The Hunchback of Notre Dame
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The animation here is first rate and the entire thing is shot like a live-action film with some incredible long shots, great theatrical panning and even at one point, during Quasimodo's song "Out There" a realistic camera flare (I did a double take the first time I saw it!) Hunchback is filled with all sorts of great "tricks" like this. Lighting effects here are nothing short of magnificent - often subtle they sometimes change in an instant dramatically altering the mood of the piece. Frodo's demonic song "Hellfire" is perhaps one the most sinister and frightening moments to emerge from Disney and the animators let loose.
The prologue to the movie alone is a minor masterpiece and, like Beauty and the Beast, marvelously prepares us for the whirlwind of a story to take place.
The complaints about the singing and dancing gargoyles Victor, Hugo and Laverne, are simply wrongheaded. I read the Hugo classic too, and know they're not in there. What the complainants fail to realize is these gargoyles live only in Quasimodo's imagination. He invented these companions to ease an otherwise tortured, lonely, friendless life. The culmination of all of this becomes obvious in the spectacular song "A guy like you" which finishes with pigeons flying and hearts and banners and ribbons and Quasimodo being celebrated and then BAM immediately upon the conclusion of the final notes, the room becomes the same dark, dank, splintering tower filled with relics, junk and heartbreak. It's one of the movie's most shattering effects.Read more ›
Just the movie's animation is enough of a reason to give it five stars. Almost everything, from the statues around the cathedral, to the city errupting in flames, to a sunset seen from Notre Dame's roof, to the church's interior, is absolutly astonishing. It invites you to just jump into the screen and visit 15th century Paris, and the trip is a stunning feast for the eyes. I can't believe it's all on paper and/or computer screen.
Living in this world are some of Disney's strongest characters (did I mention that already?). The audience can truly root for the three heros. Quasimodo is Disney's best guy, plain and simple. His goal starts out simple enough: he wants a day of freedom. However, it becomes far more complex after he has fallen in love. It is then when he shows the courage to give his all for another, and the strengh to sacrifice his happiness for hers. Oh gosh, when he sings the heartbreaking "Heaven's Light" about his love for Esmeralda, and the possobility that she might love him back, you will be absolutly moved. Then when the song is repeated as he watches Esmeralda and Phoebus share a passionate kiss, you may very well cry. As for Esmeralda, she is one of Disney's most intruiging heroines.Read more ›
Talking gargoyles aside, the film really does not do enough to accommodate young viewers (and perhaps it was a mistake to market this as a kid's movie, but you got to sell those Burger King toys somehow!). The villain (Frollo) is among the most sinister characters ever portrayed in a Disney movie, and unlike Jafar ("Alladin") or Hades ("Hercules"), there is nothing humorous about him. On the other hand, the animators went a little overboard with Quasimodo, who kinda looks like a red-headed Chris Farley. And Phoebus has the personality of Al Gore...if he were any more wooden you'd have to check him for termites. Also, some very interesting characters from the book are regrettably absent. Where's Pierre Gringoire, Jehan Frollo, and Sister Gudule? Still, the animation is breathtaking, and the finale is nearly flawless...preferred to original version if you're a sentimental fan of happy endings.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my most favorite Disney films of all time! Love the music and beautiful animationPublished 4 days ago by Christine Raft-Schultz
This isn't in criticism of the quality of the instant movie, but of the movie itself. Just not my favorite Disney film by any means.Published 7 days ago by Tina
Good movie for children I suppose. As an adult, I prefer the original black and white film.Published 27 days ago by Scott Paul Moresh
This one of my favorite Disney movie growing up as a child and i am so glad to finally have it on DVD. its a great movie for the whole family and is a perfect price to buy it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Issac Soliz
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