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Lady Tremaine gets her hands on the Fairy Godmother's wand, then turns back time to the day Cinderella tried on the glass slipper. She enlarges the slipper to fit one of the stepsisters, ... See full summary »
Christopher Daniel Barnes,
Now that Frollo is gone, Quasimodo rings the bell with the help of his new friend and Esmeralda's and Phoebus' little son, Zephyr. But when Quasi stops by a traveling circus owned by evil magician Sarousch, he falls for Madellaine, Sarouch's assistant. But greedy Sarousch forces Madellaine to help him steal the Cathedral's most famous bell. Written by
Short, sweet and lovely. Unfortunately for Walt Disney Television Animation, I'm talking about Jennifer Love Hewitt.
"Walt Disney Television Animation"? Yes, well, like most of their (ill-advised) made-for-video sequels, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" was produced by Walt Disney's TV cartoon division; the most glaring difference between their cinematic animation and their small-screen animation comes from one look at "Tarzan" and the subsequent TV series, but this here movie is still a disgrace - both for purists (note that the credits don't mention Victor Hugo) and for those of us who liked the 1996 movie, which is in fact one of the House of Mouse's better 1990s efforts.
The 1996 movie is one of the House of Mouse's better 1990s efforts because it had a stronger story and better characterisation than some of the ones that came before it, although Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz weren't operating at the height of their powers ("The Bells Of Notre Dame" and "Topsy Turvy" excepted). Neither of them were involved with this followup, and the songs are the first problem with the movie; they feel like they were put in to expand the running time - still titchy at a mere 63 minutes. Too bad the script couldn't have been developed properly; they might not have needed to pad it. (Carl Johnson's score is better, though not up to his work on "Gargoyles." Then again, most Walt Disney Television stuff isn't up to their work on "Gargoyles." But I digress.)
The storyline has the happier Quasimodo, Phoebus and Esmeralda (now married with a son called Zephyr [voiced, for some reason, by Haley Joel Osment] - pause for purists to choke on whatever they're eating) getting ready for Le Festival d'Amour, which the H of ND is unlikely to celebrate, he being single. Enter a circus and the ringmaster's lovely assistant Madellaine, who nurtures an interest in our hunched hero... except that the magician is behind it. And the story is as tedious in its predictability as the animation is just tedious, making the waste of the voice cast all the more regrettable (all the main cast members from the movie return [barring the late Mary Wickes - Jane Withers, who shared Laverne with Miss Wickes last time, assumes the role in its entirety this time], and Michael McKean gives the movie some real energy as the villain, a more charismatic magician than David Blaine if a less trustworthy one - "I'd kiss me," he says into his mirror, "but I might fall in love!")... Madellaine has a dream of being a tightrope walker, and I bet you can't guess what she finds herself doing in the course of the movie.
It's all such a complete waste; sometimes a mildly diverting waste, but a waste nonetheless - it pains me to say that Victor, Hugo and Laverne (a highpoint of the first movie) have the low point with the movie's most horrible musical number. But Jennifer Love Hewitt fans can enjoy her vocal performance as Madellaine, plus the song she sings over the closing titles; Kylie Minogue she isn't, fortunately for us all.
However, the fact that the copyright notice reads "2000" and not "2002" should tell you everything.
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