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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A darker Disney by far
Although none have truly embraced the full scope of Victor Hugo's sweeping novel (although the 1956 version comes close), there's never been a bad version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Disney's 1996 version is one of the very best. It has its flaws, but it's still the studio's last great animated feature, with a visual audacity and a surprising darkness that's often...
Published on 13 Dec 2006 by Trevor Willsmer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars to hunch or not to hunch? that is the question..
Disney's Hunch back of notre dame is nice looking animation wise but am not quite sure the story of Quasimodo makes a good offering as a disney classic as its a huge shift from the usual fairytale that you'd expect..
But if your a completist like me you should purchase it an add it to you disney classic collection
Published 10 months ago by Mr. P. Jenkins


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A darker Disney by far, 13 Dec 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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Although none have truly embraced the full scope of Victor Hugo's sweeping novel (although the 1956 version comes close), there's never been a bad version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Disney's 1996 version is one of the very best. It has its flaws, but it's still the studio's last great animated feature, with a visual audacity and a surprising darkness that's often breathtaking. It may opt for an even happier ending than usual, but there's plenty of real dramatic power here. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz's mostly excellent score may have the odd crowd-pleaser that lowers the tone a tad, but there's a striking and powerful grandeur of ambition to many of them - after all, who'd have expected a Disney villain to sing of his tortured sexual desire (Heaven's Light/Hellfire) and of his burning need to either sleep with the heroine or kill her? The computer enhanced crowd scenes and the sweeping three-dimensional camerawork are amazing to see, the design is superb and there's an intelligent use of colour and weather that the studio's subsequent efforts seemed to lose. Only the wiseacre gargoyle sidekicks feel out of place, although the film at least discreetly suggests that they are mere figments of Quasimodo's imagination. One of the most impressive of Disney's animated features, and certainly the most undervalued.

Although far from the excellent laserdisc special edition Disney released in the US several years ago, there are a few decent extras on the UK disc, including an alternate song and some interesting demo footage of the computer animation techniques. The Blu-ray release, typically for titles Disney regards as disappointments, is much more hreadbare: a half hour making of eaturette from the film's original release that isn't included on the DVD and a multi-language reel (though the US Blu-ray also includes an audio commentary and the direct-to-video sequel).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 21 Aug 2006
The Disney classics 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Bambi' are my favourites; I feel modern Disney lacks substance, when compared to the older movies. But this is possibly the best of the newer Disney offerings. Exciting and colourful, this tale never gets dull. It tells the story of the disfigured but gentle hunchback bell-ringer of Notre Dame, who has been raised by Frollo - a religious official. The hunchback Quasimodo is befriended by the beautiful gypsy-girl Esmerelda at the Festival of Fools. Both Quasimodo and dashing ex war-captain Phoebus fall in love with the feisty girl, resulting in a complicated love triangle. Frollo (the scariest Disney villain I have ever encountered) is deeply immoral and insanely religious, wishing to eliminate the outcast gypsies (whom he feel corrupt the Parisians); and hides a dark secret concerning the past of Quasimodo. It ends on a magnificent and thrilling finale. The graphics are intricately detailed; Notre Dame cathedral itself is breathtakingly beautiful. The music is rather good too. Parents be discerning when showing this to young children; this is the most dark 'adult' Disney film I have seen so far, with such painful scenes as when the townsfolk publicly humiliate Quasimodo by throwing things at him; and the cruel persecution experienced by the gypsies. There is also that dramatic scene where Frollo ironically acknowledges his lecherous desire for Esmerelda and will burn the whole of Paris down to find and kill her. In conclusion, it is a deep & thoughtful yet entertaining film which young and old alike can enjoy; it deals with many tender social issues. Definitely a keeper, watch this if you can.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The gentlest Bellringer by Jilly, 30 Dec 2000
My name is Jilly, age 9 and I thought the film was incredible.
A delightful cartoon adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" tells the tale of a disfigured by good hearted bellringer called Quasimodo who's mundane existence is turned " Topsy Turvy'' when he meets the beautiful gypsy dancer Esmerelda. With the aid of his three gargoyle friends ( Laverne, Victor and Hugo) Quasimodo aids Esmerelda and the decent ex-captain of the guards, Phoebus, in overcoming the evil intentions of Quasimodos guardian and the city magistrate, Frollo, who seeks to destroy all gypsies including Esmerelda by discovering the secret court of miracles.
Culminating in a breathtaking siege of the famous cathedral and a fight to the death among the turrets and balconies. 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' is a joy for all the family. This is my favourite Disney film and Quasimodo is my favourite Disney character.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical movie, 23 Nov 2005
By A Customer
I must admit that when I started to watch the movie I was rather suspicious, because I had heard some really bad criticism. But after Clopin's opening scene finishes and you see Quasi ringing the bells, I was so enchanted by the music, the characters and the beautiful animation that I completely forgot about everything I had ever heard and I watched the rest of the movie in awe. I actually cried when Quasi gets beat up by the mob of people and I also cried in the end when the little girl strokes his face.
This movie is very enrapturing though I wouldn't recommend it to little children because of some rather dark and violent scenes. I also think that it's a lot more enjoyable if you understand the message.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zest and fun for the family, 28 July 2000
In places this is slightly more scary than most Disney films, but it's so full of zest and fun that it draws you in. The theatrical beginning is well done and the animation is brilliant throughout. This Disney film has more 'depth' than most. It still has the same fairytale good-versus-bad theme running through until the traditional happy ending. It's one of my favourites and is destined to remain timeless, regardeless of anyone's opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best one yet, 3 May 2014
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My daughter really enjoys watching it over and over and likes singing to the songs.best one ive bought her thanks
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Film, Shame about the DVD release, 16 Aug 2009
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The film is by all means breathtaking. I liked it when I was younger. In my later years this has become my favourite Disney film. Although not true to Victor Hugo's book, the animation is superb and Alan Menken's score is incredible. Even though I am 21 and some would argue too old to be watching disney films, the Movie alone deserves five stars. It is one of disney's darkest films but probably all the more enjoyable for adults because of it. I don't imagine it being a favourite of younger children as some of it is genuingly quite scary. It was a book never meant to be made into a children's film and maybe it doesn't always translate well.

There is no way disney could have made it faithful to the book without getting an 18 rating. If you can forget this and take the film as a stand-alone piece, it is fantastic.

I had to rate it four stars mostly because of the lack of bonus features. Being only one disc it lacks where several other films make up. The making of feature is not half as long nor as informative as I would have hoped. It does do a piece on the missing song someday which was a lovely addition.

Disney do know how to release their movies with love and care and to me this release seemed rushed and half finished. It was originally planned in 2002 as a two-disc release but disney backed out soon after with this single disc version. No doubt to leave material for a later two disc release. According to sources a Platinum addition is expected 2013, giving the film all the attention it deserves. But if you can't wait four years this one will tide you over.

If you are just interested in the film then buy it because it is undoubtedly one of Disney's masterpieces.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 26 July 2009
By 
M. Brown (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The best Disney Film :)
The Music & Characters are amazing

I didn't understand it as a child
Now, it's quite scary.

I bought it just after christmas and haven't been able to stop watching it since

It has also made me really want to visit Paris, Especially Notre Dame.

I LOVE it and I'm 17
I think it's great for all ages

Buy this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the greatest disney, 25 May 2009
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This is no doubt the greatest of all Disney movies.After Beauty and the Beast I didnt think disney could do any better until Hunchback. Dark and funny, great songs, beautiful animation,reflective and with great dialogue. Why Disney play down this film I will never understand. Its a true classic,poignant and direct in its messaging about good and evil. Its always going to be less accecable than many other standard disney films but for those willing to try you will be rewarded.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly Searching for a Target Audience, 2 May 2009
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
In the Middle Ages, the city of Paris is ruled with an iron first by Frollo (Tony Jay), the chief magistrate. Frollo has made it his mission to destroy the gypsies. While he is doing that one night, he winds up with the baby Quasimodo. Guilted into raising the child as his own, he places Quasimodo (Tom Hulce) in the bell towers of Notre Dame and attempts to keep him hidden from the rest of the world.

Quasi gets tired of staying in the tower, however, and ventures forth during the annual Festival of Fools. It is there that he meets Esmeralda (Demi Moore), a beautiful gypsy who is actually nice to him. But the crowd quickly turns on him when they see how deformed he is. That's nothing compared to how Frollo acts toward Esmeralda, however. He attempts to get his new captain of the guard Phoebus (Kevin Kline) to arrest her. But Phoebus has other plans. When the city of Paris suddenly lies in the balance, what can Quasi do to help?

To be honest, I still have trouble believing this movie got made. Even with the attempts to lighten the storyline and change the ending, this is still an incredibly dark film. I don't understand how it missed getting the PG rating it deserved.

Now that's not to say I don't like the film. It is a powerful tale in the evils of prejudice and hypocrisy. There are eight songs, and all of them are wonderful. This is definitely Broadway caliper music. The animation looks incredible. The details are almost breathtaking at times.

But the story is so dark. Frollo becomes obsessed with Esmeralda, and his actions make the film very dark. And that doesn't even bring up "Hellfire," a song devoted to his desires for this gypsy. The imagery and words are a bit much for a kid's movie.

In an attempt to make the movie appeal to kids, three gargoyles are added to the story that act as Quasi's friends up in the tower. They do add some fun comic relief, and I like them. However, it makes the film feel a little scattered between trying to appeal to adults and kids at the same time.

This is a movie well worth watching. Adults will definitely appreciate it. However, watch it before you plop your kids down in front of it.
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The Hunchback of Notre Dame [Blu-ray] [1996] [Region Free]
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