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

Starring:
Robby Benson as Beast (voice)
Gregory Grudt as Chip (voice)
Paige O’Hara as Belle (voice)
David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth (voice)
Jerry Orbach as Lumiere (voice)
Kimmy Robertson as Fifi (voice)
Anne Rogers as Mrs. Potts (voice)
Frank Welker as Sultan (voice)
Jo Anne Worley as Wardrobe (voice)
Jeff Bennett
Jim Cummings
April Winchell
Rob Paulsen

Special Features:
Belle’s Delightful Dinner Game
Enchanted Environment
Disney’s Song Selections
DVD-ROM Weblinks

Other Info:
Fullscreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound
French Language Track
Running Time: 92 Minutes

Synopsis:
This was originally a VHS presentation released in 1997.

“Belle’s Magical World” takes place during the time frame of the film when Belle and Beast become friends. Four short tales are told:

The Perfect Word – When Belle and Beast get in a fight and refuse to apologize to each other, it’s up to the enchanted servants to set things right. Webster the dictionary, the pen, and the paper conspire to send a note leading Belle to think Beast has apologized. However, it’s only a matter of time before the hotheaded master finds out the truth.

Fifi’s Folly – As the anniversary of Fifi (the duster) and Lumiere’s first date approaches, Fifi looks forward to what her friend the candlestick has planned. However, when Lumiere goes to Belle for advice on what to do for his love, Fifi gets jealous. She thinks Lumiere has fallen in love with Belle. Hell hath no fury as a feather duster scorned, so Fifi starts planning her revenge.

Mrs. Pott’s Party – Mrs. Potts has been feeling blue, so the servants in the castle and Belle plan a party to cheer her up.

Broken Wing – When a bird is hurt outside the castle, Belle takes it in to take care of it. However, Beast hates birds and orders it removed. When Belle refuses, he takes it awayÂ…then learns to like it. But will he learn to set the bird free that he has come to love?

The Movie:
This DVD appears to be four TV cartoons spliced into one long movie. Unfortunately, the quality of the animation is also a sign of that. It’s not terribly good, even for television animation. That’s a shame, too, because they accomplished quite a feat in getting all of the cast (except Angela Lansbury) back to provide the voices of the characters. With a little better animation and some better stories this would have been a much classier presentation.

The stories aren’t that great compared to the original film. Why does the Beast hate birds? Why would the feather duster try and hurt Belle? How can you have a full half hour episode centered around planning a party? Nothing about it comes together well, though I’m sure children will enjoy it.

I wish I could find something good to say about this, but it’s really another sign that Disney can’t figure out how to make a decent sequel. They find a great story and concept then seem to milk it for all its worth cranking out sequels while forsaking quality.

The Extras:
This DVD doesn’t have as many extras as the Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Christmas DVD. However, I suppose these are what make this a “Special Edition”:

Belle’s Delightful Dinner Game – This game has two parts. First you must find the dictionary, pen, and paper hidden among for pictures. Once you have done that, they write a dinner invitation to the Beast for Belle. Then you must answer trivia questions about the film to light the chandelier. This isn’t terribly challenging, but kids will get a kick out of it.

Enchanted Environment – Music and sound effects play over an endless loop of the forest changing over the seasons. It’s kind of a lame extra feature.

Disney’s Song Selections – You can listen to two of the songs from the cartoon with the words playing along the bottom for a sing-a-long.

The Bottom Line:
Kids will get a kick out of this DVD, but adult fans of the film will find it a pale shadow of its predecessor.

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