The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) voices Jason Alexander, Tom Hulce, Mary Kay Bergman, Demi Moore Movie Review

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)   3/53/53/53/53/5

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) - Quasimodo

The Hunchback of Disney

Having nearly been killed as a baby, the deformed Quasimodo was raised by Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice who forced him to live in the cathedral, never to see or speak to others. It is why Quasimodo ends up growing up talking to the gargoyles who urge him to go to the Festival of Fools despite Frollo ordering him to stay hidden in the bell tower. It is at the festivities that Quasimodo meets not only the beautiful Esmeralda but also Phoebus, the soldier. Together these three find themselves rallying against Frollo who not only threatens the gypsies but also Esmeralda.

Usually I start reviews with a positive but when it comes to Walt Disney's animated "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" I feel compelled to start with a negative because in dumbing down the classic story to fit their framework as a piece of family entertainment they have robbed the story of its depth. Now I can understand why as the original dark story of Quasimodo is not family friendly entertainment but they should have left alone and not deconstructed and then reconstructed the classic story and chosen something else to turn in to an animation.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) - Esmeralda

This leads me to my next gripe as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is a movie which runs to the Disney animated formula with various musical numbers which have that big production feel which unfortunately became the mainstay of Disney animations during the 90s. The trouble is that having a big production number in every animation causes them to lack their uniqueness and so they start to merge and become forgettable as does "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

But let me stop being negative and give you the positive and that is quite simply "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is beautifully animated. The artists have certainly delivered on the detail and it is a shame that the rest of the animation is routine because with a better adaptation of the story and a musical score which is less typical this could have ended up a classic rather than one which feels like it was made on a production line.

What this all boils down to is that Walt Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" most likely appealed to young audiences who watched it in 1996 but now comes across as just a typical Disney animation which I wouldn't be shocked at if the first musical number appears at the same minute as they do in other animations as it has that rigid formula style to it.