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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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on 21 August 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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on 30 December 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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on 23 November 2005
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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on 23 November 2015
If it's animation I must have it.

Soundtrack: excelent. The lyrics and the score is one of the best.

Art: what a great city, builldings, action, character animation, character design, market square, landscape... scenery. It's amazing.

I like the story because Claude Frollo is one of the most dark and sinister villains, also he wants Esmeralda who is a great pole dancer. This disney animation has a lot of sexual tension it's just a lot of fun watching it as an adult now. That's Disney.

Moral of the story: hot girls chose with hot boys.
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on 4 July 2014
My little one loves Disney and this one didnt let her down. Lovely story with a bit of a life lesson as my daughter told me at the end of the cartoon that all people need to be treated the same, no matter how they look like. Fast delivery too, so yes, i would recomand it.
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on 5 May 2013
A classic tale brought to life by the magic of Disney and a fantastic musical score, "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" is one of those rare jewels that combines a cracking storyline with a great cast ranging from Tony Jay's wonderfully creepy portrayal of Judge Claude Frollo to Paul Kandel's wonderfully funny (and even a little spooky) performance as Clopin, the colourfully, clownishly dressed gypsy leader. Tom Hulce breathes life into the sensitive and downtrodden Quasimodo, Kevin Kline provides a manful approach as the gallant Captain Phoebus and Demi Moore proves a point as the feisty, yet kindly gypsy dancer Esmeralda. The music is nothing short of breathtaking, particularly the Latin chant added to the ever thrilling "Bells of Notre Dame" sequence somewhere in the beginning of the film; a theme that is also repeated in "Hellfire" and during the climactic battle before the walls of the cathedral itself; it has to remind you that it centres around religion and Quasimodo's instinct to preserve the dignity and significance of the church. It also shows that some people who are disabled can actually be pretty damn clever, and can, with a touch of courage stand up for themselves. I love Quasimodo's relationship with Esmeralda despite it not being romantic, for it is, at its heart, a loving friendship, and as much as Frollo despises her, firstly for simply being a gypsy, and secondly, a supposed witch, I think she is great. I thoroughly recommend this film; it is absolutely thrilling and the songs are simply stunning, and you end up rooting for Quasimodo in the end. Be ready to cry buckets though; there are a good number of scenes that are powerful, stirring and deeply moving, which I will not name, but whenever they come up I just have to cry; this proves just how brilliant this movie is. This film, for a Disney film, is just phenomenal, and you do not get better than old school Disney on this level every day.
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on 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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on 22 November 2014
The number on the spine on this bluray is not the same format as the Disney Classic BluRay. It does not have many special features at all. The spine sleeve is a nice touch. It is worth £10 for the great movie but from a collectors point of view doesn't really cut it. Hopefully Disney will release another with more features. I have check a lot of the others and noticed that all the movies released with this particular O rings leave are one disc and lack features.
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on 17 August 2013
Review of the newly released BluRay - have to say that this oft overlooked Disney movie is absolutely stunning in HD!

The vibrant use of colour really 'pops' on the screen and the sound quality is fantastic. Found it paused slightly between one or two chapters, but nothing too bad.

In terms of extras, it really needs MUCH more on it - there's so much more about the movie that I've wanted to know in the 17 years(!!) since this movie first came out - I still have the VHS somewhere! The sneak peeks are really not worth investing any time in, and so you really only get the movie itself, which is a shame in terms of over-all package, but that said, I'm just chuft to bits that they decided to release this movie on BluRay in the first place. A MUST BUY!!! ^_^
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