Esmeralda from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image
Esmeralda from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame

I have been obsessed lately with Jenny Nicholson’s video on Pandora- The World of Avatar at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. Also she drops a Hunchback reference, so if you haven’t seen that video, go see it. I have seen it multiple times and it’s and it’s like an hour long and I have no attention span.

In Jenny’s video she talks about the history of Animal Kingdom and how there was supposed to a medieval fantasy section called Beastly Kingdom as the concept of the park was explore animals of the present, past and myth but they ran out of money and went for the Dinosaur part. Long story short, after Disney lost out on Harry Potter to Universal, the management of Disney went for another cultural significant movie franchise experience that was insanely immersive, so they went with Avatar, not the Airbender one, the Dances with Wolves in space.

Unlike Harry Potter or Star Wars, the buzz and staying power of Avatar haven’t held up over time so it’s odd that Disney just went for this concept but the land looks really cool and does speak to the fantasy element and conservation angle. But it also of speaks to Disney’s influencing power. It maybe a generalization but kids haven’t seen the movie, it was rated PG-13, came out nearly a decade ago and is really only good in an imax setting but Disney went for it and kids can now adopt Banshee puppets for $65 dollars a pop, $90 if you include the perch. FYI I think the Banshee puppets are cute.

It really fascinates me that Disney pushed so hard on this project and yet a lot of their own properties get ignored within the parks, like Hunchback. So I have been on a slight deep drive into Disney parks, learning what I can about them, mostly via Youtube videos since I have no plans as right now to go to any of the parks.

First let’s talk about the Characters, the Face characters, though I guess Frollo and Quasimodo are not technically Face Characters but all I mean is characters that you meet. The Question is can you even see/meet/greet any of Hunchback Characters at any of the Disney parks worldwide?

According to  Fill my Passport, you can but not a Disney Land or Disney World. This information is a bit old as it’s from 2017.

According to Fill my Passport Quasimodo makes extremely  rare appearance at Disneyland Paris. Esmeralda can often see at Tokyo Disney and once in a while at Disneyland Paris. Frollo can be see at Halloween at Tokyo Disney. He used at appear at Disney USA parks during Halloween but not so much now. Clopin can be see at Disneyland Paris. And Phoebus doesn’t show up anymore. Fill my Passport as talks about other rare Disney characters in the Disney park so do check out that blog.

However videos from a year ago show a rare meet and greet with Esmeralda and Clopin. It seemed to have occurred at DVC Moonlight Magic Special Event during after hours in the Magic Kingdom, in early 2018.


Here is a meet and greet with Phoebus from 3 years ago at the France pavilion at Epcot.

Hunchback characters meet and greets seem to be extremely rare these days so if you see a hunchback character walking around try to see them, if you like that experience.

Clairemarie Osta as Esmeralda & Karl Paquette as Phoebus, Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Clairemarie Osta as Esmeralda & Karl Paquette as Phoebus, Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris

Phoebus is an interesting character as he whatever a given version needs him to be. He can be a good guy, bad guy, romantic lead, asshole, just sort of there, or non-existent. 

In Petit’s ballet he is the Captain of the Guard, saves Esmeralda, seduces her, tries to sleep with her, gets stabbed and dies. He’s basically by the book except he doesn’t have a fiancée and dies. Given that much he is akin to the 1939 version of Phoebus. He’s a horny captain who dies, The End.   

Although the ballet does go out of it way to showcase Phoebus’ attentions on other women who appear to be prostitutes or at least tavern wenches or maybe just whores so either Phoebus has a bad seduction game or he is a massive slut. I would say he is a slut.

Given that his function is to add to the tragedy of Esmeralda and torture for Frollo, he doesn’t need to have a deeper character.  He does what he needs for the purposes of the ballet’s narrative.

Hetty Baynes as Fleur de Lys 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Hetty Baynes as Fleur de Lys

Fleur de Lys’s most interesting function in Hunchback is to act of Esmeralda’s foil. If Esmeralda is dreamy and romantic towards Phoebus then Fleur de Lys  has knowledge of his tendencies for wantonness.

 

Hetty Baynes as Fleur de Lys & Richard Morant as Phoebus de Chateaupers 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Hetty Baynes as Fleur de Lys & Richard Morant as Phoebus de Chateaupers

In this version’s case the Esmeralda is earthy yet childish. Many people call her “girl” and Phoebus calls her “child.”  So this Fleur de Lys is prim and for lack of a better word, an unfeeling bitch.  She also seems very sexually overt, like she always ready for Phoebus.  It just makes her more interesting than a straight depiction of the character.

 

Hetty Baynes as Fleur de Lys 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Hetty Baynes as Fleur de Lys

I want to mention really quickly that the juxtaposition between Fleur de Lys and Esmeralda leads to a really great edit, and this many be the only time I mention the editing in this version because there is not much to discuss.

As Esmeralda torture is going on the movie cuts to Fleur de Lys and Phoebus. Phoebus is feeding her grapes. This is symbolic of pleasure.  Fleur de Lys’ mother enters the scene and tells Phoebus his name has been brought up in a witchcraft case. Fleur de Lys questions how can that be and  he makes an excuse saying it was nothing. He then rests his hands near Fleur de Lys’ mouth and she bites his fingers. It then cuts to Esmeralda screaming as she being torture. Esmeralda’s  scream starts over the Fleur de Lys’ scene before it cuts away, or a sound bridge.

 

Hetty Baynes as Fleur de Lys 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Hetty Baynes as Fleur de Lys

Fleur de Lys is one of the few highlights of this version. Her bitchiness is just so refreshing in an otherwise soulless adaptation.   


Richard Morant as Phoebus de Chateaupers 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Richard Morant as Phoebus de Chateaupers

Ultimately, there is not that much to say about this version’s treatment of Phoebus. He is book-accurate. He’s a soldier and a slut, that’s it for his characterization. He makes it clear he’s only marrying Fleur de Lys for her money though they are well suited for each our but that could just be the actor’s chemistry.  

That’s really all there is to say on this version of Phoebus.


Sorry for yet another video, personal life and stuff.

Just a few reactions of this video;
– I really do want to analyze Fleur-de-Lys’ costume. I haven’t sat down and REALLY thought about but I’m not sure how to feel about. Of course the costume I REALLY want to discuss is Frollo’s, I have some words for that one.

– I really like this Fleur-de-Lys, she has a lovely clear voice that is the perfect tonal foil to Tawaji’s voice,  Alyzée Lalande gets a solid A from me.

– Not sold on Martin Giroux as  Phoebus. Granted I haven’t gone through this cast with a fine tooth comb to really assess their performances but he just seems from this vid to be on the generic side. To be fair few Phoebus performer stand out so it could be the role.

Esmeralda Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda

I feel like I’m in some weird ring of hell. A Ring of Hell where my sole torture is rewatching this version of Hunchback. I can’t tell you in how many ways I just loathe this version and it’s not even in a logical, it’s visceral, it strikes me down to my core. I hate everything about this version and it hurts my soul in so many ways that I’m not sure I can quantify anymore why it’s a puke stain on the already dirty carpet of Hunchback version aimed at children. I think the main reason I can’t articulate why it’s terrible is because it has the same problems as every other  Disney knock-off versions, at this point it’s a case of “second verse same of the first.”  Everything is just the worst but you came here to read something that in some way resembles a review or you just click on a picture or you’re lost and have already clicked away but whatever the case the subject line has spoken and it’s not even trying to be clickbait so let’s get this over with.

Esmeralda and Quasimodo, Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996 picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo,

As is standard with these knock-off Disney direct to video movies the animation super low budget. The use of repeat animation for extras to pad out the run time is beyond annoying and I might not have minded it so much if the movie didn’t start that way. It takes nearly three minutes to get to Esmeralda awkwardly dancing about, three minutes of just nothing but random town’s people laughing and clapping on repeat.  In addition to animation being stilled, awkward and mostly on repeat  most of the shots are at flat angles.  There is nothing interesting or memorable about the way the shots are composed to even hold a remote sense of attention.

 

Frollo Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

But again I’m not done, though I wish I was, this will never end. There is the color design of this thing. If you think I was joking about calling this movie being like puke you were wrong. The color this movie most likes to use is a weird dark yellow color that resembles vomit. They also use a  green that looks like another shade of puke. I’m not kidding this movie has an ugly and all-round unpleasant color palette. If they were trying I guess they were trying to make it warm but they failed, they failed hard.

Esmeralda meets Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda meets Phoebus

Then there is the character design. Can you believe I didn’t really touch in the character designs yet? Both Phoebus and Esmeralda are drawn to be the prettiest that the shitty animation will allow. This of course gives them no visual interest so being “beautiful” by this movie’s standard is a mute point. Though the best line in this movie is Frollo describing Esmeralda’s eyes as “shining brighter than the most beautiful stars in the night sky.”  Too bad they don’t.

Quasimodo Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo with his doves

Quasimodo is your typical cute, nice, deformed design that you see over and over again. He is very bulbous and round making him “cute.” Which is like standard in character design round is good and angles are bad.

Frollo Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

Speaking of angles there is Frollo. And he is yet another case of “second verse same as the first. Agian he looks like a mix of Disney Gaston and Jafar. Why? Who are they even coping at this point? This  is like the third Frollo to look like this? He doesn’t look like either Disney Frollo or the 1939 version.  Is this a case of parallel thought between three stupid Disney Knock-off versions, where they combined  two popular Disney villains or did this version copy Secret of the Hunchback of Enchanted Tales? Both options scream laziness.  Though to be fair this version did take Frollo’s design beyond merely combining Gaston and Jafar and instead cross that combination with a fish.   

             

Esmeralda Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda

This version is just entirely forgettable with its abysmal animation, boring flat angles, cringe-inducing color palette and lazy character design.  The only thing I can recall about this movie is how forgettable this version is and that is why I have to rewatch it thus prolonging the torture of the ring of hell I now occupy.

Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus

As par for the course with this unholy shit of a Hunchback version, Phoebus is just boring and nice.  This does set him apart from the 1939 version where Phoebus was slut who wanted to bone Esmeralda before Frollo actually killed him.  Alas, the only traits of Phoebus that this version has is his looks and his occupation. If you want to get a little more technical, this Phoebus does meet Esmeralda at a party like in the 1923 version but that scene was just get Esmeralda arrested.

Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus with La Petition

Phoebus in this version is a combination of Phoebus and Gringoire. It’s a bit like the Disney version but far less subtle. Phoebus basically takes Gringoire’s role from the 1939 version where he makes a pamphlet thing to free her. This only makes sense in the simplification of the story and character as  the movie gives no reason or logic as to why a rich soldier would come to this method of political defiance.  Was he  modern in his thinking?  If he is, the movie gives no examples of it like in a line of dialogue or some action. He tries to arrange an appeal and that it till he is shown leaving the print shop with the pamphlet/leaflet thing.  They couldn’t even have had a scene of him writing it because the movie needed a scene of Quasimodo shouting “No”  awkwardly. Nope becomes from having a plan to having it printed along with a long petition with signatures. How much time took place? No sense in asking for logic now.

Esmeralda meets Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda meets Phoebus

Basically this version of Phoebus could have been slightly interesting in that it would have been a scholarly Phoebus but the intent of Phoebus  was expedience for lazy narrative, nothing more.

He also speaks with a fake French accent.

Justin Bieber picture image

Justin Bieber

Last week Ariana Grande as Esmeralda was the Anti-Hypothectical casting pick but let’s keep that scry casting for Notre Dame de Paris or a general musical movie going for Phoebus with Justin Bieber. This suggestion came from Haylley and it was too scary.  Posting pictures of this guy is causing me to gag.

Justin Bieber is a shit. He started as a punchable teen ideal with high pitched voice singing about Shawty and what not. Then he turned into more of a shit with a string of DUIs and egging his neighbor’s house.  Now he makes songs about douchey apologies and being confused about mixed-signals that seem to be meta in intent. You can probably figure I’m not a fan but the question is  how would  he be for the role of Phoebus?

Justin Bieber picture image

Justin Bieber

Let’s start with Phoebus as he is in Notre Dame de Paris, a womanizing smug-ass douche. On paper Justin Bieber could work as a personality. But the idea of his vocals singing Dechire/Torn Apart or Belle  fills me with absolute dread. Just so many noes.

Justin Bieber picture image

Justin Bieber

How about Disney Phoebus?  If we go off of the stage musical where Phoebus actually sings despite that the Disney movie had Kevin Kline who is a fantastic singer then again Bieber fits Phoebus’ character at the start of the show but I doubt he could pull off Phoebus’ character arc as Bieber is not an actor. Also again Bieber near any Hunchback production turns my blood ice cold.

Justin Bieber picture image

Justin Bieber

No to this one, a billion noes. There is nothing even slightly good about this idea, it too horrific for words. Even writing about it is causing me to break out in goosebumps, a cold sweat, and sinking feeling in my stomach.

 

Before you can understand the pain of the other Burbank version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you need to experience the pain. So you can either suffer through the forty some odd minutes of hell or just read this plot summary.   I’m sure more thought and effort were used to write this post than went into making the movie.

Frollo Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

The story starts mind-numbingly on Year’s Eve 1599, a mere 117 later than the book for no real reason. Actually I got ahead of my self the movie actually starts with a wizard introducing this “wizard’s tale.” I can’t fathom what was being smoked at the studio when that idea was proposed and then accepted.

So, everything is going great in France as fake accent French people stroll about and pad out the 40+ minute runtime with weird animation and laugher.  Esmeralda is shown awkwardly twirling around when she approaches Frollo. Frollo rejects giving her money for her dancing by putting up his palms. On his palms is a birthmark which scares Esmeralda as she says it’s “the mark of evil.”  You know kind of what Esmeralda said in the 1939 version but instead of being something in lines of his hand it’s a big purple evil face, have fun with that and remember to put that on his hand animation team. Anyway Esmeralda walks off and Frollo doesn’t seem to like her.

Quasimodo crowned King of Clowns Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo crowned King of Clowns

Cut to Frollo chilling with King Henry IV, and to the version’s credit they got the proper monarch of France correct just not the correct year of the actual book, I mean to be fair it’s not like the first paragraph of the book or anything, it’s in the second, it’s very hard to miss… Moving on Frollo tells the king that he think Esmeralda is evil and Henry tells him to stop being narrow-minded and muses the Frollo probably still thinks the earth is still flat, which Frollo says it is. Hmm, this is reminding me a lot of the 1939 version…. Henry then gives Esmeralda a coin  just like in the 1939 version, hmm I’m saying that a lot, WEIRD!

Esmeralda then spots an eye looking at her, you know like another version, I’m noticing a bit of a pattern here. Anyway it’s Quasimodo and his dove friends, Quasimodo have doves that follow him around, at least it’s original. The town people chase after Quasimodo and make him dance for their amusement and then name him Kind of the Clowns and for some reason the crown of “King of Clowns” is not a jester hat but a wreath of laurels. WHY?   Frollo then reveals that he is the guardian of Quasimodo and how dare Quasimodo make a fool of Frollo in public again Again? What was the first time?. Less than ten minutes in and I’m so numb, hypothermia take me away.

Esmeralda the tries to go to the King to ask him for help for her people but the guard wants to arrest her because she is a gypsy and she runs away to Notre Dame. The Priest saves her and takes her in and introduces himself as Padre Jean-Paul. Why Spanish? I don’t get that, someone fill me in on why a Priest at Notre Dame de Paris would call him self “Padre?”  Cut to Frollo talking to some important looking guy demanding Quasimodo be whipped for going out in public, to which the important looking guy says no. Then it’s happy New Year and they have fireworks amidst tons of repeat animation and then everyone just leave because who parties all night for a new century, it’s bedtime.

Esmeralda meets Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda meets Phoebus

Padre Jean-Paul then teaches Esmeralda how to pray because the 1939 version did it.  However Frollo comes in and yells that she can’t pray and then says she a witch who steals men’s heart and drives them mad. Literally it’s been two hours since Frollo first saw Esmeralda and he is already obsessed with destroying her. This Frollo makes book Frollo sane.  Esmeralda then goes upstairs and sees Quasimodo and takes off running. Quasimodo pursues her because he want her to know he is her friend. Phoebus then saves Esmeralda and sends Quasimodo to the Bastille. Phoebus and Esmeralda share a moment, he is not a smug jerk in this version.

Just like in the 1939 version, Frollo orders all the Gypsy women by round up so he can find Esmeralda but she gives the guards the slip. Meanwhile, Quasimodo is found guilty and Frollo makes a plea that Esmeralda is a witch and should be punished. Quasimodo is in the stocks begging for water. While that is happening Padre Jean-Paul explains to Esmeralda that Quasimodo is the nicest person and wouldn’t have hurt her. Esmeralda then gives him water but runs off as a guard approaches.

Frollo tries to cover Esmeralda's face Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo tries to cover Esmeralda’s face

The King holds a masked party and Esmeralda shows up to dance to see Phoebus, even though there is a warrant out for her and she knows it. Phoebus and Esmeralda dance and confess their love for each other but then Frollo ruins the party by arresting her.

At her trail she declared a menace to society because she just so darn pretty that poor men just can help themselves with her around and sentence her to death.While is jail, Phoebus tells he is trying to arrange an appeal for her but he also has a plan to save her which is the same plan that Gringoire used in the 1939 version which was printing pamphlets.  However the night before her execution Quasimodo breaks her out of jail with the help of his dove pals.  As Esmeralda and Quasimodo seek into Notre Dame, Frollo confesses to Padre Jean-Paul that Esmeralda is not a witch and he is in love with her and the padre says he can’t forgive Frollo if he does come clean. Frollo then finds out that she has escaped with Quasimodo help.

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus

Now it’s the seventh of January, seven days! All this in seven days? Anyway Phoebus is getting the people on Esmeralda’s side and now know that she escaped jail. Phoebus, the Padre and Frollo all gather at the King’s to discuss Esmeralda. The Kings likes Phoebus’ approach but admits her can’t do anything without evidence. The Padre says Esmeralda is falsely accused then guilts Frollo to admit his lies which he does and the king pardons her. Frollo then rushes to Notre Dame to kill her. Frollo awkwardly attacks Quasimodo and then Quasimodo uses the bells to knock Frollo down the bell tower. Esmeralda and Phoebus reunite, people cheer, End of movie.

 

 

 

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus Hunchback of Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus

On the whole, I like the costumes. There is a lot of good textures and colors that match the spirit of the Disney movie but elevates them to the stage. In particular, I really like  Esmeralda’s main costume and Phoebus’ costume. While I don’t they are accurate to the actual historical times they don’t really have to be. Though I did look up Burgundian fashion/armor and Phoebus might not be too far off, but really it does matter. Esmeralda has a very good re-imaginaing of her Disney look. I find it a bit curious that her hip scarf is devore, which is a velvet that have treated so that fibers are burned away resulting in a pretty pattern. Kind of like this. I find it curious because I have longed suspected that Esmeralda’s original Notre Dame de Paris costume was done with a similar technique so is it an homage or coincidence? I think it’s a coincidence but I like to think it’s an homage.

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Her other costumes  are fine too, though I get shade of Ariel’s seashell bra with her red dress in the bodice. Not a criticism, it just something I noticed.

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills Hunchback of Notre Dame, Picture image

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills

However there are aspects of the costume and make-up are I find to be lacking.

Let’s start with Frollo. Poor Frollo, I have not been kind to this version of him. First off Frollo gets like two costume changes.  The black outfit he wears at the start before he takes his vows and during the curtain call. His other costume is his vestments which is his principle costume. He does also wear a black cloak when he goes to the bar. There isn’t so much as issue with his costume as  does fit with his character and profession but they could have done more. His vestment is white with a black stole with a red lining and that is fine but they should made different stoles that cover more of the pure white robe as he  falls deeper into lust because his lust was hardly ever communicated in his acting. Frollo is so cool in this version with minor bits of it here and there because the songs had the lines in the lyrics. Making his costume get a blacker as the show went on would have been a great little visual clue to his psyche as his lust consumes him.

 

Michael Arden as Quasimodo performing Made of Stone Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo performing Made of Stone

 

Kind of a similar issue I had with costumes functioning oddly  was the congregation removing their cowls during Made of Stone. The idea was that that they were aspects of Quasimodo’s mind as well as personified in stone but because they actors  are both the statues and people as other points in the show, taking off the cowl reads more of a costume change and they are going for the stones that are Quasmodo imaginary friends to regular towns people. I would have had them pull up the hoods of the cowls to hid their face i.e. losing the humanity Quasimodo gave them and fading into the darkness as soulless statues of stone. Not throwing off the cowl entirely.     (sorry for the bad picture)

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hey speaking of Quasimodo, his make-up. I have so many issues with his make-up. I get what they were doing, they wanted to drive the point of what makes a monster and what makes a man by having the actor literally transform into Quasimodo on stage. This is a gimmick and it serves to make it seem like the audience wouldn’t get the point and ultimetly making the Disney movie more mature and taking it audience more seriously.

Also this is not a great transformation, the actor applies like two lines of face paint to his face and that is his facial deformity. Honesty, I don’t have a issue with making the make-up minimal and having the actor do more of the work to convey Quasimodo’s deformity, that is what Notre Dame de Paris did and they had a much more minimal of a  style and they still be more lines on Quasimodo’s face, making that make-up more elaborate. Also it’s not super impressive from a stagecraft perceptive to have a grand set and lines for make-up for a character that is supposed to have facial deformity. Maybe had they added a little bit more to that real time transformation, like an eye protusion prothetic it would have been a little more impressive.  Der Glockner’s make-up wasn’t anything amazing and yet it looks like the Phantom of the Opera comparatively but that wasn’t the point they wanted to be minimal, (or save on the make-up budget.)

The issue of “minimalism” is something that will get discussed in the  next post but it seems like there is a solid disconnect of the make-up, the costumes and the sets. For the most part the sets and the costume go together fine. They are not what would considered overly grand and elaborate  but they  richly colored and textured but the make-up is minimal? It’s just weird especially for a character who is known for a facial deformity? That is like making the Phantom of the Opera’s deformirt look like a sunburn, oh wait they did that.

It was a decent thought for Quasimodo’s make-up but it was misguided and lacking in execution. It’s like they needed to pick a style and commit, not have aspects of the production to be one style and other aspects be another.

 

And remember you can still vote in the poll, so tell your friends.

What should be the next version?

  • Quasimodo d'el Paris (53%, 9 Votes)
  • The Dingo Version (35%, 6 Votes)
  • Other (PLEASE say what it is in the comments) (12%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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