5 Reasons Why You Should Love Disney's 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame'

5 Reasons Why You Should Love Disney's 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame'

Finding appreciation for an underrated classic.
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This year marks the twentieth anniversary for what I consider to be one of the most under-rated and under-appreciated Disney movies ever: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Critics and movie-goers just weren't ready for the type of movie this was. It was a bit of a change from Disney's normal routine. Whenever you hear people talk about their favorite Disney movies it's always, “I just love Aladdin!” or “The Lion King reigns supreme!” or “Beauty and the Beast will always be the perfect Disney movie!” Well, it is my hope to garner some much needed appreciation for one Disney's “ugly ducklings.” That said, here are five reasons why you should love “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

1. It went in a newer, slightly darker direction.

One thing I always appreciate about film-makers and studios is when they have the guts to try something new instead of always rehashing what has worked in the past. “Hunchback” came during a period known as the Disney Renaissance, which spans from 1989's “The Little Mermaid” to 1999's “Tarzan.” It was during this period that the Disney Studios experienced a surge in their creativity, producing box-office-smashing hits. Many of these were princess/love stories. “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Pocahontas” are all terrific movies, but they are very much alike in structure and story.

According to Stephen Robello's book "The Art of The Hunchback of Notre Dame," the idea to make a film version of Victor Hugo's classic novel came from development executive David Stainton in 1993. Over the next three years, Disney developed a film that was true to the original feeling and style of the novel, while still keeping it pretty much kid friendly. But even though it was kid-friendly, it was definitely darker than Disney's usual animated romp. Instead of the lead character being a dashing hero, he is a deformed man who pines for a woman from afar. He is constantly told from his “master” Frollo that he is ugly and useless. We also see sin (particularly lust) as a huge theme. That's right, lust. In a kid's movie. Judge Frollo tries to rid the city of Paris of all the gypsies, but when he meets Esmeralda he burns with lust (almost literally in the song “Hellfire”). The biggest detour away from the Disney norm is...(spoiler alert) our hero Quasimodo does not wind up with the girl he loves! Instead, he has to watch while she falls in love with someone else and breaks Quasi's heart in the process! Better learn these lessons fast kids. Life is tough. Deal with it.

2. Tom Hulce plays Quasimodo

Tom Hulce, in my opinion, is one of the best actors ever to be put on film. Best known for roles in “Amadeus” and “National Lampoon's Animal House,” Hulce plays the titular character of Quasimodo. Interestingly, Hulce was not the first choice for the voice of our favorite hunchback. Originally, Disney was looking at Mandy Patinkin (best known as Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride”), but the actor's style clashed with what the studio wanted. Hulce then auditioned, and was immediately hired. It seems like a no-brainer to me. Tom Hulce does the character of Quasimodo such justice. In Quasimodo we have this gruff and disfigured exterior, but when we hear him speak we hear a gentle soul longing for friendship and love. Hulce's voice perfectly captures that essence. I particularly love when Hulce sings the songs “Out There” and “Heaven's Light.” To be honest, Hulce doesn't have what I'd call the best singing voice in the world, but the quality of it matches the character. There's a small bit of naivete, yet there is the sense of an old soul and a big heart which holds a lot of genuine kindness. Hulce really brings this character to life, and makes him a distinctly unique and wonderful part of Disney's saga.

3. Alan Menken wrote the music

When it comes to Disney, no one does better songs or musical scores than Alan Menken. The man is a legend, having co-written the critically acclaimed music for “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules” and “Tangled.” The music of “Hunchback” is just as memorable as Menken's other works. “The Bells of Notre Dame” is an epic prologue song that sends chills up the spine. “Topsy Turvy” is one of those songs that easily gets stuck in your head. Musically, for me, the highlight of the film is “Heaven's Light/Hellfire” which perfectly shows the viewer a glimpse of the souls of Quasimodo and Frollo. The song starts out light and soft with Quasimodo singing about his hope for love. It's a moment that really tugs at the heartstrings. We then segue-way into Frollo's song where he boasts about his “righteousness,” but being afraid of the lust he feels for Esmeralda. By the end of this haunting song, he shouts with fierceness that she will choose him or burn. The music is powerful. I will admit, I don't particularly care for the songs “God Help the Outcasts” and “A Guy Like You,” but the rest makes up for it. Really.


4. Perhaps the most sinister villain in Disney history


Frollo is perhaps the most sinister villain in any Disney movie. It helps that the character is portrayed by Tony Jay who is known for his chilling voice. Frollo is more than anything a vindictive religious hypocrite. This makes him all the more dangerous. He hates the “wickedness” of the gypsies and wants to eliminate them completely from his city. This proves to be quite a personal conflict when he experiences extreme lustful feelings for the gypsy Esmeralda (the same girl Quasimodo falls in love with). It is this lust that motivates him to take a more genocidal turn toward the gypsies. Another thing that makes him a great villain is his attitude toward Quasimodo. In the beginning of the film, we see Frollo kill Quasimodo's gypsy mother as she tries to flee from the authorities. Had it not been for the intervention of Notre Dame's arch-deacon, Frollo surely would have killed the infant Quasimodo because of his deformed appearance. As he raises Quasimodo, Frollo constantly reminds him that he is deformed, ugly and unacceptable in society. Seriously, what a scumbag! And then, just a side note, one thing he really has going for him is that he is very arrogant and smug. Personally, I have always found these to be the best qualities in a villain.

5. The artwork and animation is incredible!

The team of artists and animators who worked on this movie were

incredible! They did the city of Paris, and particularly Notre Dame cathedral some real justice. From here I'll just let the screenshots speak for themselves.

Behold:




Bonus reason: THIS GUY. 'Nuff said.


So, those are the reasons why I think there is so much more to “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” than the majority thinks. It is finely crafted, and really one of Disney's better efforts. Hopefully, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for this film.

Cover Image Credit: Broadway World

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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5 Reasons Why 'Friends' Always Makes Me Laugh Harder Than 'The Office'

It's been almost 20 years since Friends ended, but the fanbase just gets larger.

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The show "Friends" has ended almost 20 years ago but never fails to make you laugh. The comedy in "Friends" is the kind that makes you laugh out loud while the comedy in "The Office" is more dry humor. The characters in "Friends" are recurring so viewers develop more of a bond with them. It also has more relatable content. You're likely to have a friend that's like each of the characters in the show. Although "The Office" is a good show, it doesn't give you the same feeling as when you watch "Friends" and certainly doesn't make you laugh as much!

1. Mondler 

Who doesn't love Monica and Chandler together? I mean could there BE a more adorable couple?! Yes, there's Jim and Pam in "The Office," but Monica and Chandler are obviously the much cuter couple. Monica and Chandler are each other's best friend and would do absolutely anything for each other. Monica and Chandler are the OG couple and were each other's best friends before they were in a relationship. A one night thing turned into a lifetime of happiness for both of them.

2. Chandler and Joey's bromance 

Now for everyone's favorite pair of best friends. Without Chandler, there's no Joey and vice versa.

These two original roommates have made the show so much funnier, and what better way to show how much your best friend means to you than sitting in a box? In "The Office," there are many friendships like Michael and Dwight. but none of them compare to the best friend relationship of Joey and Chandler who would do anything for each other. Chandler is always supportive of Joey's acting career and never fails to be there for Joey when he needs him the most.

3. Ross and Rachel

The second Rachel walks into Central Perk and the rest of the gang's lives, everyone knew Ross and Rachel were meant to be. This on and off couple immediately wins over your heart. Their ups and downs show that life can get crazy, but everything happens for a reason, and in the end, the journey will be worth it. \

In "The Office," there's no couple that everyone knows will end up together except Jim and Pam, but they don't win our hearts as much as Roschel. No matter how many different relationships they are involved in with other people, deep down, Rachel and Ross always love each other.

4. Chandler's sarcasm

Chandler's the group's comedian and never fails to tell a joke that would erupt into laughter. There's always a comedian in each friend group which makes it so much more relatable. Although in "The Office" there are many characters that people might relate to, some characters can be harder to relate to. Chandler's jokes are always on point, compared to the humor in "The Office" where it's pretty much Michael doing or saying out of the blue things.

5. They show how best friends can turn into family

The cast of "Friends" shows that best friends can turn into family. They spend every single day together and as a group, they portray the definition of true best friends.

In "The Office," it's hard to pinpoint moments where they all are a family. Yes, they are each other's friends and colleagues, but it doesn't feel the same way as the relationship as the six characters in "Friends" have. Their friendship with each other is all they rely on in the big city of New York which makes it more meaningful.

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