Notre Dame of Paris Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Notre Dame of Paris Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

In Victor Hugo’s original book, Notre Dame is more than just a setting. Notre Dame was character and the whole of Quasimodo’s universe. Quasimodo’s existent was so much engrained in Notre Dame that Quasimodo was essentially its soul.

 

Frollo looking up at Notre Dame Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo looking up at Notre Dame Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda and Quasimodo looking over teh edge of Notre dame Disney Hunchabck of Notre Dame

Esmeralda and Quasimodo looking over teh edge of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disney’s representation of Notre Dame of Paris in very much in opposition to the book. In the Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s just a building and its’ role is more like a prison than a sanctuary. Frollo arranged baby Quasi to live in the bell tower where he can be “locked away where no one else can see.”  Quasimodo then dreams of getting out of Notre dame. Now in the book Quasimodo loved Notre Dame he didn’t want to leave it,  he loved it. Esmeralda also tells the Court of Miracles that Quasimodo “ helped her escape from the Cathedral”. Notre dame is pegged as something that has to be escaped because it’s a prison. Which is why it’s odd when Phoebus makes his speech about Frollo declaring war on Notre Dame. Frollo seems to be an agent working with Notre Dame to keep people in, so why do people want to defend it? I think it just Frollo-hate on the part of the Parisians, I mean he did burn the city. And when Quasimodo declares santaury for Esmeralda. The movie presents it as prison not sanctuary so why is it so great for Esmeralda to have sanctuary? Really, that climix is contrived when it you think about.

Molten Lead over Notre Dame Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Molten Lead over Notre Dame Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

My guess is original text had an attack of Notre Dame where Quasimodo defends it and Esmeralda from misidentified attackers and pours molten lead out the gutters and Disney really wanted to do that shot and that’s why they had to do it. But Notre Dame’s status in the story got lost among the 18 story writers.  That’s right, 18 people worked on the story, there are not even 18 characters. It’s a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen. I think ultimately that the 18 writer are to blame for all the differences to characters and to plot and for making an important point of the book the role of Notre Dame from sanctuary to prison.

Next Time – Disney and the other movies associated with Hunchback

Reverse King Kong Shot Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Reverse King Kong Shot Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Notre Dame of Paris Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Notre Dame of Paris Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

I had said in my 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame review on setting, that movies shouldn’t take too much from Notre Dame’s structure as it’s changed a lot from it’s state from the time the story takes place to when Victor Hugo wrote the book to when Disney created the film.

Frollo and Notre Dame Bells Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo stares at Notre Dame during the Bells of Notre Dame FDisney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Satellite Dish during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Satellite Dish during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Disney makes  Notre Dame much taller than it actually is. It’s a flaw but it not something to rage over. It’s just kind of laughable large. Another flaw that can be over looked is the all the exterior sculptures on the Cathedral are shown as plain, natural-colored stone. At the time the story is set, they were polychromatic – painted in colors. Again  it can be overlooked because Notre Dame current look is so iconic that it would have looked strange to audience to have colors associated with the exterior. I can also overlook the square in front of Notre Dame also that wouldn’t have been there in 1400 but you can forgive.

The aspects of the depiction that I have a hard time overlooking is the how the sanctuary is depicted. In the scheme of Hunchback cartoons and movies it’s very accurate, there are some terrible representations of Notre Dame but the way it’s set up in the film is problematic. The Sanctuary is show once in the film during “God Help the Outcast

 

Quasimodo watching to Esmeralda during God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo watching to Esmeralda during God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at Notre Dame’s set up and structure Notre Dame seems both bigger and smaller. Esmeralda strolls though the layout a a very leisurely pace yet the Cathedral seems more expansive than it is. She also isn’t impeded by the structure. At about at the 2:00 minute mark of the song, Esmeralda is seen walking in the side aisles and to her left there are columns. Then in the very next shot, Esmeralda is against a Fresco, with no columns in the shot. Which means Esmeralda needed to veer to another side of the column but she did not. So I guess the columns magically go away for a better shot. Also if her head in level with the fresco how tall is she? Because her height is really inconsistent and she’s bare foot and those Frescos are pretty high off the ground. Then this could be inconsistency. But do make the inside of the Church not in proper proportion.

Check out this website to see what I mean;

 http://www.fromparis.com/virtual-tour-notre-dame/ click around to get a visual tour of Notre Dame

Quasimodo during Out There with anachronism Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo during Out There with anachronism Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

So getting back to what I said at the beginning of this about being careful not to copy Notre Dame in it current state to much is that after Victor Hugo wrote Notre Dame de Paris, the cathedral when though a massive changes. The statues that can be seen in Out There towards the end when Quasimodo talks “Ordinary Men” where add after the novel was written in 1831. Those statues are 12 apostles that adorned the spire. I don’t think I would mind this but Quasimodo motions to the statues as an examples of “ordinary men” The 12 Apostles are ordinary men Disney? Really? The fact the Disney used the statues as more than just Background but a visual aid is where I find fault.

Next Time – Major Differences between Disney and the Book

Quasimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney picture image

Quasimodo's Reveal Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Quasimodo Illustrtion Francois flameng

Illustration of Quasimodo

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

It’s time for Fanart, this piece is by AmbrMerlinus. And it’s a pun and I love puns!

And remember if you want me to feature your Hunchback of Notre Dame related fan art

Next up the Villain: Frollo

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Judge Claude Frollo

Frollo is Quasimodo’s counterpoint and the Villain of the movie. Frollo is a bit different from other Disney villains. Many of the villains are trying to get more power (Ursula, Jafar, Scar etc), Frollo already has Power, he is the High Justice of Paris. His motivation keeping control and he is fueled by hate. He thinks he’s better than everyone else from a moral stand point and if he judges it as amoral than he thinks he is in the right, from killing an innocent women, to trying to kill a baby, burning Paris or attempted genocide.

 

Disney Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Judge Claude Frollo

Disney villains generally have two looks to them, elegant and slim or fat yet still elegant. Frollo is of the elegant, slim and tall variety. Looking at the concept art you can see parallels between Disney’s Frollo and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. He dresses like noble but

Concept Art for Frollo disney Hunchabck of notre dame picture image

Concept Art for Frollo

we’re given no back story other than his relationship with Quasimodo so we have no where he comes from. In the musical Der Glökner von Notre Dame ( German musical by Alan Menkan based on the Disney movie) Frollo was a priest prior to becoming the high Justice, which makes  his pious-bent makes a little more sense, but you don’t go from a priest to High Justice. At least in 1939 version his piousness was the result of having a Brother who was the Archdeacon. With Disney Frollo there is no hint or reason given for a morally-corrupt pious Judge. You can make guesses as to  what the reason is for Frollo’s behavior but Disney films have never been a venue for giving out much character development of their villains. Character Development might prompt sympathy. My Guess would be being pious and acting moral helps Frollo maintain his hold over the Parisians.

 

Frollo and Quasimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo and Qausimodo

Frollo is very conniving and manipulative. He raises Quasimodo out of guilt for killing Quasimodo’s mother in front of Notre Dame  but he keeps him locked away in Notre Dame. I can’t quite figure out his logic for keeping Quasimodo in Notre Dame (other than the almighty plot and source material told him to), I mean Frollo lives in a jail. Anyway Frollo also raises Quasimodo with the hope that Quasimodo will be useful to him in some capacity. It’s hard to know if Frollo actually likes Quasimodo or he simply likes the dynamics of their Master/slave:Father/son relationship. My guess is Frollo all about Power and keeping power and Quasimodo serves as a consistent reminder of his hold over Paris and when Quasimodo proved too willful for him he tried to kill him.

Frollo and Quasimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo trying to control Quasimodo

Frollo and Quasimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo trying to kill Quasimodo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Esmeralda Disney red dress costume picture image

Esmeralda giving Frollo a Kiss

In direct opposition to Frollo’s control is Esmeralda. Esmeralda is everything that Frollo hates, she’s a free-spirited Gypsy who dances and lives outside the social order that he controls.  Frollo first notices her when she danced a very sensual dance and kissed him on the nose. The dance, while getting his attention wasn’t the factor to make him obsessives towards her, it was her defying him in support of Quasimodo who was being tortured by the crowd. Esmeralda uses some parlor tricks that Frollo misconstrues as witchcraft (another of Frollo’s turn off) and after a merry chase she gives him the slip

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame groping Esmeralda picture image

Frollo groping Esmeralda

and  goes into Notre Dame. Frollo’s obsession for her intensify to the point where he has to over come her, at this point by arresting her. Frollo tries to arrest her in Notre Dame but due sanctuary, she is protected. It’s at this point Frollo loses control and gropes her, and sniffs her hair, and thus the lust begins.  As he can’t arrest her, he blocks her in Notre Dame stationing guards at every door of the cathedral. Frollo then sings about how his losing control is the fault  of Esmeralda and not his (Hellfire). At this point arresting Esmeralda is not enough, he needs to be in possession of her or she mustn’t exists.  It’s

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Hellfire picture image

Frollo and an illusion of Esmeralda during Hellfire

during this song where he  learns that once again that Esmeralda has given him the slip.  Frollo then goes on a spree of burning Paris, trying to bribe other Gypsies for Esmeralda’s whereabouts and then arresting them for not being helpful.  Frollo  manipulates Quasimodo to learn the

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame with Esmeralda picture image

Frollo’s ultimatum to Esmeralda

location of the Court of Miracles. This is where Esmeralda is when Frollo attacks and arrests everyone there. As Esmeralda is tied to the stake and about to be burn, Frollo gives Esmeralda his final ultimatum, (him or Flame). Ultimately, like all Disney  movies there is a climax that ends with the villain’s death, like many Disney movies, Frollo is not killed or subdue by the hero, he’s actually about to kill Esmeralda and Quasimodo but the gargoyle he is standing on breaks and Frollo falls to his death. So the real hero of the story is Notre Dame.

Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame death picture  image

Frollo’s Death

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Hellfire picture image

Frollo singing Hellfire

So in the history Disney of Villains, Frollo is one of the favorite. Nostalgia Critic and Nostalgia Chick from the immensely popular website Thatguywiththeglasses.com, ranked Frollo as one of the best villains after The Chernabog from Fanastia and Mola Ram from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, respectively. As far as Disney Villains go, he’s guilty of some of the most heinous acts. Within the first two minutes of his introduction, he kills

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Kicking Quasimodo's mother Disney picture image

Frollo killing Quasimodo’s Mother

a women and tries to kill a baby, he shows no remorse for

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Well Disney picture image

Frollo attempting to drown baby Quasimodo

these acts, in fact he justifies them; the women ran, he just followed (he must have thought the kick was an act of God) and he justifies almost killing a baby because it’s ugly (ok he thinks it’s a monster, hey Frollo you’re no great beauty either).  What makes Frollo more compelling as a Villain is his control and power and the fact that he thinks he both righteous and pure.

Next Time – Esmeralda
Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame red dress costume picture image

Esmeralda

So last time we looked at the Disney characters on a board level, now lets look at them on a deeper level.

Let’s start with the titular character: Quasimodo!

Quasimodo  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo’s Reveal

 

Quasimodo may be told he is ugly and monstrous but if we compare him to his book counterpart, he is on the cute side of the monster spectrum. He’s a hunchback and he is shorter than most of the other characters, but that’ not enough to make him an isolated monster.  He has the over-the-eye  protrusion that Hugo described but it does not impair his’ vision to the point of being a cyclopes. Instead Quasimodo has big, friendly doe eyes. He has a red full head of head hair and wears a green tunic. Two of the more uglier factors  are his  big stub nose and his  teeth  (large teeth in the front of his mouth).

 

Quasimodo singing "Out There"  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo singing “Out There”

Unlike Hugo’s version, Quasimodo is not deaf, he sings and talks a lot but it being a musical it would have been a challenge for the directors to have a deaf hero who has to sing (Disney movie from the 90s, heros must sing), so it understandable why Quasimodo is not deaf.

 

 

Quasimodo’s personality in the Disney movie is completely different from the book. In the book Quasimodo is morose and angry. At the beginning of the book he only loves Notre Dame, the bells, and Frollo. He’s not interested  in being among the normal people of Paris nor is he forbidden from going out among them.  Disney’s Quasimodo is forbidden from going outside and all he wants is to spend one day of his life among the normal people.

Quasimodo gazing at Esmeralda  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo gazing at Esmeralda

As the story progresses he falls in love with Esmeralda. In the Book, he falls in love with her after she shows a little kinds and pity by giving him water when he is on the pillory for trying to kidnap her because Frollo ordered him. That simple act was what did it for him, not her dancing or her looks. In Disney again Esmeralda shows him kindness but when he first meets her, she was kind to him and complimented his ugly mask (really his face) and Quasimodo likes the positive attention. He see her dance and he likes it.

Quasimodo and Esmeralda on the pillory  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  image picture

Quasimodo and Esmeralda on the pillory

When Quasimodo is being tortured by the crowd at the  Festival of Fools, she does save him but he was already interested in her, but I guess maybe that sealed his “love for her”.  The Disney Quasimodo’s love is more manifested as a school boy crush than a deep connection and I don’t believe he would crawl into vault and to die next to her rather than live without her.

 

 

Quasimodo's figurines Esmeralda from "Heaven's Light"  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo’s figurines from “Heaven’s Light”

Quasimodo declares Sanctuary for Esmeralda  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo declares Sanctuary for Esmeralda

It’s sweet that he believes that she could love him whereas in the book Quasimodo doesn’t believe it, even if he wishes he could. Quasimodo is mostly depicted as kind and gentle.  He gets depressed but it never lasts too long. He’s also loyal which I think is the biggest similarity to Hugo’s original character.

 

Frollo and Quasimdo   Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Frollo and Quasimodo

Quasimodo is a dynamic character. He changes though the course of the movie, mainly in his attitude towards Frollo. At beginning he is nervous around Frollo even though he believes Frollo to be his defender. His nervousness around Frollo stems from Frollo’s abuse towards him. Frollo calls him ugly repeatedly and a  monster. When Frollo comes to visits him, Frollo gets a silver goblet and plate while Quasimodo get a wooden goblet and plate. Frollo keeps him locked up in bell tower of Notre Dame while Frollo dwells elsewhere, you’d think the Palace of Justice would be a better place to lock one up forever, it being a jail instead a public building. I would like to point out in the book,

Frollo and Quaismodo  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Frollo and Quaismodo

Frollo keeping Quasimodo at Notre Dame made sense as Frollo himself lived in the cloister as he was a priest, Quasimodo didn’t move to the Bell Tower till he was 14 years old. He moved there to be the bell-ringer because he loved the bells, not as punishment for his deformity or as method for absolution for Frollo. Quasimodo calls Frollo master but Frollo insists that he raised Quasimodo as his son. Quasimodo would probably be fairly well adjusted if it wasn’t for Frollo.  Quasimodo then disobeys Frollo and goes to the Festival of Fools to fulfill his dream.  He continues to disobey Frollo as he gains real human interacts with Esmeralda and Phoebus.  At the end he stands up against Frollo and learns that people like Frollo are the cause for all the hate in world and once Frollo is dead he is finally accepted by the people.

Quasimodo accepted by the people   Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo accepted by the people

Despite being in the Disney mold of hero/dreamer, Quasimodo is good character, he appeals the outsider in all of us. The film is good achiving  it’s overall theme though Quasimodo despite being thrust upon the audience, but at least he is likable and grows as character.

Next time we’ll look at Frollo.

Judge Claude Frollo  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Judge Claude Frollo

 

Quasimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Quasimodo’s Reveal Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

The plot of the Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame is a water-down and condense version of Hugo’s novel and the 1939 version. Because the film is for children the film couldn’t follow it 100% or even 75% so watering it down  is understandable. To the film’s credit it did opt for a darker tone than most Disney movies especially where Frollo is concerned. And for the record there are worse children adaptions and as it stands, it is the best among the Hunchback for kids movies.

 

Victor, Hugo and Laverne singing A Guy like you Disney Hunchback of Notre dame

Victor, Hugo and Laverne singing A Guy like you Disney Hunchback of Notre dame

So the plot is stripe down to it barest essentials with a lens on Quasimodo and add-ons from the 1939 version. They added a moral,  eliminated some characters (Gringoire, Jehan, Louis, Sister Gudule (who is hardly ever mention in the adaptations) and added some characters (The gargoyles).

 

 

 

 

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame Dancing

The basic plot is really about a cute girl and the guys that  “love” her and where these men take that love  into their psyches. That’s Hugo’s book at it’s most basic level, the problem is that since this book  was published in English the focus has been take off Esmeralda (Notre Dame de Paris) and went to Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). And to make it worse, two of the most famous “Hunchback” movies from the golden age of cinema, were vehicles for leading man playing Quasimodo. So the movies really do think that Quasimodo has to be the focus of the film and Disney really bought into this mentally (listen to DVD commentary).

 

Frollo and Quasimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Frollo and Qausimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

So the Disney plot lies in the moral that Quasimodo inspires, sure he ugly as all hell but he’s beautiful on the inside, and that’s what the plot is trying to teach, don’t judge people. A corrupt, yet pious Judge can still be a an evil jerk. Of course, this moral is as subtle as a ton bricks and the scenes can never shift away from Quasimodo for too long unless it’s a counterpoint to how great he is, and that would be how terrible Frollo is. So Frollo can gets just as many songs and srceen time as Quasimodo. This is why you’ll only see one scene without either Frollo or Quasimodo, which is Phoebus and Esmeralda’s introduction, you could count their time in Notre Dame but Frollo is technically in that scene and since there no cut in locations Quasimodo is there too . That scene of Esmeralda in Notre Dame speaking with Phoebus, getting grope by Frollo, and singing God help the Outcast ends with her following Quasimodo to the bell tower, so it doesn’t really count. So there is only one scene without Quasimodo or Frollo. The plot lives and dies on Frollo and Quasimodo and so the film’s moral is ALSO being referenced during the film’s duration. Even the songs act a method to reference the moral. All of Quasimodo and Frollo’s song are linked by this man vs monster prespective.  Clopin is the only character who gets some songs with any levity.

Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Phoebus, Quasimodo, Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus, Quasimodo, Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

So how was the plot of Disney’s Hunchback? Despite the film’s tunnel view of not giving a character that isn’t Quasimodo or Frollo 5 minutes of screen time. the film’s plot does well. It keeps the overall feeling of the story and makes it kid friendly and that was Disney’s angle and yet gives it a darker edge which help roots the film in Hugo’s book. But the book and the Disney’s version are character driven and not as plot driven so next time let look at the Disney version of Hugo’s characters.

 

Next time – a brief look at the Characters of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame