The Hunchback of Notre Dame / The Hunchback of Notre Dame II (3-Disc Special Edition) (Blu-ray / DVD)
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Inspired by Victor Hugo's classic novel, Disney brings the heroic adventures of Quasimodo, the gentle and lonely bell ringer of Notre Dame, to spectacular life. This critically acclaimed Disney masterpiece is an "uplifting, thrilling story with a heart-touching message that emerges from the comedy and song" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). At the urging of his hilarious gargoyle pals Victor, Hugo, and Laverne, Quasimodo leaves the solitary safety of his tower, venturing out to find his first true friend, the gypsy beauty Esmerelda. The most unlikely of heroes, Quasi fights to save the people and the city he loves and, in turn, helps us to see people for who they are, rather than how they appear. The star-studded voice cast includes Jason Alexander, Tom Hulce, Kevin Kline, and Demi Moore in a magnificent Disney musical from renowned composer Alan Menken.
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THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME 2: Quasimodo, Hugo, Victor, Phoebus, Laverne and Esmeralda are back after a 6 year absentee. Esmeralda has married Phoebus and are raising a young son. Quasimodo still lives in the bell tower, and an upcoming even is about to happen and doesn't have a name of a girl to shout her name that he loves. That is until a circus comes to town, and a evil circus ring master (Michael McKean) wants one of the bells in Quasimodo's bell tower. And he sends a young woman named Madellaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt) to get information on the bell. Where she meets Quasimodo (Tom Hulce), Esmeralda (Demi Moore) has married Phoebus (Kevin Kline) and has a young son named Zephyr (Haley Joel Osment). Come on do yourself a favor and if you have never seen the first movie or if you had watch this great movie! 5/5
Whenever someone asks what the greatest animated Disney film is, you'll invariably get the same answers from everyone. People will exclaim titles like "The Lion King," "Sleeping Beauty," "Cinderella," or "Snow White." You'll never hear anyone campaigning for "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Well, I mean to change that!
I know "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" doesn't have a chance put up against a bunch of soft-spoken petite princesses, but it should. I would argue that it has more heart and reaches a whole new level of grandeur in visual scale. The gothic setting and massive background art casts a huge shadow over anything else the studio has ever done.
When you're watching "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," the tragedy unfolding in front of you just sucks you in. I imagine it's how audiences feel when they're viewing a Broadway version of "The Phantom of the Opera" or "Les Miserables." You truly feel as if you're taking in an animated epic which could measure up to any Cecil B. DeMille live action production.
While the songs might not be as memorable as "Under the Sea" or "Beauty and the Beast," they're more dramatic than any of those combined. Alan Menken stepped outside of the box and composed operatic numbers for the tale of Quasimodo. To top it off, they're filled with dark lyrical subjects I would imagine young children would be afraid of or just not understand.
Disney included "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" in the Blu-ray edition as well. There's a big difference in the quality of animation and storyline. It's still entertaining and has a villain you quickly grow to dislike. However, it doesn't measure up to the original at all. It's much more child friendly, which is what Disney is known for.
The video and audio quality of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" Blu-ray edition leaves no room for complaints. The picture is clean, colorful, and as flawless as you've come to expect. The 5.1 surround sound immerses the viewer in several complex layers of dialogue, musical numbers, and noises of the bustling city of Paris.
There's some nice bonus material for consumers to enjoy. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" comes with audio commentary provided by Producer Don Hahn and directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale. There's a 28-minute documentary entitled "The Making of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame.'" It also includes a multi-language reel for "A Guy Like You." A featurette entitled "A Gargoyle's Life" round out the special features. The only extra included for "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" is the featurette "Behind the Scenes with Jennifer Love Hewitt."
Of course my preference for "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" comes from a love of period piece gothic horror films like "Frankenstein," "Dracula," and the likes. In reality, I know this sort of animated movie will never win over the beautiful sugary sweet tales featuring Prince Charming saving the helpless Princess from a fire-breathing dragon or wicked witch. I can dream though, can't I?
Not true. People love this film, and for good reason. While the gargoyles are a light blemish on the film, the strength of the plot, the darkness of Frodo, and the multitude of bold decisions taken by Disney when it came to characters, design, song, and theme all pay off to make a stupendous movie.
Not for children.
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