THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (Theatrical Release USA 1996)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.4|5.0 Stars ììì

The Hunchback of Notre
Dame takes a series of complicated life issues—physical barriers, societal conformity and exclusion issues, poverty and power structuring problems, authority injustice and complicity hurdles, political and religious complications, love and betrayal challenges, winning and losing cycles, acceptance and rejection constraints, caste structuring barriers, to name a few—and successfully turns these very adult issues into a great animated children and adult film watch. The movie performs as an animated drama that ultimately teaches that every person’s journey is affected by the goodness and badness of others, but perseverance can lead to purpose and happiness. While the film is a little slow in places and some voicing choices do not seem to match their character (i.e., the voices for the gargoyles where the female gargoyle named Laverne (voice of Mary Wickes) was a gravelly voice; the muscular gargoyle named Victor (voice of Charles Kimbrough) had a weak voice; and Quasimodo (voice of Tom Hulce) had more of a child’s voice than the stronger voice expected for his age), the film works on every level. This is not a comedy, but the writers managed to include a few comical scenes to break the drama. The movie successfully introduces the plight of gypsies, orphans, migrant peoples, illegal residents, underground slum populations as well as the result of poor resolution of difficult situations by those in authority—all issues that are still valid today. The film provides good conversation leads for later discussion at the family table.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia

Additional Thanks

Good work for Directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Thank you to Producer Don Hahn, Co-Producer Roy Conli, and Associate Producer Phil Lofaro for making the film possible. Casting voices include: Quasimodo (Tom Hulce), Hugo (Jason Alexander), Clopin (Paul Kandel), Esmeralda (Demi Moore), Laverne (Mary Wickes), Frollo (Tony Jay), and Baby Bird (Frank Welker).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This wonderful production succeeds in almost every way. 

Video Critique Available Here:

Ben Meyers

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