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The Hunchback of Notre Dame
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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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I'm a fan of (the musical) Les Miserables (original story also by Victor Hugo), and the Hunchback was the Les Mis of Disney! I immediately ordered the movie to watch again at home!
Look, this isn't a kid's movie. Themes of lust, sin, religion, unrequited love and persecution are all over this movie, told through the eyes of physically deformed, (essentially) imprisoned man who copes by making believe some stone gargoyles are alive and are his friends. The villain in this film is truly, frighteningly evil and I think the movie would be a bit too scary for younger kids. But for everyone else, a must see!
I know not everyone loves this movie, and I'm not going to recount the plot here (bc others have already done that), so I'll say this: If you're a fan of the musical film version or broadway version of Les Mis, you're going to love this movie.
The voice acting in this movie is marvelous. Tom Hulce's gentle tenor conveys Quasimodo's fragility, yet his voice can also pulsate with rage and an inner strength. Hulce's rendition of the stunning song, "Out There," truly conveys the bell-ringer's fierce longing to break his shackles of loneliness. Demi Moore's deep-toned alto conveys both Esmeralda's street-wise demeanor and her vulnerability. And, who cannot help but be amused by the antics and quips of Jason Alexander who portrays a wise-cracking gargoyle? Yet, the actor who's voice work tops them all is Tony Jay, whose distinctive baritone rumbles with malevolence, crazed lust, manipulation and a deep-rooted fear. As Judge Frollo, he is one of the most terrifying of all Disney villains. His rendition of the song "Hellfire" gave me chills.
Please give this unforgettable movie a chance. You will not be disappointed. God bless you all.
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