The Hunchback of Notre Dame/The Hunchback of Notre Dame II Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review
On March 12th, 2013 Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame arrived on Blu-ray/DVD for the first time ever. As a bonus, it also comes with the 2002 Direct-to-DVD The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. I don’t think I have seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame since I saw it in theaters when I was fourteen, so I was excited to see if it was as amazing as I remembered.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Seeing The Hunchback of Notre Dame in theaters inspired me to attempt reading Victor Hugo’s classic of the same name. Unfortunately I didn’t take to the brick-sized novel as easily as I did Disney’s version, so I never finished it. After watching it again for probably the first time in sixteen years, I wondered if it might be time to take another stab at the classic novel.
Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a colorful, musical tale of a deformed orphan boy who is taken in by the cruel Frollo (Tony Jay) because he is responsible for the death of the boy’s mother. Frollo names the young boy Quasimodo (Tom Hulce) and keeps him locked up inside the Notre Dame cathedral, where he is the bell-ringer. Frollo suspects that one day the boy will become of use to him.
Defying Frodo, Quasimodo steps outside of the walls of the cathedral where he encounters the feisty and beautiful gypsy, Esmerelda (Demi Moore). But Quasimodo is not the only one who has eyes for her: Phoebus (Kevin Kline), the captain of the guard, and Frollo both fall under her spell.
Before I ever saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I was captivated by the music, written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. The most beautiful songs, in my opinion, are “God Help the Outcasts” and “Heaven’s Light/Hellfire”. They are haunting, and so full of emotion. There are also lighter, fun songs such as “Topsy Turvy” and “A Guy Like You” to balance everything out for the kids.
There are some pretty dark themes in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which will make it an animated feature film that adults will enjoy watching just as much as the children. Though I’ve always had a soft spot for Quasimodo, I think I finally understand and accept his ending, now making this one of my favorite Disney animated films ever.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II
I’d never seen the sequel to The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and didn’t know what to expect. I liked how things ended in the first film; Quasimodo may not have gotten the girl (she fell in love with Phoebus, and who could blame her?), but at least he was accepting of her choosing Phoebus, and approved of him in the end.
The sequel takes place six years after the events in the first film, and Phoebus and Esmerelda are now the parents of a rambunctious young boy named Zephyr (Haley Joel Osment). Quasidmodo is sad because he will have no one’s name to call out at the “Le Jour d’Amour”, a day when true love is celebrated in front of all of Paris. Esmerelda comforts Quasimodo, telling him that one day he will find the person meant for him.
Meanwhile, a traveling magician and his assistant are hatching a plan to steal the city’s most beloved bell, La Fidéle. Madellaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt), the assistant, befriends Quasimodo in order to learn of where the bell is kept. Phoebus is investigating crimes that all lead back to Madellaine and the magician, Sarousch (Michael McKean). Quasimodo and Madellaine have fallen for each other, but she owes a debt to Sarousch. Can love conquer all?
As far as Disney animated sequels go, they are usually very hit or miss with me. I didn’t like it as much as I liked the first, and the colors and animation of the characters in the second film seemed to be a bit off. The story was pretty good, though, and I was happy to see Quasimodo finding someone who loved him despite his deformities.
(The Hunchback of Notre Dame) Audio Commentary Watch the entire film with commentary from Don Hahn, Kirk Wise, and Gary Trousdale to learn everything about the filmmaking experience.
(The Hunchback of Notre Dame) The Making of The Hunchback of Notre Dame Jason Alexander (the voice of Hugo) introduces the animators of the film and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.
(The Hunchback of Notre Dame) A Guy Like You Multi-Language Reel See the gargoyles’ comedic song, “A Guy Like You”, performed in several different languages.
(The Hunchback of Notre Dame II) Behind the Scenes with Jennifer Love Hewitt Disney’s Movie Surfers introduce Jennifer Love Hewitt, who has always wanted to voice an animated character. Jennifer Love Hewitt then discusses her character, Madellaine.
(The Hunchback of Notre Dame II) A Gargoyle’s Life: It’s Not Easy Being a Gargoyle Hugo (Jason Alexander) recites a poem about what it’s like being a gargoyle.
* I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.*