THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JUNE 29, 2013

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is one of the darkest Walt Disney movies to date. With enough animated detail, action sequences, and character development, the film catapults light-years beyond anything before its time. This film is often a struggle to endure at times, as you witness the brutal mistreatment of Quasimodo and the quarrel between the handsome and gentle Phoebus and Quasimodo, both vying for the hand of Esmeralda. Many of the characters face developments of an adult nature.

The villain, Frollo, whose animated details are beyond anything I’ve quite seen before, wants the gypsies dead but cannot deny the beauty of Esmeralda and wants her all to himself. So much so that he’ll kill her if she doesn’t comply—what a whole new level of hatred in an animated film from the mouse company. Sure, we’ve faced this before with Disney, as Jafar captures the Princess, but you’re never under the impression that lives are at stake. In “The Hunchback,” the serious nature of the film often has you at extremes.

Although the songs match the film’s style, there’s nothing quite memorable enough to latch on to, and the comedy gets lost on the three gargoyles. Throughout the film, built are sincerity and emotional tensions that cause a deeper connection to the material than most animated films. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is stunning on most levels, and with such a dark nature, Disney ushers in a new level of animated entertainment.

RELEASE DATE
June 21, 1996

DIRECTOR
Gary Trousdale
Kirk Wise

WRITTEN BY
Tab Murphy
Irene Mecchi
Bob Tzudiker
Noni White
Jonathan Roberts

BASED ON
“The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”
by Victor Hugo

STUDIO
Walt Disney Pictures

G

ANIMATION
DRAMA
FAMILY

MUSICAL
ROMANCE

91 minutes

COMPOSER
Alan Menken

EDITOR
Ellen Keneshea

CAST
Tom Hulce
Demi Moore
Tony Jay
Kevin Kline
Paul Kandel
Jason Alexander
Charles Kimbrough
Mary Wickes
David Ogden Stiers

PRODUCED BY
Don Hahn

BUDGET
$100 million

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