An entire generation of fandom was born in what's become known as the "Disney Reniassance" period. The Little Mermaid kicked off a series of fantastic, memorable animated films that included Aladdin, The Lion King and definitely not Brother Bear. This point in time just so happened to coincide with the emergence of the home video market, which soon became the back alley in which Disney prostituted its fresh-faced animated features. What were once prestigious, award-winning franchises were soon warped into withered and lifeless direct-to-video sequels.
Of the dozens of DTV movies Disney pumped out over the course of a decade, hardly any of them were decent. Often you'd find substitute voice actors, middling plots, just sub-par all around.
The animation was usually pretty lackluster, too -- here's an undoctored, derptacular frame of Belle's Magical World:
Not only were these shams of the poorest quality, they're also inconsequential. These Disney sequels are afraid to deliver anything slightly unfamiliar, so they often take place DURING some point of the original movie. So Belle's Enchanted Christmas, for instance, is set sometime after Belle's imprisonment but before Murder She Wrote sang about the CGI ballroom.
The problem with setting a movie inside another movie is that you can't do anything that changes the outcome of the prime storyline. So something like Belle's Enchanted Christmas is stuck telling some meaningless tale that has no bearing on anything, because we all know at the end Belle will fall in love and Beast will turn into a fugly Encino Man.
And worse, the characterization in BEC makes Belle into an utter moron.
Remember how Belle only started warming to Beast once he stopped being a complete dickbag? Well, in Enchanted Christmas, it's Belle that's trying to win Beast over. Reminder: Beast is the dude that captured Belle's dad and imprisoned her forever. It originally took a lot for Belle to give in to Stockholm Syndrome, but in Enchanted Christmas it's as though she was fully entrenched all along.
This movie is like a junk drawer of baffling shit. You can find anything in there -- like an awful flashback to angsty teen-human Beast and evil organ played by Tim Curry -- but it's never anything you ever wanted. To make matters worse, Belle's actions completely invalidate everything in the movie in which it's supposed to take place. It's a Christmas miracle!
At first, Cinderella III's storyline is refreshing; the original evil stepmom Lady Tremaine yoinks the Fairy Godmother's wand and uses magic to go back in time to change the past. In Tremaine's new reality, it was her daughter Anastasia who fit the glass slipper, and not that wretched servant girl with the name like imitation fireplace wood.
It's exciting to see a true Disney sequel that takes place after the events of the original film -- but when you get down to it, the time-travel conceit is just a sneaky way to revisit the movie everyone is already familiar with. Like most Disney direct-to-video sequels, Cinderella III is everything you remember about the original, just a tad different.
The worst part? The whole ordeal reminds you how dense the Prince must be. After dancing with Cindy for hours, he somehow never asked her name, or what part of town she lived in? Even if the Prince was occupied with making constant, creepy eye contact, the point is he saw her face up close. It shouldn't matter if the glass slipper fit someone else when this is how the Prince spent his evening prior:
Cinderella III has to address this because Anastasia is now the glass slipperee. When the Prince finally gazes at the fugly stepsister and realizes his grave error, the Prince books it for the door. He was probably just realizing how terrible his shoe-based marriage plan was when he gets zapped by Lady Tremaine, who at this point is still wielding the Fairy Godmother's wand.
And so the Prince remains zapped for most of the movie so he won't recognize Cinderella. His stupidity is a plot hole so big it literally needs a magic wand to fix.
Even more impressive than the idiocy of the Prince is Lady Tremaine's pettiness -- with the wand in hand, she has the power of the cosmos at her disposal. She can travel through time, she can control people's minds; Lady Tremaine could be an all powerful magic dictator, or explorer of the universe, but instead she's slightly adjusting glass slippers so she can screw over the stepdaughter she could just as easily wink out of existence.
So, everyone is selfish, short-sighted and dumb. So, this is love.