In 15th century Paris, Clopin the puppeteer tells the story of Quasimodo, the misshapen but gentle-souled bell ringer of Notre Dame, who was nearly killed as a baby by Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice. But Frollo was forced by the Archdeacon of Notre Dame to raise Quasimodo as his own. Now a young man, Quasimodo is hidden from the world by Frollo in the belltower of the cathedral. But during the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo, cheered on by his gargoyle friends Victor, Hugo, and Laverne, decides to take part in the festivities, where he meets the lovely gypsy girl Esmeralda and the handsome soldier Phoebus. The three of them find themselves ranged against Frollo's cruelty and his attempts to destroy the home of the gypsies, the Court of Miracles. And Quasimodo must desperately defend both Esmeralda and the very cathedral of Notre Dame. Written by
I was so impressed by this movie. The animation is gorgeous and a lot of the subject matter profound. Many critics have complained about the talking gargoyles messing up the movie and taking it further away from Hugo's original novel, but the only problem I have with them is their song (A Guy Like You), which attempts "Be Our Guest" and "Under the Sea" status, but really does lack the melody. Other than that, they fit right in with Hugo, who told in his novel that Quasimodo would sit for hours holding solitary converse with the statues. Of course, this was all in his mind, but hello, so are the gargoyles in the movie. No one else ever sees them talking or moving (with the exception of Djali), and they are animated to give Quasimodo some friends, just as he did on his own in the book. Of course, there are many other parts of the movie that are WAY different from the book, but not as many people complain about them, so I won't mention them. The main reason I love this movie is the villain, Frollo, played to perfection by Tony Jay. His sinister atmosphere and lust for Esmerelda are elements of the like we have never seen in any other Disney movie, prior to or after Hunchback. The song "Hellfire" is the crown jewel of the movie, and makes the entire thing worth watching. I was so surprised by the graphic lyrics and animation of this scene, and could do nothing but yell "THIS IS Disney!!!!!!!!!!" But it was a good surprise, not a bad one. Frollo is decidedly the deepest, and most evil of all Disney villains, and is definitely my favorite.
The music in this movie is also the best that Disney has ever produced. Though the songs are not as catchy as those found in other memorable Disney movies, they are nonetheless the most powerful. In this movie, we find large-scale choral music in Latin, huge orchestral works, religious themes, and Broadway/Classical style arrangements that put most of the other Disney movies to shame. It truly is magnificent.
I definitely recommend this movie to all audiences, and I give it a 10/10. This is the Disney movie that deserved an Oscar nomination more than any other, and it is a shame that it has been so underplayed and all but disowned by Disney since its release. SEE THIS MOVIE.
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