in 1994 with the return of jafar, disney discovered something that other studios already knew; the sequel is a great way to make a quick buck. in 1997, they proved that nothing was sacred when beauty and the beast and the enchanted christmas was released. i still feel that the movie's not really that bad, granted i haven't seen it since its original release when i was 7. believe me at the time i wasn't the most cinematically astute, but still the movie's actually one of disney's better dtv (direct to video) releases. but how does this soundtrack stand up?
well i was skeptical in the beginning to say the least. i mean i feel that alan menken and howard ashman may just be one of the greatest song writting teams of all time. so how could anyone else live up? thats certainly what i thought at first. when i discovered that academy award winner rachel portman wrote the score i was mildly relieved and when i learned that don black (who did aspects of love) wrote the lyrics i was a bit relieved. so here's how it all adds up, and believe me it's not that bad.
as an audience, our exposure to the score is pretty limited. we're only treated to three songs on the end and two are quite short. the score isn't all that bad and relys heavily on stories and as long as there's christmas, but still pretty good. this really doesn't venture out from those pieces and doesnt really contain much for originality. it certainly doesn't live up to alan menkens, but it's a fun, light-hearted score; which is what it's ultimately going for.
SCORE 3 out of 5
as far as most dtv sequals are concerned, we the audience are treated to a couple of overly sappy and cliched songs, but this soundtrack punches out a fairly impressive 6 sub-par tunes, which is right up there with other theatrical releases, quantity wise. actually the songs are pretty fun and original for the most part and work much better when they go for light hearted rather than inspiring or emotional.
DECK THE HALLS - this opens the piece and a lot of time is spent with the original song. it would've been much more fun if more time had been spent with the original objects since here is where we discover that the entire original cast has returned.
3 out of5
STORIES - this is really the breakout song from this album, and rightly so. compared to the rest of the songs, it's certainly the best and surprising good on its own. it's a nice ballad that does get a little cliched at times and some of the lyrics are less than steller, but is overall fun and enjoyable. paige o'hara's great vocals really lift this song out of the soundtrack in a way that only she can.
4 out of 5
AS LONG AS THERE'S CHRISTMAS - this is the best attempt at a broadway-esque song. it does alright in that respect but again the cd should've stuck more with fun and heartwarming, but this delivers the "true message of christmas" beautifully and the entire cast being back really doesn't hurt things any.
4 out of 5
DON'T FALL IN LOVE - this song tries for the witty brilliance of howard ashman more than any of the others. it's kind of hit or miss (mostly somewhere in between) the songs saving grace comes from tim curry's hammy vocals that really make this work. the songs ultimate downfall is in the corny, over-the-top organ music. (we get it he's an organ ... chill)but this still works well.
3 out of 5
A CUT ABOVE THE REST - this is another good little song that illustrates why the songs should've stuck more with fun and light-hearted. jerry orbach and david odgen stiers are great here and really work well off of one another. but they're really all this song has going for it. there isn't really anything original lyrically and the music is just fun and fast paced, but still fun.
3 out of 5
all in all, this portion had a pretty tough road ahead of it since we all remember the original score and music. but if you can enter this open-minded, it definatley feels pretty enjoyable and is a great holiday piece for conveying christmas' true meaning and that original cast is really the strongest part here. the music and lyrics arent all that bad, and hold up pretty well on their own NOT compared to that original soundtrack
SONGS OVERALL - 3 out of 5
this is where we are treated to 8 christmas carols performed by paige o'hara (belle). honostly, this is why i bought the cd since i think o'hara has an amazingly brilliant voice. this was a great opprotunity. disney got to flesh out their soundtrack with lots of extra music, and paige o'hara got more exposure for her most famous role and was able to release a christmas album, without actually releasing one since these are not exactly the most esteemed types of cd to release. this faces a lot of prejudices right away since we'v all heard these songs a million and a half times, but o'hara's vocals make them all feel pretty light and fresh again.
PART II - 4 out of 5
OVERALL - 3 out of 5