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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Live Music Is Better Than Pre-Recorded Music

Have you ever been in an arena with 15,000 people singing along to your favorite songs? It gives me goosebumps every time.
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As an avid concert goer myself, sometimes going to two or more per month, I fully believe that hearing music live is way better than listening to it on Spotify.

First off, if you’re going to hear it live, you’re more than likely going with a friend. What’s better than being at the barricade singing along to your favorite songs? Nothing! Being with my best friends at a concert for an artist we all love dearly has grown to be one of my happy places.

Second, you get to hear things live that you’ll never get to hear with a pre-recorded track. Something that’s pre-recorded is the same thing over and over again, you can never change it, but with live music, it’s different every time. Some bands that I’ve seen throw in extra guitar solos or drum solos and even climb into the audience to let fans sing into their microphones, which is something you don’t get to hear on pre-recorded tracks.

There is no autotune at a concert, and if the artist is really good, they sound just like they do on the pre-recorded track. All Time Low is a great example of this - and if you haven’t seen them live, I highly recommend that you do! They are one of my favorite bands and they put on an amazing show whether it’s your first one or your one hundredth.

Acoustic songs and hearing the crowd sing the song right back is something that will always give me chills, especially big arena shows with more than 15,000 people in attendance. Nothing warms my heart more than knowing that thousands of people are there together for one night to do one thing - sing their hearts out to their favorite artists.

Getting the chance to possibly meet the artist is another added benefit of live music that I like to throw in. If you don’t have meet and greet, most artists will usually meet fans in the back by the busses! It’s one of the most exciting things about the after-concert, hoping they’ll come out and say hello.

I could go on forever about why live music is better than pre-recorded, but if I had to pick a reason over everything, I would say the memories of live music.

Sure, I can capture them on my phone and re-watch them later, but nothing beats being there with your friends and listening to all your favorite songs unfold in front of you. Nothing beats screaming the lyrics and forgetting about everything stressful in your life for awhile.

My next concert is not until June and I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do until then. Attending concerts is one of my favorite past times, and this year, my friends and I will be traveling to see quite a few shows, which I can’t wait for.

Next time you attend a live show, think of all of these things discussed in this article and ask yourself which you prefer: live music or pre-recorded?

Cover Image Credit: Megan Courtney

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11 Of The Best 'Powerpuff Girls' Quotes

Sugar, spice, and everything nice
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Growing up, the Powerpuff Girls was one of my favorite television shows. I spent a lot of time with my sister and cousin, watching and re-watching episodes, and running around pretending to be the amazing super-heroines we looked up to. When I watch the show again at age 20, I realize how funny, clever, and insightful some of the lines are. If you grew up watching the Powerpuff girls and you need a laugh, these 11 quotes are sure to remind you of the three wonderful girls who save the day, as well as their friends (and enemies)!

1. Bubbles: "There's nothing wrong with talking to yourself."

2. Blossom: "I'm not boring! I'm a... a fiery redhead! And who made Bubbles the cute one? I'm cute! Look at this bow!"


3. Mojo Jojo: "Annoying little girl, you must wait your turn, in which I am first and you are second, which, in essence, makes you last, since 1 is before 2."


4. Bubbles: "Goodness gracious! Sir, you are being slowly digested. We need to get you to a hospital."

5. Buttercup: "It takes a lot more than a couple of cheap shots to make us cry."

6. Princess: "QUIET. Now listen. It doesn't matter that you've got your little gadgets, or that you're the ultimate evil. All that matters is that I destroy the Powerpuff Girls, which I will because I have the most powerful power in the whole wide world. COLD HARD CASH."

7. Talking Dog: "Well, I may be able to talk, but I sure as heck can't drive!"

8. Bubbles: "What are you doing in our closet, Mr. Mayor?"

Mayor: "You mean...we're not in my house?"

Buttercup: "Sorry, Mayor."

Mayor: "Well that explains all the cool furniture!"


9. HIM: "You see, the thing about gift giving is it's the thought that counts. And obviously, thinking isn't your strong point."


10. Brick: "If you're gonna do graffiti, at least spell the words right! Sheesh! Talk about dum-BUH."


11. Professor Utonium: "Hey, where's Bubbles?"

Buttercup: "She's probably upstairs combing her hair so she'll be the 'prettiest girl at the party'!"

Bubbles (upstairs, combing her hair): "I'm gonna be the prettiest girl at the party!"

Cover Image Credit: Randall Petersen: Flickr

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