Customer Review

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty decent, but couldn't they have taken bigger chances with this?, July 7, 2008
This review is from: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (DVD)
I have read "Notre-Dame de Paris (a.k.a. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame)" by Victor Hugo, and it has become one of my all-time favorite books. When I saw the Disney adaptation, I was a bit disappointed. Let me start with the good.

THE GOOD SIDE: I admire the beautiful animation (especially the accurate rendering of the Notre-Dame cathedral). It's all been done very splendidly. The songs "Topsy Turvy" and "God Help the Outcasts" are very enjoyable, while the songs "Hellfire" and "The Bells of Notre Dame" define the darker side of Disney. The gargoyles Hugo, Victor, and Laverne will provide excellent comic relief for the kids. And finally, I'm glad they took a very dark approach for a Disney film like this . . .

THE BAD SIDE: Unfortunately, this isn't dark enough. My main complaint is changing much of Victor Hugo's adult novel into a G-rated family film.

Here are some major examples:
-Clopin is not a jester of the Festival of Fools in the novel, rather he is a protector of the outcasts.
-La Esmeralda is sixteen years old in the novel.
-Phoebus does not have a friendly relationship with the outcasts.
-Claude Frollo is the actual Archdeacon.
-Quasimodo is deaf.
-Jehan does not appear in the film.
-Pierre Gringoire does not appear in the film.
-The novel does NOT have a happy ending.

I mean, come on, the creators of the Disney version could've at least taken some chances with this, make the audience see that animation isn't all about happy animals and dancing trees and etc. etc. But instead, we still get the same family-friendly atmosphere (except the Shrek films) in animated movies (The Incredibles, Mulan, Finding Nemo, Chicken Little, Hoodwinked, etc.). Ugh, what next? Skunks finding success in pop music? Snails becoming superheroes? The animators of today should adapt Miguel de Cervantes's "Don Quixote" or the Finnish epic "The Kalevala" or the Indian Epic "The Ramayana" and bring some dramatic approaches towards animation (whether it's 2D or 3D).

But who knows? The future still holds many mysteries. We'll never know what's going to happen next.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 27, 2011 2:20:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 27, 2011 2:21:24 PM PDT
If you're looking for animators who take risks, you have to look outside of American animation. Disney is too wrapped up in their family-friendly formula to produce anything considered even slightly adult-orientated. The Japanese have always trashed Disney when it comes to animation since perhaps the 1970's. Look into films like "Grave of the Fireflies" and you'll know what I mean.

Posted on Sep 30, 2011 12:26:27 PM PDT
Tenoko1 says:
This review is too harsh. They took huge risks with Hunchback, it couldn't have been any darker because after all it was a family film by a company who makes movies with an audience mainly including children. If you want a darker storyline, you are going to have to hope for a movie that isn't animated, that ISN'T geared for children of all ages. They did what they could with what they had and the limitations that were given, view it as a stand-alone rather than an adaptation if you must.

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 12:35:57 PM PDT
shiori says:
Respect your opinion but most parents complain the movie is too dark. I am just saying that if they made it darker, we would have even more complaints about the movie not being kid friendly. Although, I love this film and disagree with the reviewers who say it is too dark for kids. This was one of my favorites as a child.

Posted on May 10, 2013 3:30:18 PM PDT
Fish Face says:
Darker doesn't necessarily mean better. Disney's Black Cauldron is PG and it's not half as good as Hunchback. I think Disney stayed as true as they could to the story while maintaining a G rating. I thought several parts of the movie were kind of pushing it pushing it for a movie that is supposed to be kid friendly; particularly the Hellfire song and Frollo's death. (I don't have any kids so I can't accurately say if it is too scary for a younger audience and Hellfire was my favorite song in the movie). Oh, and if you want darker animated movies I'd recommend checking out Studio Ghibli's works, especially Grave of the Fireflies.
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