Episode 21: The Final Battle Part I

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 21 The Final Battle Part 1 picture image

Jennifer Morrison as Emma

Okay for the record Henry is 14 which means 4 years of show time have past but then how old is Neal and Robin? Really just forget about time in the show, it’s easier on the brain.

So the final battle is the Never-Ending Story. The Black Fairy has Emma in a version of Storybrooke where she is a mental patient battling belief. As her belief wanes all the Story realms fade away. Emma’s family except for Henry is back in the Enchanted Forest and the EQ has moved into Regina’s castle. Also Aladdin and Jasmine are back. The hat is mention and Hook gets a bean to save Emma. But Emma burns the book at Fiona’s insistent.

Also really show, more amnesia? Or is the curse a type of alt-world or both. I’m confused.

While the idea of the final battle is more of battle of faith does bring the series full circle, what does The Black Fairy get out of it? She just gave into to the fate of a villain to fight good but that is so basic and now she just doing this whole killing the savior’s belief because that’s what she suppose to do. Doesn’t make much sense for the story. It’s more like the writers had this concept for the last part of Once Upon a Time and the villain was just sort whoever. Or they did know that it was the Black Fairy but didn’t really do a great job at that element that makes a good villain, motivation. The Black Fairy always seemed half-baked in her evil plans. Why did she kidnap babies? Why did she want out of her realm? Why does she want to kill the savior? Shrugs to all those questions except the getting out, she wanted to be with Rumple but did she really???

Also did anyone notice that the plot of Untold story characters fizzled out? It went away awhile ago and really all it amounted to was EQ, Jasmine, and Nemo, Wish we could have know Hyde’s plan.

This episode also adds setup for next season with some little girl in “a time of great upheaval.” And the photoshop work on those pictures of Belle were REALLY bad.

Any that was part one, onto part two.

Episode 22: The Final Battle Part 2

Jennifer Morrison as Emma & Jared S. Gilmore as Henry picture image

Jennifer Morrison as Emma & Jared S. Gilmore as Henry

I will say, this the ending on one point for I guess that book of Once upon a Time. Next season it will focus on a new book with an adult Henry and his daughter, ye old gender swap plot.

So what happened? Well number one we learned that The Black Fairy’s true motivation for killing the savior and I guess the story realms were so that she could break the laws of magic, whatever those are, and have unchecked power. She baits Rumple with bring Baelfire back to life. She also tells him that she still has Gideon heart and that only he can kill Emma. Rumple them kills the Black Fairy thus breaking the curse. Rumple has committed both patricide and matricide. Anyway Rumple tries and do the right thing by getting Gideon’s heart to stop him but alas it doesn’t work.

So Emma and Gideon fight but she sort stops and lets him stab her which I guess works because she doesn’t die and Gideon gets a restart as a baby. This only works because Emma and Rumple did the right thing. I don’t know how this make sense. I guess Rumple was an anti-Emma this whole time and now he doe switching from be somewhat redeemed and being a power-hungry ass-face.

It all wraps up with everyone being super happy and Emma is Jesus. She is in the Jesus position in OUAT’s version of the Last Supper.

And we did get to see David’s dog again? Where has he been this whole time? Seriously show!

Season 6 was an unfocused mess as it has WAY too many plot threads. Oddly the finale made up for it a little as it was a nice throwback to the first season and did have a sense of what made the first season really good.

And then there is the cliffhanger for season 7 with only three of the cast members returning. The Trailer and a promo recently came out and it does seem weird but who knows I won’t lie and say i’m not a little curious. Maybe this series needs a Fresh Start.

 

LAST THREE SONGS!

Michael Arden as Quasimodo & Ciara Renée as Esmeralda during the finale, La Jolla Hunchack of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo & Ciara Renée as Esmeralda during the finale, La Jolla Hunchack of Notre Dame

While the City Sleeps – A bridge song. Maybe it a slight bitterness in my mood, I’m not perfect in some of criticisms but I really do not care for the choir singing near operatics with the nasal singing of the chorus or rather the congregation. That nasal tone is very musical and Broadway but it two styles that do not mesh well together.

As it is, it’s a bridge song getting the musical from Someday to Made of Stone. But styles of singing just didn’t work, the congregation is capable of singing not as nasally so I’m not sure why they did here.

Made of Stone – I don’t want to seem jaded, though to be fair I am but this version of Made of Stone is very much the same as the German version. Is that bad? No. I just can rave about this song as much. That being said it’s well done. Michael Arden gives great performance. He pulls off a good combination of anger and pathos that the song requires. Though in the stage show at least for the La Jolla performance, I wish he was just a little bit anger but it could have just been that show, that night.

I do think it’s weird that Quasimodo asks what his own mind know of him. Quasimodo is crazy. Also I don’t know if I get why the congregation take off their cowl things? I think something more akin to pulling hoods over their faces would have been better, like they lose the spark and individuality Quasimodo’s mind gave them. But what do I know about stage craft.

Though I still maintain I liked Made of Stone before Someday better. There was just more power there but they clearly wanted the the epic Latin music that the Disney movie had hence the switch.

Finale – OK, before I can even start with the song, I need to discuss this insanity of logic in the script. One of Esmeralda’s crime was stabbing Phoebus. No musical, I told you can not do that. I might have forgiven you if you let it alone but you bring it back? I know the book did it, it made sense (somewhat) in the book but you can’t do it here. Frollo sentenced Phoebus to die in public, then he stabs him, still in public though albeit in some confusion, then blames Esmeralda and THAT is one her crimes she is to die for? THE FUCK? I know you wanted to be like book more but you need to think about logically. There was enough to convict her, witchcraft was enough. Just so much NO here. And that was just one line.

Aside from that one line which seems like it shouldn’t matter but does, how is the Finale? This one is a bit of a roller coaster. There are parts I really like and other parts that I find meh to other parts that are just left me wondering if musical didn’t really getting the original  source material i.e the book.

Before I say what parts of the song that were good and which ones missed the mark, let’s just discuss the song sturture. It’s a frankenstein song as in it’s made up of other songs from the show. Like Made of Stone, Someday, On Top of the World, Esmeralda, Sanctuary, Out There and Bells of Notre Dame. This is the same case of the German version so it’s not a negative. they all work together.

So what parts did I like? I liked the song after Frollo died, in particular the congregation singing about the world to Frollo’s part of Out There. That part was lovely and so bittersweet, made me tear up a little bit. Also the lovely female Latin solo was quite nice. The ending is the best part of this song hands down.

The meh parts were the parts lifted from the Disney movie which is little sad since it’s the Sanctuary/ fight scene. It just didn’t translate that well to stage show. I can see why Notre Dame de Paris didn’t bother. Speaking of Notre Dame de Paris, Frollo has the same powers to suspend Sanctuary or rather negate, still same difference. I will say that the molten lead was cool in the stage show.

The part that leaves me questioning if the people in charge get the book was Frollo’s death. Though I will say I did like that response to Frollo saying “You don’t want to hurt me” and the congregation saying “Yes” in a creepy whipser, that I liked. Ok, so this part hurts my brain trying to figure it out. On the one hand Quaismodo throws Frollo off the building and he utters “There lies all that have ever loved.” But unlike the book where Quasimodo throws Frollo in a fit of rage for laughing at Esmeralda’s death here in this version he seems more intent on killing him, saying the wicked should not go unpunished. Quaismodo was quite murderous here. It just didn’t sit well with me. I get the whole scene was a call back to start of show when Frollo was singing the wicked shall not go unpunished but still.  Maybe if Frollo had been more crazy at this point and laughed. This version he so cool and calm that it just weird. Where is this guy’s crazy lust?  It’s not Frollo.

But hey at least like in the book everyone but Phoebus dies even if it’s super unclear that Quasimodo takes Esmeralda and lies down to die. If you don’t really think about things too much and just let this Finale wash over you, it’s great and very powerful at the end. Though I would note the riddle of what makes and Monster and what makes a man is technically the moral albeit vague. The ending for me was the best part of the finale.

Still more to say on the cast album.

Notre Dame de Paris 2012 English Asian Tour Cast Video of the Finale in Daegu, Korea with Tim Driesen  as Gringoire

This is the Ninth Part (or the last part) of my review on the music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Molten Lead Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Molten Lead Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Grand Finale or Ultimo Finale is the ending and occurs in two parts. The Finale is where the two most famous differences occurs; The death of Frollo by Quasimodo and the death of Esmeralda. Apparently the translator Michael Kunze campaigned to have Esmeralda die which makes it more like the book, though her death is by a different method. Kunze’s reasoning for this is that Esmeralda’s death would be viewed by European audiences as moving and more romantic of an ending. We’ll see how the American Broadway version handles this, though I kind of hope they keep the German ending.

Judy Weiss as Esmeralda with Frollo (Norbert Lamla) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture images

Judy Weiss as Esmeralda with Frollo (Norbert Lamla) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

The Final starts with Frollo pronouncing Esmeralda’s sentence then it goes into “song” portion. I  use  the word song in quotes because the Finale is a melody piece as it uses songs from throughout the show with one exception.  So it starts pretty much the same as the movie with Sanctuary playing complete with latin lyrics as Esmerlada starts being burned and Quasimodo saves her and proclaiming sanctuary. Then Phoebus starts railing the people of Paris  with the tune of Einmal (Once). Then the scene shifts back to Quasimodo who is defending Notre Dame from Frollo and his minions as he sings the tune of Wie aus Stein (Made of Stone).

Esmeralda dying  Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda dying Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

After he pours the led from Notre Dame Quasimodo checks in on Esmeralda who is dying. My guess is she dying of asphyxia which is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen in body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. In her case this occurred from the fire. Anyway Quasimodo and Esmeralda have  little conversation while Draußen (Outside) is played in the background. Esmeralda thanks Quasimodo for being her friend and then sings Hoch über der Welt (High above the World) and then the conversation  continues for a  couple more lines and then she dies. After she dies Frollo comes in and sings about how he happy to be free of her to the tune of Esmeralda but he sings this in a creepy, off balanced way. Quasimodo gets mad and the song shifts to a new melody with gargoyle singing with the latin choir. The gargoyle basically sing that God strikes the wicked, so the gargoyles, or aspects of Quasimodo’s own mind are telling him that he should kill Frollo, which he does by throwing Frollo off of Notre Dame, like in the book. I will point out that Quasimodo in the book does this in a fit of rage and here it’s a little more pre-mediated. After this the gargoyles sing  Zuflucht (Refuge) about how the world is both cruel and kind. Quasimodo then sings Draußen (Outside) and sings about how he must live out there with all the pain, sorrow and fear that world can bring. He the carries Esmeralda outside and is joined by Phoebus. The ensemble then sing Einmal with as Quasimodo disappears. Then Clopin in his narrator role sings Die Glocken Notre Dames (The Bells of Notre Dame) and it’s pretty akin to the reprise at the end of the movie.

Quasimodo carrying Esmeralda Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo carrying Esmeralda Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

It’s vague what happens to Quasimodo but given how he sings about living it is doubtful that Quasimodo goes off to die. Also considering the two deaths this pretty much same except for Quasimodo and Esmeralda epic running away scene, that’s not there either.

 

So both Musically and plot wise we have a lot going on. However it’s a fitting ending. All the songs used here fit well together so while it could have felt a bit all over the place the emotional intensity flows well from one into the next. So if you like all these song before you’ll like them here.

 

Next time – A conclusion  of the music

Esmeralda dancing Der Glöckner von Notre  Dame Picture Image

Esmeralda Dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame


For the most part Hunchback of Notre Dame has stunning animation and visuals, and isn’t that what Disney is know for… beside songs, and Princesses and Branding the Hell out their movies. Unfortunately Hunchback has one aspect of their visuals that hasn’t aged well; the CG crowds.

 

Topsy Turvy CG Crowds Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Topsy Turvy CG Crowds Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Topsy Turvy CG Crowds Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Topsy Turvy CG Crowds Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunchback of Notre Dame has had a history of big crowds scenes, they can be seen the the 1923 version, 1939 version and most of the other film versions have scene with a ton of people. So of course Disney had to this to and the opted for computer generate crowds that the could swap out clothing hair and other traits, it was a time saver. The crowds can be seen in Topsy Turvy, the climax and the ending. And My God they stick out against the film’s art style. There just not refined enough to blend in remote to the film. However it is possible to over look it.

Climax CG Crowds Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Climax CG Crowds Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Finale CG Crowds Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Finale CG Crowds Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

 

 

 

 

 

 

But still when the are notice they’re clunky, angular and not very pretty.  They actually bring the visuals down for me, perhaps I’m too harsh  but they look like the come from a cheap and boring video game about peasants who wear a lot of brown.

Beside the Crowds there is another aspect of the that Disney didn’t quite get right

Next Time – Notre Dame de Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame

Notre Dame of Paris Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Notre Dame of Paris Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame