Monday, March 28, 2011

My review of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

So, here's the deal, I am applies for a paid internship with the Disney College Program in Orlando, Florida. Basically what that means is that I would be working in Disney World as well as going to College there for about 5-9ish months. So, in that vein (and having watched a bunch of Nostalgia Critic videos (for the first time even) that deal with Disney stuff) I am going to have a kind of Disney marathon. I started with this one because it's on he mentioned a lot in the videos I saw so...yeah.

BTW, I've been to the actual Notre Dame cathedral. It's pretty epic. And Disney in this instance did an utterly amazing job recreating it for the film here. Props there. So there.

Voice acting/characters: Well, when you have Kevin Kline, Demi Moore, Tom Hulce, and the infamously evil sounding Tony Jay, you expect a certain level of quality to the voice acting. You got that mostly here. Not the best stuff they've done, but alright. I wasn't a huge fan of Kevin Kline's voice work overall. The highlight was easily Tony Jay as Frollo. Yeah, they loved using low angle shots with him to make him as imposing and threatening as they could. I call it a success. The dude was nuts.

The characters are not what they are in the book at all. In this one, Quasimodo is deaf in the book , Pheobus is incredibly dumb in the book, stuff like that. I suppose it was an improvement. 7.5/10

Plot: Let me start with the obvious, THIS MOVIE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN RATED G!!!! You have genocide, choose me or I burn you to death and enjoy every minute of your suffering, lust, death by head trauma, lynching, murder of innocents, hell, what other kids film do you find that in!?

The plot is very loosely based on the novel by Victor Hugo. By that I mean it has the same characters and basic plot structure, but it is drastically different. Esmeralda pities Quasimodo but thinks he's so ugly she doesn't want to make eye contact with him. Frollo is an anti-hero with a large kind and compassionate side. Pheobus is the antagonist of the novel actually. The movie ends a lot differently from the book as well. In the book the ship sinks...I mean he's his actual father...I mean EVERYBODY DIES IN THE BOOK!!! EVERYBODY!!! (except Pheobus). But even with the changes that were made, the movie is still incredibly dark.

The plot (particularly the end) was filled with 'oh wasn't that convenient that they happened to have a vat of molten lead right there?' kinds of things. It seemed to be a typical Disney plot, but it was much darker than any other Disney film I had seen before. It also seemed to lack a certain fluidity that other Disney films have.

Of course, one of the things that Disney has always been fantastic with is the music. No exception here.

When talking about the songs, I gotta devote some time to 'Hellfire.' That song is pretty much the darkest Disney song ever. The singing, and the lust/burning in hell theme, the giant red hooded figures rise from the floor chanting 'Mea culpa'("through my fault"). Man, that song was the best in the whole film.

I wasn't a huge fan of that "out there" song though. The singing for that song was horrible. In fact, Quasimodo's singing in general was sub-par. The rest wasn't horrible.

Overall, while it was not Disney's strongest plot, it was certainly its darkest. 7.5/10

Screenplay: It was okay I suppose. There was nothing in there that was incredibly amazing or horrible. But, one thing I didn't like, was that they would often combine overwhelmingly dark stuff and add in a dash of often poorly timed humor. It was an overall mediocre screenplay. 7/10

Likableness: If you can get past how dark this film is (or if you like those kinds of animated films) then you will enjoy this film. If not, you will think it is mediocre. It was a very entertaining film overall. Not their best film, but still a good one to watch once in a while. 8/10

Final Score: 30/40 75% (D)


2. While Quasimodo is singing 'Out There', the camera pans over Paris and zooms in on a street. In this scene, Belle from Beauty and the Beast is seen walking and reading her book (walks out the bottom of the screen, to the right of the well), Pumba from The Lion King is being carried on a pole by two men (carried out of the bottom of the screen, but left of the well), and another man (in a gray blue tunic) is shaking out the Carpet from Aladdin.

3. The gargoyles are named "Victor" and "Hugo", after Victor Hugo. The third gargoyle, Laverne, is named after Laverne Andrews, one of The Andrews Sisters.

4. During the song "A Guy Like You", the gargoyles put a wig on Quasimodo, similar to wigs that actor Tom Hulce wears in Amadeus; Hulce is the voice of Quasimodo in this film.

5. The old heretic is Jafar in his old man disguise from Aladdin

6. Phoebus' anthropomorphic horse is named Achilles. At one point, Phoebus commands, "Achilles, heel!" The line is a double joke: first, it assumes (correctly, in this case) that the war horse will obey a command normally used for a trained dog. Second, the line is a pun on the phrase "Achilles' heel", a term for a person's weakness (which itself derives from Achilles in Greek mythology, who was invulnerable except for one heel; the Achilles tendon in the ankle is also named for this).

7. According to the audio commentary on the DVD, Frollo's horse's name is Snowball.

Best part in the movie

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