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  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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    English, Hebrew, Croatian, Slovenian
  • 2 Karaoke
  • Interactive game - Belle's Delightful Dinner
  • Short film - Enchanted Environment

Beauty & the Beast - Belle's Magical World

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 88 mins . G . PAL


First of all; why is this called Belle’s Magical World? If memory serves, she was brought into this house long after the inhabitants had been enchanted to become cookware and bedpans. But then, the target audience of little girls like Belle much more than that big old Beast, so we gotta give her title privileges.

Anyhow, this is obviously made for television or DVD, as it is firmly ensconced in its 4:3 ratio. Plus, there are dark pauses between chapters where commercials could easily be slotted in. At any rate, this is the third such DVD of the Beauty and the Beast series and appears as the lesser of those three.

Animation is quite average for a Disney production and, although made in 1997, there doesn’t seem to be a trace of 2D imaging, rather the use of hand-painted cels. Enchanted Christmas featured some nice computer animation in the 3D modelling of a pipe-organ and poisoned musical notes, but here we are quite devoid of anything remotely computer related. Even the characters seem to be off model at times, which is an absolute surprise from a Disney production.

This is a series of four short stories, none of which are related to each other, coming to a total of 88 minutes. There are a couple of new characters splashed about a bit and some noticeable voices missing from the usual cast (Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts is the most glaring). Overall the show struck me as the usual sort of Disney filler material that shows up on the Disney Channel to fill space. Maybe fans of the series (and little girls who couldn’t care less about modelsheets or cel jitter, just give us BELLE!) could enjoy this, but for the average citizen, there are better animated adventures out there upon which to spend your Disney Fun Bucks.

The stories go like this:

  • The Perfect Word.
    Belle and the Beast argue and it falls to the enchanted inhabitants of the castle to bring them back together.
  • Fifi’s Folly.
    Lumiere’s girlfriend (a feather duster) thinks he is cheating on her with Belle (?!) and she plans revenge with disastrous consequences.
  • Mrs. Potts’ Party.
    When Mrs. Potts gets depressed by the weather (and not by being an enchanted teapot with a cup for a son… ), everyone must work together to throw her a party to cheer her up.
  • Broken Wing.
    An injured bird helps the Beast understand happiness and freedom and trust.

The stories are fairly juvenile in their simplicity and certainly not very challenging for an adult audience, but again, the little girls (and some little boys) will no doubt enjoy them for what they are. That just comes with a little bit more difficulty to this moderately grown-up reviewer.


As noted, we get the full gamut of 4:3 here, so don’t bother searching for your anamorphic enhancement. There are volumes of cel jitter and cel artefacts about the castle, lurking like ill-concealed enchanted pests. And they’re plentiful. Occasionally there’s even a cel reflection or two over some darker areas on screen. Colours however, are even and bright and the lighting is fine. Flesh tones are, well, whatever they’re supposed to be, I guess. Porcelain, timber… gunmetal; they all look even too. Thankfully blacks are realistic, but again they betray the clear cels atop them.


Only two songs this time around for you to fast forward through. A quick funny story; a coupla years back I was visiting my brother and his wife who had a five year old daughter at the time (I think she’s nine now). Anyway, we all went into the garden to do some work and before long we could hear this quite poor rendition of This Provincial Life from Beauty and the Beast (Episode One). I found it hilarious that a little girl could put two and two together like that. The point I’m making is that was a better version than either of the two in this budget picture. Thanks Stephanie.

Dialogue is all fine and dutifully cheesy while sound effects are well synched and comically predictable. Music by Harvey R. Cohen is of the style of this sort of film and suits the piece okay, but is hardly worth writing a song of praise about. While the whole thing is delivered in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, the surrounds snooze a lot and the subwoofer sounds like it’s left home for good.


Just a couple designed for the younger generation of animation fans… those who aren’t watching Shrek, I mean. And also, this is called a Special Edition for some reason… I can’t figure out why, other than that it might help sales.

First up is Belle’s Dinner Game which is a simple hide and seek in which the characters hide quite poorly. I almost got them all in one sitting. This is followed by a question game about the movie and there’s no reward but knowing you paid attention to the film. Woo.

The Enchanted Environment is a 3:01 repeating wallpaper animation in which the four seasons progress continually and link quite seamlessly back to the start to go around again ad infinitum. I’ve seen a couple of these, and this one isn’t among the worst.

Finally, a Disney Song Selection karaoke in which we get song lyrics and the short bits of the film in which the songs appear. A good one for all those practicing Belle’s out there, tilling the fields 'til all hours.


Like I said, this one is for fans of the other two (and any subsequent additions). There isn’t anything extraordinary by way of animation here and nothing we haven’t seen before. In fact, at times, it resembles a return to the glory days of animation when a character actually flew off a cliff and just when we thought they’d be dead, they turn up hanging off an errant root or bush sticking out of the cliffside. Sigh. That one went out with Wile E. Coyote.

Anyhow, while the littlies might like this, parental supervisors might struggle to find anything worthy among the dross here. Not an impressive release by Disney’s usual high standard and a general disappointment.

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      And I quote...
    "Another follow-up that fails to deliver anything of any real worth. "
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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