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The Hunchback of Notre Dame poster

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

At the urging of his gargoyle pals, Quasimodo leaves Notre Dame tower against the wishes of his guardian, the evil Judge Claude Frollo. He ventures out to the Festival of Fools and finds his first true friend, a Romani woman named Esmeralda, who entrusts him with a secret. When the secret is revealed, Quasi soon finds himself fighting to save the people and city he loves.
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Incluvie Movie Reviews


Richard Schertzer
October 11, 2022
4.5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.5 / 5
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Why ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ is the Best Animated Disney Movie Ever Made

As we look back on a Disney lifetime from yesteryear, it has come to my attention that there is an overlooked film that does not get the credit that it deserves. With such a raw look at the 15th century, it seems that Disney was really trying to step outside of its element with The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  It tells the dark tale of a deformed hunchback, Quasimodo, who attempts to find love and meaning in a prejudiced world that refuses to accept him. However, that all changes when a beautiful French Roma girl named Esmeralda shows him caring and compassion. Quasimodo is filled with love and hope due to Esmeralda's kindness. Here is what makes this the best film Disney has ever put into animation.  Disney uniquely explores the darker themes and Gothic elements presented in the source material, the Victor Hugo novel of the same name. This is somewhat unusual for a Disney film. While it might be uncomfortable for some viewers of the old Disney legends, this was a great step forward in terms of dark and moody storytelling. It departs from the happy-go-lucky Disney films that always managed to have a cheerful tone for the majority of their runtime. The films normally do not descend too deeply into explorations of lust, infanticide, and bigotry. It's incredibly interesting to see Disney work with such dark material from an even darker source material.      Disney has made a lot of classics about able-bodied princes and princesses. But here, Disney truly went hard when they made this film about a young man with a terminal and severe case of kyphosis. Quasi is seen as an object of fear, hate, and derision by the people of Notre Dame. However, his deformities and disabilities do not define him and he proves that consistently. 
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Incluvie Writer
January 3, 2022
4.5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.5 / 5
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Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quarantine with Quasimodo

So, I’m not just writing this article because this is my favorite Disney film and I want to gush about it, but I find it a relevant film to talk about during quarantine. For those few who don’t know the story, Hunchback of Notre Dame is about Quasimodo (Tom Hulce), a deformed bell-ringer who yearns to be free from his sheltered life inside Notre Dame Cathedral, but has to stay away from society because his master, Judge Claude Frollo (Tony Jay), forbids it.

Quasimodo is a character whom we can all relate to right now. He wants to get out there, and his song “Out There” is a powerful number that emphasizes his desire to belong. His desire to be free from the restrictions that has bound him for 20 years.

Now, if Quasimodo is able to handle isolation inside a dark cathedral for that long, we can handle this quarantine. We can do it, everyone.

Anyhow, “Quasi” manages to leave his confinement and goes to a festival called the Feast of Fools. He’s crowned the King of Fools as everyone believes that he’s wearing a hideous mask, but when it’s revealed that it’s not the case, he’s humiliated. Quasi’s tied up, insulted, and has food thrown at him.

Quasimodo is a character that you sympathize for, you want him to be loved as he’s known nothing but cruelty throughout his life. His deformity shuts him away from society, and only made it worse when the crowd tortures him. Fortunately, he’s saved by the gypsy, Esméralda(Demi Moore). Esméralda is the first person to show Quasimodo kindness, and so he falls for her.

Another character who falls for Esméralda, but in a different way, is Frollo. Frollo is a cruel man who, in the first five minutes of the film, kills a woman and almost drowns her baby in a well. Did I mention this is rated G? Yeah, how did that happen? I don’t know, but I find it hilarious that one of Disney’s darkest films has a G rating.

Despite Frollo being such an evil person, he has the best villain song. “Hellfire” is a visually stunning musical number where Frollo is in conflict with himself over his lust for Esméralda. He wants her, but he’ll burn her at the stake if she doesn’t want him. This is definitely not a song that Disney would make today.

Lyrically haunting and intense, “Hellfire” is filled with religious symbolism including hell, of course. Frollo is infatuated over Esméralda, but he swears that he’s a righteous man of God. He’s devoted to his faith, but temptation gets the better of him. Frollo claims that God made the devil stronger than man, attempting to justify for his sins. Again, it’s an intense song that cements Frollo as one of Disney’s greatest villains.

Quasimodo also sings about Esméralda in a song called “Heaven’s Light”. However, Quasimodo sings about love rather than lust, and he sings it with passion rather than twisted temptation. Everyone talks about “Hellfire” (and rightfully so) but rarely about “Heaven’s Light” which serves as a great juxtaposition to the latter.

Quasimodo describes Esméralda as an angel and hopes that she cares about him as he does for her. While he sings, he sculpts a miniature of Esméralda which is sweet. Unfortunately, Frollo destroys the miniature by lighting it on fire — which is exactly what he wants to do with her.

Quasimodo and Frollo both have strong feelings for Esméralda, but neither of them get her in the end. This is one of the few Disney films where the main character doesn’t get together with someone, but that’s not what the movie’s about. It’s about acceptance, seeing the good within someone without judging appearances.

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Movie Information


At the urging of his gargoyle pals, Quasimodo leaves Notre Dame tower against the wishes of his guardian, the evil Judge Claude Frollo. He ventures out to the Festival of Fools and finds his first true friend, a Romani woman named Esmeralda, who entrusts him with a secret. When the secret is revealed, Quasi soon finds himself fighting to save the people and city he loves.

Rating:G
Genre:Drama, Animation, Family
Directed By:Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Written By:Jonathan Roberts, Irene Mecchi, Tab Murphy, Bob Tzudiker, Noni White
In Theaters:6/21/1996
Box Office:$325,338,851
Runtime:91 minutes
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation

Cast