‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ Review (Post #110)

1996-the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-poster1Part of http://letterboxd.com/fitzgeraldgrant/list/the-walt-disney-animation-studios-challenge/

From the very start of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I was entranced with its beauty, visually, musically, and story telling. I had never been a big fan of this one when I was little, but I understand now why that was. It is the most adult oriented Disney film I have ever seen. It deals with many dark issues that I don’t think kids can understand.

From the opening number I was imagining this as a staged musical. It’s soundtrack is entrancing, giving me goose bumps throughout the whole film. Hunchback may be the most under rated Disney film I have ever come across. We will see by the end of watching the Disney canon if I feel the same way. So I had to download this one off the internet too watch and right after I watched it I bought it on BluRay from amazon. I will be watching this one for years to come.

Visuals: For The Hunchback of Notre Dame, they chose to use a highly realistic animation style, that is not only appealing to the dark story, but is always breathtaking. Especially in the scenes taking place on top of Notre Dame.

Acting: The voices in this aren’t going to be remembered for the character acting, but for the realistic quality. Tony Jay is haunting as Frollo and always terrifying, Demi Morre’s sexy voice is always a pleasure to here and Tom Hulce does the innocent Quasimodo perfectly.

Story: What could have been a perfect story was ruined by Disney’s go to comic relief, the Gargoyles. When the story gets most intense, I got pulled completely out of the story by their song “A Guy Like You”. This is something we see done on the stage, like in West Side Story. After the rumble the gang sings “Officer Krupke”. Now this works for the stage because it is unfolding, in real life, right in front of us. But this is a movie and in the West Side story movie they chose to have the more intense song “Cool” in its place. If they had placed “A Guy Like You” earlier in the film I would have enjoyed it, because it is a good stand alone song. What would have been a near perfect story is ruined by throwing us out of the story by these whimsical gargoyles.

Concept: Bringing this tragic story to a Disney animation was a risk and they did it remarkably well. There is no tragic death, which is nice, but there also isn’t a perfect happy ending for our protagonist. The film is comic where is needs to be but also stays close to its themes of persecution, sin, and fate.

Personal: I was emotionally swept away by this story. It is truly entrancing, what with the music, story and heavy human themes. Only complaint was bringing me out of the story by one silly song.

Re-Watchability: I will watch this movie every year of my life. I hope that it will grow on me even more and will maybe be in my top 10 animated movies at some point. It is truly remarkable.



About grantfitzgerald

God. Family. Friends. Parkour. Film. Theater.

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