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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Disney's darkest and deepest films. Based upon an actual book it is a tale of a 'man and a monster.' Those ominous words are spoken at the very beginning of the film. They are a dark prelude into a tale which examines how easily the human mind can be deceived. Ugliness may hide honest kindness while outwardly justice can be a cover for true evil.
From beginning to end you will be astonished at the perfect blend of Disney favorites in the film. Colorful animation, beautifully done characters, a storyline worthy of being appreciated by those of any age, and music by the finest. Expect to be swept directly into the story as you meet the cruel judge Frollo who only promises to raise Quasimodo out of fear for his immortal soul. The boy, Quasimodo, grows up to be a man who longs only to experience the outside world. His only true companions are three gargoyles whose different personalities add the humorous 'spice' to this classic. Their encouragement unknowingly will be the start of a new life for Quasimodo.
His desire to escape the confines of the bell tower leads to an unusual friendship with the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda (voiced by Demi Moore) who has enchanted Frollo with her actions. She is the first to look beyond Quasimodo's hideous appearance. As his thanks he helps her to escape despite the threat posed by Frollo who is actively seeking her. To save Esmeralda Quasimodo must rely on his friends and the once-captain of Frollo's guard, Phoebus, who also cares deeply for the young gypsy. At the same time, Quasimodo,'the ugliest face in all of Paris' must find the inner strength to let go of Frollo's lies about himself and the world around him. Only by doing so can he find the strength to save, not only Esmeralda, but all of the city of Paris from Frollo's sinister plans. I will not spoil the finale but I will say by the end you will understand 'what makes a monster, and what makes a man.'
For those who claim to be 'to old' for a little Disney magic (yes, I know the type!) let me assure you The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a film you can never be to old to enjoy. No Disney collection, including my own, would be complete without this animated feature. If you do not already own a copy then order yours today or get started on your Christmas shopping with an early gift. This is one Disney film which deserves to be shared!
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Hellfire is my favorite of all Disney songs because it is one worthy to be pondered over. At a young age it is difficult to truly understand the meaning behind Frollo's words and just how twisted his sense of sin is. He claims to be 'righteous' and yet is filled with a burning lust. Frollo is prepared to destroy the world to achieve what he desires. In his jealousy he leaves Esmeralda with only two options: to be his alone or to 'burn.'
From the eerie Latin chants which start Frollo's song to the dramatic end, Hellfire is brilliant to behold. Notice the animation: simple with deep colors yet perfectly suited to the dark musings of judge Frollo.
There are the well-known fairy-tale Disney classics and the too-often overlooked Disney classics. This is a tragedy as some of Disney's best films are those most people have yet to see. Here are some of my favorite 'overlooked' Disney masterpieces:
The Sword in the Stone
The unsuspecting Arthur gets caught up in magical adventures after meeting the slightly-eccentric wizard, Merlin. Their adventures are filled with heart-warming humor which lead to the most important moment of all, the epic 'sword in the stone.'
The Black Cauldron
The Black Cauldron is a tale filled with dark magic, enchanted swords, and true friendship. Young Taran faces death and danger in his search to destroy the black cauldron and stop the Horned King.