The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

1996, Movie, G, 95 mins

Review

HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, THE
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Considering that Disney couldn't help but trash Victor Hugo's novel in the process of reforming it for tender young sensibilities, this animated adaptation of his Notre Dame de Paris is pricklier and more disturbing than we had any right to expect.

The story is still driven by cruelty, intolerance and lust, and while Quasimodo (voiced by Tom Hulce) has been given a makeover by Uncle Walt's art department, he's still a drooling grotesque with a big hairy hump. His best friends are three adorably peppy stone gargoyles whose irreverent cheer can't entirely obscure the fact that they have no lower bodies and must hop around on their stumps. Then there's that uplifting message: Syrupy sentiments about inner beauty notwithstanding, comely (and buxom) gypsy Esmeralda (voiced by Demi Moore) and hunky Phoebus, captain of the guards (voiced by Kevin Kline), go off together, while ugly but supremely virtuous Quasimodo creeps back to his drafty bell tower and his concrete friends. Kids won't fail to get the point. As for the rest, the songs are undistinguished and the background animation is breathtaking. The most arresting set piece illustrates the temptation of the pious hypocrite Frollo (voiced by Tony Jay) with a guilt-fueled fantasia of shimmying flames and red-cloaked inquisitors. Smokin'! leave a comment

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