Beast: I WILL NEVER APOLOGIZE!
Beware: Spoilers may follow
With The Enchanted Christmas proving to be a good enough financial success, the creators decided to make another Beauty and the Beast mid-quel. Thus we got Belle’s Magical World. Despite its title, there is nothing magical about this movie whatsoever. The effort in its story, characters, and animation (albeit to a lesser extent) truly feel minimal.
The story or rather stories involve a bunch of conflicts while Belle was living in the castle while the curse was in effect. There’s one involving Mrs. Potts being depressed, there’s one about a bird with a broken wing, there’s one involving a heated argument between Belle and the Beast, and one about Lumiere and the feather duster.
The first thing about the stories is that none of them connect with one another whatsoever outside of the same setting in the Beast’s castle and having the same characters. In fact, this wasn’t even supposed to be a direct-to-DVD mid-quel. The segments in this movie were supposed to be episodes for an unreleased Beauty and the Beast TV show. Not wanting any material for the show already completed to go to waste they decided to put it all together and pass it off as a direct-to-DVD mid-quel. To make matters worse all the segments are very repetitive in their storytelling: the characters are putting something together, shenanigans ensue in pulling it off, and Belle teaches a moral, which makes everybody happy. The morals themselves are horribly dumbed down and hammered in taking away any weight to them. The conflicts are just so petty and miniscule to the point that they are forgettable. The whole thing doesn’t even wrap up at the end. After the last segment, it just stops.
In regards to the animation, it feels like it was significantly reduced from The Enchanted Christmas. They still stick to the character designs and backgrounds to the best of their abilities. Despite being severely limited in its budget some of the living objects do have a touch of creativity to them. Others though just feel like the aniamtors just stuck a pair of eyes on an object. There are times when the character and background animation have a significant lack of synergy. There are also multiple animation goofs that while small, are hard to not remember once they’re seen. The animation, while it had a little bit of effort put into it, did set a new low for animation overall.
The characters are yet another point where the movie suffers. Both the main and side characters in the original movie are some of the most beloved characters in Disney history. Here they are merely made into generic tropes for this unreleased set of TV episodes. Any complexity or distinctness they may have had in the first movie is taken away to the point that they are either one-dimensional or unrecognizable. Belle is simply a voice of reason, the Beast is essentially the ill-tempered jerk, the feather duster is essentially Lumiere’s girlfriend, etc. They did manage to bring back some of the old voice actors for the returning characters and they do well enough considering the material they have to work with. The new characters despite having some legendary voice acting behind them like Jim Cummings and Jeff Bennett often serve little purpose or have a running gag that’s never funny.
Belle’s Magical World manages to be the worst Disney sequel in addition to being one of the worst animated movies and sequels of all time. When it comes to the bad reputation Disney sequels have this is the movie people think of. If you’re a fan of the original, stay away from this movie. It disrespects everything that made the original great including the fact that it was the first animated movie to be nominated for best picture. There may be good Disney sequels out there but this movie is not a part of whatever praise any of them may receive. The praise exists for sequels that are a lot better.