I love Disney. I think that Disney is a huge influence on my own pieces. The wide range of stories that Disney has cranked out, whether it be animated, live-action, or Disney Channel shows, has stayed strong throughout the years. While there are some bad Disney movies out there (I’m looking at you, The Black Cauldron,) the majority has withstood the test of time.
For my money, my favorite Disney movie is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The fact that this movie is underrated is a crime. Quasimodo is one of the warmer-hearted protagonists out there, and Judge Claude Frollo is in the top 5 of “most evil Disney villains.”
If you haven’t watched Hunchback yet, I suggest you do. Only thing I must warn you is this; it’s dark. Like, really dark.
Quasimodo is a hunchback, and while he’s a very nice guy, he has had medical problems since birth. On top of this, his mother, a Gypsy, was killed by his eventual mentor, Frollo. Frollo wanted to dump baby Quasimodo into a well, but the Cardinal of Notre Dame Cathedral made Frollo care and raise the child. In a compromise, Quasimodo became the bell-ringer in the towers of Notre Dame.
Frollo, by comparison, looks completely normal physically. However, Frollo is a mental basket-case, narcissist, and zealot. The man is a corrupt monster, using the veil of God’s word to hunt and capture Paris’ Gypsy population.
The theme of Hunchback follows the adage “Who is the monster and who is the man?” I think the song Heaven’s Light/Hellfire sums up the differences in the two characters perfectly.
While Quasimodo is singing about loving Esmeralda in its purest form, Frollo is singing about forcing Esmeralda into sex.
Side note, this is a Disney film. What the hell?
Ok, back to the piece. The point of this piece is the same point the Hunchback has; Frollo, while normal-looking physically, is so corrupt mentally that he deserves to fall off the top of Notre Dame Cathedral. Quasimodo, on the other hand, deserves happiness and acceptance despite looking physically different. And while he doesn’t get Esmeralda, he does get accepted by the people of Paris, and really, that’s the hardest thing in the world to achieve.
I love The Hunchback. As a kid watching this I couldn’t appreciate just how good it was/is. I just loved the music, bright colors, and the gargoyles. As an adult I can appreciate just how dark this movie is, especially for Disney. I love how dark it is and the pure evilness of frollo makes the movie even better. Hellfire was the best song in the movie in my opinion. Seeing how faulty and holier than thou he is compared to the pure hearted quasimodo brings a great contrast to the movie. Now I’m going to go watch it while I listen to my professor feed me bullshit.
I never knew this film had such a low reputation until I started getting into the musical ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ and I’m so surprised by it. I know it takes huge deviations from the novel and I understand how that upsets fans, but that does not in and of itself make it a bad film. This was one of my favorite movies when I was younger and I still watch it and enjoy it, even the gargoyles who seem to be uniformly hated by online reviewers!
The soundtrack to this one is really amazing. Some critics just seem to automatically dislike any Disney animation that isn’t a traditional Fairy Story. x
Great animation, should really watch this movie again. I barely remember any of it! This is a good way to introduce kids to how screwed-up exactly history really is and that some people can, sometimes unintentionally, use religion as an excuse to exercise power over others. Disney should adopt more classic books instead of just fairy tales that they over-sugarize. I’m actually rooting for a Disney version of Phantom of the Opera. Yes, mock me.