This classic film was released back in 1996. Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, this film is centred on Quasimodo; a deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame and his struggle to gain acceptance in society. With his “master” Judge Claude Frollo seeing sin in everything except himself, he dehumanises Quasimodo. Constantly reminding him that he won’t be accepted in society because of his deformation, because he’s ugly and just doesn’t fit in. It’s a crime to which the world shows little pity. Meanwhile, gypsies are in Paris and Frollo is not happy with that; he’s basically ashamed of his ‘sinful’ feelings towards gypsy Esmerelda and so practically punishes her and everyone else for it.
It is easy for people to relate to in some way. Feeling like an outsider, unrequited love, wanting to make the world a better place, being misunderstood. This film has everything and more! It’s curious as to why this film isn’t still having people craze about it.
The unconventional Disney film subverts the audience’s expectations; the hero doesn’t get the girl, the hero isn’t conventionally beautiful. And with the religious side of it, it’s a wonder that Disney was brave enough to keep that in it; it’s crucial to the plot but is also risky with offending some audiences.
Keeping you on the edge of your seat, you know how good the movie will be within the first five minutes. Literally. It is full of action and subversion. The background music fits the mood perfectly, especially with the lyric; “what makes a monster and what makes a man?” Frollo’s power is also shown well here; he gets away with his actions, even though he is caught by someone who is supposed to be a good character.
The animation throughout this film is beautiful. The colours and drawings are visually stunning with perfect detail. There’s outstanding scenery of Paris, churches, and the characters are just as amazing. It really is a true shame that they don’t make movies like this anymore; not just the type of plot, but the type of animation as well.
LIKE FIRE! HELLFIRE! This soundtrack is one of the best movie soundtracks of all time!! Do not fight me on this, because it’s true! The voices are stunning and suit the characters, the lyrics fit in with the story. It’s enchanting and, sometimes, haunting as well. You’re guaranteed to get some lyrics stuck in your head, because they’re just perfect! I swear, it must be heaven’s light.
Judge Claude Frollo is also the perfect villain. With his seemingly harmless appearance, he looks like every other character. It shows that anyone is capable of being a villain. He must be one of the best villains out there, because of the fact that he genuinely doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. And the way he cares for Quasimodo, but, at the same time, abuses him, is haunting. His ‘villain-song’ must be one of the best songs featured in the movie.
Esmerelda is also the sweetest character. She actually cares about everyone and isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She isn’t biased, she doesn’t make fun of people, even when literally everyone else does. Really, she should be one of Disney’s feminist icons; she’s a true inspiration and role model.
This film is still relevant to society today; judging people and abusing them because they’re different. It is an emotional film, that’s definitely worth the watch. Even if you’ve seen it, you should definetely just watch it again, because it’s that good! It’s hard to believe that there are actually people out there who haven’t seen this film, and people who don’t like it. It’s an inspiring film!
(I do not own any of these images, they belong to Disney)