Another Round of Find the Differences! There are Nine.Follow thehunchblog
Topsy Turvy follows in the path of the big show stopping music numbers of Disney. Other songs like this included (but not limited to) Under the Sea (The Little Mermaid), Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast) and A Friend Like Me ( Aladdin). Unlike these, Topsy Turvy is not a show stopper, it doesn’t stop the movie for the sake of a spectacle, but instead Topsy Turvy propels the plot forward.
There is a lot that happens within the course of the song with regards to story telling. The festive starts and Quasimodo gets caught in the swing of it, Quasimodo meets Esmeralda, Esmeralda dances getting the attention of Quasimodo, Phoebus and Frollo, the King of Fools contest starts, and Quasimodo is crown the king. There so much that happens that the song is broken up into four part essentually. These parts are well connected and the last portation with Quasimodo as the King of Fools features a keynote change to denote the ending of the song.
As far as the song is concerned it’s fun. It’s very celbratory, the lyrics are clever and Paul Kandel does well singing it. It’s the only Disney song to use a word meaning prostitutes. The line “Join the bums and theives and strumpets,” a strumpets is an old fashion word for a prostitute or a harlot. Kind of intresting that the only Dinsey song to use a word for prostitute would also feature a pole dance.
The visuals help make this song memorable. There lots of reversals to help keep the momentum going and the fun up. This visually also give Quasimodo something to react to and since he is seeing all this craziness for the first time, Quasimodo acts as the audience in this song. There is a cast of thousand. The crowds were made using CG and at the time were a feat but the crowd in movie hasn’t aged well.
The song has several reference that harken back to Victor Hugo’s Novel. First the lyrics mention the date a being January 6, which is the day the Feast of Fools took place on. Of course the movie doesn’t seem to take place in winter, then again it could just be unseasonably warm.
Another Reference is Clopin referring to Esmeralda as “La Esmeralda”. Esmeralda in the book is very often referenced to with the article “La.”
The last reference and probably the most interesting. Is on the line “shock the priest” Clopin is holding a Frollo puppet. This is a clear reference to Frollo being a priest in the book.
The song itself is fine, it big and fun but it’s not my favorite. I would position this song in the middle of the ranking however I can understand why many would like it, it’s a fun song that adds to the movie and alludes to the book very appropriately.
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Out There is for all intended purposes is a solo but its prelude is duet between Frollo and Quasimodo. Frollo sings about how awful the world is as a means for controlling Quasimodo. When Frollo departs the scene, the mood of the song changes into Quasimodo singing about a yearning to venture beyond the tower and go flocking with the normal people.
There is no good way to say it, Out There is a knock off of “Part of your World” from the Little Mermaid. Lots of Disney characters sing this “wanting more” type of song but Out There and Part of that World express the some thought. And it’s interesting that they both point to a direction; up for Ariel and down for Quasimodo and they both mention a desire for the sun and to be with “the people”. They also kind of look alike, red hair and they both wear green.
So how is the song on a music level? Got say, the song it’s self is pretty typical Disney fare. It’s one of the typical songs you’ll hear in a Disney movie, the dreamer’s song. It’s usually the main character singing about wanting something more. This song is just Quasimodo singing about even if just one day he wants to apart of the people. The music is fine, it’s nice and symphomatic. The lyrics are very repetitive: he wants to be to live a day with the regular people, I get. Quasimodo does come off naive to think that just because people live “out there” this qualifies them as normal and he also insinuates that it’s a gift for them to be normal despite the whole issue with gypsies who have to live in catacombs to avoid Frollo’s genocide tendencies.
The singing is where this song fails for me. Hulce’s vibrato has too much of a wobble for me. I think this fast vibrato is meant to give Quasimodo an innocence and naivety but it too much wobble. The wobbly vibrato ruins Hulce’s performance for me and do think he a decent enough singer otherwise.
The best part of the song in the movie is the visuals. I remember the first time I saw it, the part where Quasimodo slid down the buttress was my favorite visual, I thought it looked fun, of course as a kid I thought it was a water slide and not a support structure. I really enjoy Quasimodo interacting with the Notre Dame, he may be dreaming on being on terra firma but Notre Dame is like his private playground.
There are a few things that appear in the song that many viewers don’t seem to notice. The first are cameos, which people do notice. The Cameos are Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Pumba (The Lion King) and Carpet (Aladdin). Two other things, is Frollo can be seen in the square as Quasimodo is looking down and a satillite dish can be seen on a house in the bird’s view of Paris or La Cite in this case.
So the song is by no means in the top tier of the songs in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it by no means is it the worst. It’s just a VERY typical formulaic Disney song.
Next Time –Topsy Turvy
So I’m stilly working on my writ-up on Out There but I finshed a new lens on Quasimodo al la Notre Dame. Those Notre Dame actors lenses are a lot of work but there worth it. I’ll add to the Squidoo page later.
Also I made this promaotional “DMV” (Disney Music Video) . It’s basically a summary of the movie to music from the movie. It was made back in June.
The Bells of Notre Dame is the opening to the movie. Click Here to get The Bells Of Notre Dame
The Bells of Notre Dame starts off like The 1939 version, very appropriately with Bells and Latin choir (unlike the 1939 version). The bells grow in intensity till the title screen goes away and the opening scene starts and the melody of the refrain from Hellfire is heard. From this you get a major sense of drama before you see a single person. Then tone turns gentle and quite, then intense, then more intense. This song is like a roller coaster.
The Bells of Notre Dame does a few things for the movie, it introduces three main character, showcases Notre Dame’s importance as the setting of the film and explains the relationship between Quasimodo and Frollo. Disney had a bit of the problem with nature of Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo isn’t the colossal jerk he is in the Book. He takes Quasimodo in after being moved by empathy for him, not by getting scared by a Statue and the Archdeacon because he murder an innocent women in front of the most important spiritual centers in France and fears hell that takes the baby of his victim as an act of contrition. But Disney villains are never ones for charitable act so Frollo is co-forced into looking after Quasimodo. The Bells of Notre Dame also presents the viewers with the moral of the story, “what makes a monster and what makes a man”.
The Song also sets up the tone of the movie. Disney boosts that Hunchback is their darkest film, and yes it is, but it is after all a Disney film and there is a lot of “humor” in it. The Bells of Notre Dame present both facets, the humor, light-hearted Disney Flair and the darker aspects. The dark aspect are easy to see, the backstory, Frollo kills a women, tries to kill a baby and saddled into raising it. The humor comes from Clopin regaling the children with his puppet (love the Clopin Puppet). But even Clopin here is delighting in the dark dramatics of the story.
But is the song itself successful? Yes, yes it. I would so that it’s one of the best song in the movie right up there with Hellfire. It’s dramatic, epic, and grand. Unlike Hellfire which has a benefits of being more focused, Bells of Notre Dame has to fulfill it’s purpose and has a lot of ground to cover musically. It’s starts with a Latin choir, goes into a more gentle tone and the gets darker as the Gypsies are introduced along with Frollo, The Choir returns but more intense as Frollo chases Quasimodo’s mother. There are so many vignettes in this song that it could have been a mess but it’s handle musically very well and the music intensifies the dramatics of the action.
Originally this wasn’t even going to be a song, it was going to be spoken dialogue. I’m glad they made it into a song because it’s one of the better songs in the movie. It was the perfect way for the movie to start. Your given a tone, setting, characters, motivation, drama, and some light humor. I would say it’s one the best Disney’s openings. Seriously, Clopin’s crescendo at the end is amazing, it’s probably the single greatest bit of singing in the movie, maybe even Disney History.
Next Time – Part of that World, oh wait, I mean Out There.Follow thehunchblog
I just want to take a moment and get this out there.
A few months ago it was announced that Tim Burton was rumored to be directing a new adaptaion of The Hunchback of Notre Dame slated for 2013 and attach to this is actor Josh Brolin of such movies as Jonah Hex and True Grit as Quasimodo. I was reading some of comments people left on the websites that announced this and mostly they were discussing how Johnny Depp was not playing the leading character in a Tim Burton movie. Unusual? Yes but does this mean that Johnny Depp will not be in the film?
My guess he will. Let’s face it Quasimodo not exactly a Depp role, sure he played Ed Scissorhand but I can’t envision Depp as Quasimodo. However I could see him as Gringoire. Gringoire is a poet and sometimes he used as a story-teller (as he more less is the voice for the writer) and more often than not he has been paired up with Esmeralda. I would predict that Johnny Depp will play Gringoire, I can see him as Frollo or Phoebus, however he could play Clopin. For Depp to Play Clopin it would depend of the direction of the film. Clopin is not actually a gypsy in the book but in the film Clopin takes on all of the leaders of the Court of Miracles, so sometimes he’s a Gypsy and sometimes he’s not. However I could see him as Clopin or Gringoire. Though I would lean towards Gringoire.
As for Helena Bonham Carter (another staple in a Burton movies), there is a lack of females in Hunchback of Notre Dame and it’s up to the film’s direction if they’ll have more than just Esmeralda. I wouldn’t cast Carter as Esmeralda or Fleur de Lys ( if Fleur de Lys is in this adaptation). Pending on film direction I would cast her as Sister Gudule, Esmeralda’s mother. However if the film doesn’t go for Esmeralda’s back story which I’ve only ever seen twice in adaptations, Carter will have some cameo of some sort maybe La Falourdel (the women who house Phoebus rents a room from in order to seduce Esmeralda). In case I would predict her to be in the film is some capacity.
I hope they get someone who is more akin to Esmeralda in the book; someone who is not overtly sexy and youthful, that would be refreshing to see.
Anyway these are all rumors and predictions, but I would love to hear what you think on this upcoming movie.
Ah, the voice acting in Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. Some of it’s great, some it is just ok and some of the casting is off, which seems to weaken the believability of the characters. This is more or less in the order of rank, as I see it or hear it.. yeah.. I know lame joke.
The highlight of the voices in the movie is Tony Jay’s rendition of Judge Claude Frollo. Jay’s cold sounding baritone mixed with his british accent makes for the perfect bad guy voice. He gives Frollo’s voice an air calm control that at any second could explode into fevered anger. Also his voice is seductive, you can believe this guy is a charmer and yet he speaks with command and authority. Jay’s voice helps make Frollo a more interesting character.
Jay had been a veteran Disney voice actor and voice actor in general. He’s been in a number of Disney related films and television shows as well many other non disney films, television and recordings of broadway shows. On his IMDB page he has 150 credits but I think he most known for Frollo mainly because Frollo is a horrible person and his voice accentuates brilliantly.
Tony Jay was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting.
Paul Kandel voiced Clopin and is a Broadway performer. He’s probably the best singer in the film (the crescendo at the end of Bells of Notre Dame gets me every single time) and that’s probably why he ended up with the most songs in the movie. In fact Clopin sings more than he actually speaks. Kandel gives Clopin a sense of fun and whimsy but he also gives him a flair for the dramatics which is a boon for the introductory scene since it’s not funny.
David Ogden Stiers voiced the Archdeacon. Stiers like Jay is a veteran voice actor and has been in many major Disney movies. He’s also primarily a television actor. Stiers runs the gambit of tones with the Archdeacon’s voice; tenderness, command, authority, concern and a little amusement (the Archdeacon sounded a little amused when he thinking about Esmeralda’s merry chase). Just because the Archdeacon is by all account a glorified extra Stiers’ voice helps makes the character more interesting.
Kevin Kline voiced Phoebus. Kline does well as Phoebus but I think he falls short of Jay and Kandel because I mean really, Phoebus isn’t a hard role to play. Phoebus has a dry wit but so Kline, I mean Kline is practically playing himself. I give Kline credit, he made Phoebus funnier than probably was originally intended which makes him more interesting as character. Because without the humor would Phoebus have been memorable? My guess is no. Kline is also partly responsible for Achilles’ name. He insistent that horse have a name, so they gave the Phoebus’ horse a name at Kline’s insistent.
Fun Fact about Kline’s process – to get into the character of playing a knight, Kline held a sword in hand during recording sessions. He even ruined some recordings because he would hit the microphone (accidently, I’m sure.)
Jason Alexander voiced Hugo. As much as I dislike the gargoyles, I think the voice acting is fine. Jason Alexander is best known as George Costanza on Seinfeld. George is uptight and neurotic, the total opposite of Hugo. Hugo is fun-loving and laid back. I think Alexander does very well in the role. But again, is a fun-loving partier a demanding role? No, not really.
Charles Kimbrough voiced Victor. Kimbrough has been in many types of media; film, TV and voice acting. Kimbrough does well enough as the prim, more serious-minded Victor, but it’s hard to lay out Victor’s personality compare to Hugo and Laverne. So it’s hard to identify how well Kimbrough did as Victor.
Mary Wickes voiced Laverne. Later in Wickes’ career she played cranky old ladies. Two of the movies I remember her in were Little Women (Aunt March) and Sister Act (Sister Mary Lazarus), both characters are tell-it-like-it-is, cranky old ladies much like Laverne. So while she does well in the role she definitely playing her type of role.
I want to mention Jane Withers briefly. Mary Wickes died as the film was being recorded and so Jane Withers stepped in to finish the recording and took over the role of Laverne. There are some lines where Wickes started and Withers finished, which is testament to Withers; acting to able to sound almost identical to Wickes.
Tom Hulce voiced of Quasimodo. Tom Hulce is most known for his role in Amadeus Mozart. I do not find any fault with Hulce’s acting, I think he does a good job giving Quasimodo tenderness, gentleness and a bit of pitiable emo-ness. I also think Hulce does well exhibiting both Quasimodo’s natural disposition and in contrast to his attitude when he’s with Frollo. So Why is Hulce’s performance second to the last on this Blog post? Well that is because I wonder what the directors were smoking in making Quasimodo a school boy that’s gentle and sweet. Quasimodo is suppose to be gentle but only to Esmeralda. He’s not suppose have a school boy. I can understand why Disney did this and I understand why Hulce’s voice is good for this type of role but just because I can understand it doesn’t mean I have to condone it. Honestly they made Quasimodo into a Disney Princess. Hulce has a clear voice which is a commonality to the Disney Princess trope. Think about, Quasimodo is a Disney princess, he just a male and not very pretty.
Demi Moore voiced of Esmeralda. Like Quasimodo, I think casting was way off. I get that they wanted something different. The directors liked Moore’s husky and rough tone of voice and they liked that she also had a tenderness to it, but Moore ages the character. It’s weird looking at the concept art, how youthful Esmeralda started and how mature she looks/acts in the movie. I understand that the decision to cast Moore was intentional and as part the process of animation is that Esmeralda took on Moore’s looks and mannerism but I don’t think the pay off was good in the long run. I think Esmeralda is too much like Moore and effectively Moore was playing herself (or at the most her type-cast role) so she didn’t exactly have to exert her acting prowess. Also I think Moore got the role due to sex appeal and popularity. And point Deductions for being the only one of the cast not able to sing her character’s song, though if can’t sing than she can’t sing, but they could have just had Heidi Mollenhauer do the role in it enitety, she is an singer/actress after all. They fact they they didn’t just mean that Moore was cast for her popularity and appeal.
Shout Outs/Kudos to:
-Shout out/Kudos to Gary Trousdale voice of Djali (that not a bleat) and the Old Heretic.
-Shout out/Kudos to Corey Burton and Bill Fagerbakke, Brutish and Oafish Guards these two made those characters hilarious.
Agree or Disagree, I’d love to know your opinions
What can we say about Disney’s Archdeacon in terms of looks? Well he’s old, he has white hair, he has long bushy sideburns and eyebrows. He has a square-ish face with a bulbous nose. He’s not much of a looker.
Much like the 1939 version his duds look modern and not medieval. I give Disney a little credit this vestments look less modern than the 1939 version, but not enough to praise Disney for their astute costume research.
The Archdeacon is also ages during the film. When we first see him in the flashback, his hair is just grayish black. In the DVD commentary, the directors made a point of mentioning how Frollo looked 20 years younger in the flashback, and in a subtle was he does a little bit but you can really see it with the Archdeacon’s look. Mainly because Frollo goes from ashen gray to gray whereas the Archdeacon goes from grayish black to white. Not sure who is older, Frollo or the Archdeacon, my guess would be the Archdeacon.
The Archdeacon also bares a striking resemblance to his Voice Actor David Ogden Stiers. It’s part of Disney’s process to record the voice actors during their recodring session and infuse the voice actore into character’s animation and character design. This would mean that the Archdeacon and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast look-alike
That’s pretty much it, he’s not in the movie for long and he only kind of a main characters so I think his looks are more functional than indicative of personality. But he does make a creepy smile. Expressions are one thing Disney excels at. (I don’t know, I find that smile really odd, maybe it’s the half closed eyes and the downward tilt of his head and the upward eyebrow.)
Well that’s it, we’re done with the character analysis of Disney (Hooray!)
Next Time – Voice Acting….Follow thehunchblog