detail.  The colors are more muted and blacks don’t pop as they should.  The sound is weak and comes fully from the front even in as its 5.1 Dolby Digital track, that is meant to boast surrounds, it fails to impress.


Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special is a great presentation.  I would say this is nearly demo quality as it almost matches the third film installment in its brilliant execution of Computer Animation.  The colors of Christmas Reds and Greens are bright and warm, whereas they are balanced with icy Blues and Whites of the Ice Age.  The dark framing blacks capture your attention and highlight the deep, intricate detail of each and every character and each and every hair on these beasts.  The sound is nice in its 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio but at only 26minutes long the film never gets to the exciting point where I think the full range could be used.  There is use of all speakers and the directionality is there, just not for too long.


The extras for all three releases are a bit weak:


Enchanted Christmas

  • Sing Me a Story Belle: “Stick to it Don’t Give Up”
  • Sing A Long Mode
  • Song Selection Menu
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • “As Long As There’s Christmas” Music Video
  • Enchanted Environment (click on things)


Belle’s Magical World

  • Sing Me a Story Belle: “What’s Inside Counts”
  • Belle’s Delightful Dinner Game
  • Song Selection Menu
  • Enchanted Environment (click on things)


Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special

  • Sneak Peek of Ice Age: Continental Drift
  • Swingin’ Jingle Bells Music Video
  • Digital Copy



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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