Notre Dame de Paris is returning to Lincoln Center in New York City. The Cast also performed in Turkey back in May and is returning to Paris in late November at the original venue of the Palais des congrès de Paris
As for the Lincoln Center performances, it was recently extended by a week. Shows start June 22 and go til July 16th.
The cast is very similar to last year
Quasimodo – Angelo Del Vecchio Esmeralda – Elhaida Dani Frollo- Daniel Lavoie Gringoire – Gain Marco Schiaretti Clopin – Jay Fleur de Lys – Alyzée Lalande Phoebus – Jérémy Amelin
I know I harp on new versions but bear with me for this post. I have too many thoughts and feelings. Sorry this got a little too long, scroll to end of the post for TLDR
I used to think that for content any new version of Hunchback regardless of its quality was a good thing. A new notable movie or TV show adaptation with a wide release would mean more current content and hopefully views, that’s always the hope.
Since this blog started WAY back in very late 2010 there hadn’t been a new movie/TV adaptation since 1999 which isn’t a well known France version and I can’t honestly speak to its lasting impact. Prior to that it would be 1997 TV adaptation with Mandy Patinkin and Salma Hayek. And again it doesn’t have the same cultural significance as the version that came out the year before which is the Disney version. The Disney movie is the de facto movie version along with the 1923 Lon Chaney film. The 1939 and 1956 are both highly regarded but really only for movie buffs or Hunchback completionists.
In the intervening years between the Disney version and now, multiple movie and tv versions have been announced and then quietly canceled.
However the one “version” that did get announced and released since 1996, the one that broke the 27 year gap between versions, or 24 year if you want count the 1999 version, was Quasi. A version that is only nominally a version (you can read my review of it here). At at best it’s pseudo-sequel of Hunchback. However it’s really a lie, it’s has as little to do with anything similar to the source material or any other version. They could have easily name drop a character even by their job title. Like a line about Quasi having a crush on a dancing girl would have been at least something.
Quasi gave me an existential crisis. After over a decade of nothing (aside from musicals) this what came out? Then to pile on, not long after Quasi came out there was the “news” about Disney getting cold feet about their Hunchback live-action remake.
When Disney first really started getting into the trend of live-action remakes I thought it was a forgone conclusion that they would give Hunchback the same treatment. In 2019 it was announced that they were going remake it with Josh Gad. And then Menken recently said the project was in limbo. There seems to be some dispute on “Hellfire” though that could have been an example that Menken offered and there is more issues that not being reported. Prior to this Gad had alluded to the hope that the ‘powers that be” letting them make the movie in a way that the original movie deserves. Seems like the executives and the creatives have differing opinions on how this movie should be handled.
Disney has always been blind about Hunchback. Many have mused that they marketed the film all wrong which focused on the Topsy Turvey number and the gargoyles making it seem fun and bright for kids and while for kids it’s not the typically Disney fare. Then there is what happen with the musical and Disney not being clear about the reason it didn’t go to Broadway. The darker tones and social commentary doesn’t fit neatly into Disney’s brand. It seems the don’t mind dipping their toes in it but the original Disney movie was a too deep a plunge.
Disney hasn’t officially scarped the live-action Hunchback version yet but the live-action remake format does seem to be getting old. Some people like the new takes on the older movies but many more do not. And the Disney remakes are a whole other can of worms/discourse.
So as of now I’m of two minds. I loathed that Quasi was the version that got made and I loathe that Disney is trying is trying to pull out the remake. Good or bad I wanted that remake. At least that was back in 2019 which feels like a different era for multiple reasons. Since the Hunchback remake announcement in January 2019 there had been only 8 remakes in this tread cycle not including the 3 prior to 2010. Since January 2019 there has 10 remakes to come out. On average these 10 movies have a Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score of 57% with an audience score of 65% and a Metacritic critics’ score of 53 and Metacritic user of 4.6/10 on average (I hope my math checks out)
The feelings of the live-action remakes differs for person to person, movie to movie. Some love the new takes and others don’t think they hold a candle to original animated movie as Disney just doesn’t understand the original animated movies. Of course this could be the result of fairytale sentimentality not working in the meta-modern film landscape. Also what works in animation does not work in live action as they are different film mediums and Disney should take different fairytales, or myths or folktales and make those into live action movies. There are plenty live-action fairytale movies out there for inspiration. But that method would be more of a risk for company and they do like the tried and true even if the onset of the Disney Renaissance proved antithetical to that way of thinking.
Given the state of the trend of live action remakes maybe it’s a good thing if Disney is forgoing Hunchback for now but in the same beat I do hate that a very bad non-version even got made. And there it is! I no longer want a “new” version simply for its existence. Just for content fodder. Realistically Quasi should not counted as version but that was it was promoted so it is sadly part of the conversation.
I do want a new version done with some earnest endeavor but if that is not to be then so be it. I will be grateful for the versions that already exist. The ones we have right now, the good parts and the bad parts, I am content with them. Perhaps I will revisit them because as I said things have changed.
TLDR- I used to want new version of Hunchback just to have a new version, quality didn’t matter because content. But with Disney get cold feet regarding the Hunchback remake and the Disney live action remake trend floundering (no pun intend) mixed with how bad 2023’s Quasi was and just the world and life changing I longer want that. I’d rather have a good solid well-crafted version than a bad or lazy version just for content or just for something new. Instead I will be grateful for all the versions we have right now, the good parts and the bad parts.
In a nutshell, the project is in limbo. Menken mentions the seriousness of the issues that Hunchback deals with and them brings up Hellfire. So it sounds like there COULD be a debate over this the version should be a musical as Menken say they can’t do the version without “Hellfire.”
Of course I could be completely wrong and the question of about it being a musical is not the reason but it does give credence to what Josh Gad said on instagram back in March “and hopefully the powers that be will see this love and let us make the live action adaptation the original animated film deserves.” (source)
Disney’s live action remakes do seems to flirt with making them musical or not. They are very half in half out. Mulan no but Beauty and the Beast yes. Cinderella has some diegetic singing but Little Mermaid will be a musical and then there is Lion King speaking “Be Prepare” but the studio wanted to cut it.
So the Hunchback is in limbo. Perhaps the studio feels like it could be taken more “seriously” without the songs and they can get their precious industry accolades if make it gritter and real which a musical would hindered. But the creatives want the music and the fans seem to want the songs.
Meanwhile Disney let a subsidiary (Searchlight) make a farce version that is Hunchback in name only so who knows what Disney is doing these days.
A cold is plaguing Paris! Oh No! And Djali ate the last of the medical plants for the medicine that Dennis is somehow the only one making. So our Gang of Pals have to venture to a valley to get more of the plants which are conveniently all in same valley in France.
HOWEVER a giant wolf is attacking the woods which has forced all the surrounding villagers to seek refuge in an encampment around the Baron’s castle. Fun fact the Baron’s henchman is named Javert.
Quasimodo tries to go after the wolf using sweet Djali as bait. However Quasimodo grows suspicious of the massive wolf whose growls sound more like a dinosaur and also Djali gets taken by the wolf. Uh-Oh!
Basically it’s not hard to figure this one out. The wolf is a wooden automaton because this show’s version of the 1480s has those and the Baron had been using it to exhort the villagers for more taxes. Thus our Gang of Pals stop the Baron and delivers him to justice along with all the medical plants.
The cave quota is once again met in this episode because this show loves caves.
This is a mid-range episode at best. It’s not the worse, there are no forced lessons but also no Frollo but the stakes are not world or France threatening. Also François is very downplayed here, that helps.
The fact that show puts in Djali’s tricks warms my heart. Quasimodo jumping from roof to roof in the pouring rain to deliver medicine is a mood. Why can’t he use the street? Because DRAMA!
So this is a simple straightforward low-stakes episode that had some good moments mostly because of Djali.
Also for whatever reason the background drawings on the random extras are so “simple” that it’s just utterly delightful.
No Spoilers. (If you want a more in-depth spoiler review leave comments)
Back when this project was first announced in November 2021, it was promoted of satirical take on Hugo’s The Hunchback Notre Dame. This would have seemed novel to those unfamiliar with the 1999 parody of the novel Quasimodo del Paris and thus an interesting take for an adaptation. When the first trailer dropped it seems like the project was Broken Lizard’s attempt to be Monty Python with a Hunchback named Quasi through in. It didn’t seem like a parody of novel or the character. And after watching it still doesn’t.
The first thing the movie tells you is that you the viewer don’t know the story because you didn’t read the book. Bold assumption since most people know a basic bit of knowledge even if from the Disney version. The movie also sets the story set in 13th century so it’s doubtful the viewer or anyone on the production read novel or went to the novel’s wiki because the novel is well set up in 1482. So either they didn’t know that or the production was confused on how the dating system works. This movie sets the story in the 13th century which are the 1200s.
Aside from Quasi whose full name is Quasi Modo, having a hunchback is there anything within the movie that makes it a parody of the novel or any previous movie versions? Quasi mentions that he grew up in a bell-tower and there are bell related jokes. Are there any mentions to any characters from the book? No. It’s just the hunch and bells. Though there is a character named Claude who is Pope’s man. It’s just seems more incidental than anything.
Oddly the movie does have similarities with common with the Enchanted Tales version and The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo involving Quasi’s backstory.
The satirical aspect is more about medieval power structures but the film does nothing interesting, clever or funny with it. There was little of that in the book especially since the King Louis was very hands-off with governing and only cared when he thought the mob was attacking Notre Dame. There is more in the book about the court system and it seems disingenuous to the character that Quasimodo would go into practice of torture as profession. But remember no one read book, the prologue made that clear.
As far of the humor goes it’s subjective. If you like the Broken Lizard style of humor maybe you will like Quasi. There are some instances that wear almost funny but not much landed. Brevity was needed. There is a lot about oysters. Like a lot lines of dialogue about oysters.
As far as parodies or satire go, Quasi misses the mark for being one for Hugo’s novel. It states that no one read the book as a a get out jail free card which doesn’t work. The novel has been retold so many times, even by Hugo himself, that no one really cares but saying lines like that at the start just puts itself in opposition with viewer. At most it’s referential to the novel since it a slight knowledge of it or it’s a protracted comedy sketch.
If you are already a fan of Broken Lizard and you want something to watch go for it. Most of the reviews say if you turn your brain off for 90 minutes it’s alright. Though they’re more entertaining movies that would accomplish that.
If you have enjoyed any Hunchback version in the past and that the is the only reason you know this movie’s existence, hard pass. It’s only nominally a version of the book.
.5 out 10 Bells
Side note – This movie did make me curious about the history of oyster consumption, so I guess that is a point in it’s favor. Because Oysters! It’s still weird even after watching this movie.
I have a sinus infection and I’m really tired and I’m tired of the fallout from stupid fan-casting which weird took parts from a Disney Fanon Wiki . Also I have posted too many times this week and I still haven’t watch any more Magical adventures …..
The article talks about representation for the Travelers characters. The article has concerns about casting Romani actor for the roles. Which would be a good look for Disney BUT would people of Romani descent even want to portrayed these characters or be in this project? It would come down to the script of course. I am not Romani so obviously I will not say anything one way or the other besides that I think the article is well-intentioned in their concerns over the casting.
To my knowledge there has been one performer of Romani-descent who played Esmeralda in the Russian cast of Notre Dame de Paris, Diana Savelyeva.
However the article also mentions the book where Quasimodo is deaf and how this should be considered for casting the Disney remake. And yes he is deaf in novel but he is not in the Disney version just like how, whether you like it or not, Esmeralda is not a born Traveler in the book. She was swapped with Quasimodo when she was young (I think she was two.) So this is a cherry-picked bit of “concern.” If this version wants to make Quasimodo deaf like the book, fine and it they want to keep to the Disney film that is also fine but there something a little less genuine when one concern for representation brings up the source that would make concern for Esmeralda’s casting a little moot. Or that is JUST me.
Then there is what Gad said in regards to the fancast which alludes to “the Powers” being on the fence about this version. Gad said;
“Wow. This spread quickly. For the record, this is not real. This is a [Fan-Cast]! I was just responding to it. Love that you guys all want this. We do [too]! The script is one of the best I have read and hopefully the powers that be will see this love and let us make this live-action adaptation the original film deserves.”
It’s the last sentence that gives me pause. NOW this could me that Disney has not fully committed to it or it could the executives are micro-managing the creatives or something else. The other pause is that release date which is now SUS. Sure movies get pushed back and stuff BUT that bit of news didn’t get much or any traction, the Mary Sue article didn’t even mention it AND on July 5th 2024 that Lion King prequel comes out. Wouldn’t two Disney live-action movies released the same month be a weird move? Wouldn’t they be competition for each other? So shrugs. I feel confused and this site https://mickeyblog.com/2023/03/21/josh-gad-hunchback-notre-dame/ is saying there is no release date and this project isn’t even if the pipeline. Though IMDB has it as “excepted” I won’t cling to that date anymore.
On Tuesday March 21, the trailer for Quasi dropped. Quasi is the Broken Lizard satirical take on The Hunchback of Notre Dame or say people say. From this trailer I do not see it.
Sure, there are somethings in common with Hugo’s novel and/or other adaptations. It takes place in medieval France and there is a hunchback named Quasi, which is a nickname of Quasimodo, but that’s a far as it goes according to the trailer.
So this trailer poses three questions. First being what makes a good trailer? I have seen great trailers for bad movies and bad trailers for awesome movies. Trailers are an art form. One has to give people just enough of the film that people want to see more. From this trailer and reading comments on social media, this trailer is for people who are Broken Lizard fans already and also want it mixed with a bit of Monty Python-type of humor.
From this trailer, it does seem like comedy troupe wanted to a comedy movie set in medieval period but wanted or needed to ground it in already known story. The general public knows of The Hunchback of Notre Dame as it an old novel but most people don’t know the story that well, besides Quasimodo is a Hunchback who rings the bells at Notre Dame. So it a good base for whatever story you want.
Which bring us to the second question, What makes a Hunchback adaptation an adaptation of the story? What elements are needed? Very simply, one needs a Quasimodo character, an outcast who has deep reverence for a specific place. Does it HAVE to be a cathedral? It helps but it not specifically needed given the story. It has to be a place where people align themselves, a place that form a sense of identity and connections. Then you have the foils to Quasimodo. An Esmeralda character who is also considered an outcast as she is a member of Travelers but she beloved by the public as well as beautiful. And a Frollo-type character who is part of the community and is mostly respected because of his position but not loved by anyone and is for most part is alright with that since he considers himself above the common masses. I would say those core-elements are needed to convey the basic plot of novel, there are exceptions but for the MOST part those elements in some form are needed.
So what did I think of the trailer for Quasi? Umm…. I didn’t. It’s not my style of humor and I wouldn’t say I have high-brow humor. I have been known to like dumb stuff. If you find it funny that is great, humor is very subjection but I didn’t find it funny and I’m failing to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame in this “version.” Broken Lizard can do whatever medieval comedy movie they want but don’t peddle it as a movie version of novel if just in name only. The news outlets were calling it a satirical or spoof of the novel but I’m not seeing even that much. If the Hunchback character was named anything else I don’t think it would change a thing within the story, it’s just to get people to think of the novel with nothing else of the novel is there.
Here’s a quote from Jay Chandrasekhar about the movie “I will tell you this, we have a movie called ‘Quasi’, which we made. It’s going to come out in December on Hulu, and it’s a 13th-century French … It’s like murder, assassination, mystery. I play the King of France, Paul Soter plays the Pope, and Steve Lemme plays a hunchback. And it’s a big international sort of … It’s a ‘Monty Python’ movie.” https://collider.com/super-troopers-3-script-update-jay-chandrasekhar-comments/
Judging from the quote it doesn’t SOUND like they were originally aiming for a Hunchback version either.
So yeah while I was wrong in my assumption that Kevin Heffernan would play Quasi(modo) when in-fact Steven Lemme is playing the Hunchback character, I feel wrong calling this movie a Hunchback of Notre Dame adaptation. I wouldn’t have known about the movie if wasn’t being called one but the trailer is giving me little to support that it is one. Especially since an actor in the film called the titular character “a hunchback.” It seems that the troupe wanted to do a Monty Python and the Holy Grail type flick mixed with their brand of humor and to make the project marketable they named the Hunchback Quasi and labelled it as a spoof, basically subterfuge.
So the third and final question is should Quasi even be reviewed as a Hunchback adaptation???
By now many of you have seen this poster or the tiktok.
Now, in case you want to know if this is true or not I would say it’s fake. There is good evidence that the release date for this movie is July 19th 2024. There has been a few news pieces on that and it’s on IMDB which grain of salt but it is still far easier to create a photoshop image and TikTok than it to edit IMDB. So unless that release day is wrong this is fake and it is.
BUT let’s just LOOK at the “casting.” It is rather easy to tell which roles the actors are intended for.
Josh Gad as Quasimodo. I have said much on this subject already. If he doesn’t play Quasimodo it would be MORE of a shocker. And until it’s officially announced I maintain he likely to Quasimodo for this version.
Gal Gadot for Esmeralda. Again I have said a bit on this one in my IMDB trivia post however Gadot is set to play the Evil Queen in the Snow White remake so it is less likely that she would play two different Disney remake characters for movies that release the same year (unless the the July 2024 date is wrong.)
Chris Evans for Phoebus. I mean sure that could work. Evans fits the actor-type for Phoebus.
Peter Capaldi for Frollo. I’ve said that an actor for Frollo should have a hard, angular look to them and Capaldi does. I’ll admit I’m not familiar his roles so I don’t know how good a Frollo he would be but the base look is there.
Imelda Staunton as Laverne. I have seen Staunton is a few different roles but as Laverne? Maybe I’m sure she can handle the role, it’s not complex just a mixing of grumpy and tender.
Kelsey Grammer as Victor. Sure why not. Victor is the mid-point between the gargoyles so the character can be anything that the production needs to balance out the group. So a snarky elegance could work.
Jack Black as Hugo. I still would prefer no gargoyles for this remake but Black does have a quality to him that could soften Hugo’s sense of humor and make it more endearing. It is however not beyond the scope that the gargoyles could have different personas in the remake unlikely but it still a change that could happen
Sacha Baron Cohen as Clopin. I do like the idea of le mis actor in another Victor Hugo related movie project so sure why not.
Right off-the-bat this is not my favorite episode even though the Frollo shenanigans are high. The episode starts with showing how great Quasimodo is, this time he is master cartographer/artist. He is tasked with accompanying the King on an annual tour. Also I think Quasimodo and Esmeralda think the expansion of France’s boarders further west is a good thing but they may just not know about colonialism plus it’s a kids’ show, just weird bit of dialogue.
While that is happening Frollo lucks into a shapeshifting potion thanks to Azarof. It can change the person who drink it into whomever they are looking at though the effects are short. So using very dumb henchmen, Frollo takes the King’s place and shenanigans ensue. PLUS Paris is under threat from the Duke of Burgundy since the King is away (which seems often in this show.) Frollo is willing to bow down to the Duke thus ruining Louis’s reputation but not before he gets Esmeralda to dance for him. This is the first time Frollo has taken any interest in Esmeralda which is in keeping with the character in other versions but out of character for this version of Frollo.
Then there is the climax of the episode where it’s known to everyone that Frollo is impersonating the King, which Quasimodo learns from the very dumb henchmen and Esmeralda sees first hand. The action is cut back and through between Quasimodo fighting Frollo, who has taken Quasimodo’s form and François’ incompetences at riding a horse to save the King. It’s is very jarring tonal since François’ incompetences is played for laughs and the sword fight is not. This type of humor of might be better suited to kids but that might be selling kids short.
Anyway Frollo gets away again and the Duke is handle off screen.
This episode felt disjointed, like it couldn’t decided what it wanted to do so did all the ideas. Also I’m just getting a little tried of show constant usage of François as the butt of jokes. Can he just be good at one thing maybe? I don’t think the show will do that though but Quasimodo is good at all things so I guess it evens out.
Episode 14: Hope Springs Eternal
So I was wrong! Turns out François is actually good at something. More on that further down.
The episode starts with Quasimodo mistaking his family crest at the market which prompts him to want to visit his family’s home, the one that is ruins. To get there they get a boat from François and Esmeralda’s uncle and it’s a dank rinky row-boat but it doesn’t sink so it’s get the job done. On route they pass some bullies who work for a wicked baron.
The gang of pals make to the chateau and find Quasimodo’s parent’s lab which is teeming with their awesome work. They also learn more about how awesome they were and that Frollo was their former assistant who they dismissed a week before the place burn down, dun dun dun! I wonder if that will come up again later…???
The gang of pals then gets caught in some farmers’ drama. They spring dried up so they have stealing water from mean-old baron who the Kings’ advisor don’t trust. One of the farmer need’s Quasimodo’s parents help to find a new spring because they helped her parents when she was baby and now she needs their divining device again and also her brother is locked up by the baron. Esmeralda and Quasimodo find the device so while Esmeralda uses it, Quasimodo and François break out the brother.
Now here, my good people is where François does something successfully. He can pick locks and he does so without hitting his head or falling down. Guy can’t even hold melon without incident but a prison break no problem.
In end the Baron turns out to be very reasonable. He didn’t know the his underlings had locked the farmer in granary but the two were stealing water from his estate. He does lets it go and the Esmeralda finds water for the poor young farmer siblings. Quasimodo then decides to continue on his awesome parents’ awesome work and also to form his own opinions without being swayed by other’s, that is a good lesson, a bit tacked on but it sort fit in the theme of the episode.
This episode is more or less alright. It was less annoying than the previous episode though Frollo acting immature as the King was mildly entertaining. There was some dumb stuff with François on a run-away horse machine and screaming around the lab for help and Quasimodo and Esmeralda ignoring him then chastising him for not asking for help. That is their go-to humor approach, I’m just glad François got to be useful without the humor getting in the way. A low bar to be sure but I will take it.
This episode is a bit emotional. Well, emotional enough for this show. Also Djlai! I know it’s taking me forever to get this show watched/reviewed but is the the first time Djali has appeared? I’m pretty sure it has. I am all for it, I love Djali.*
In the episode Esmeralda and François are invited to perform at the the King’s Royal Retreat which is super exciting. François wants to woo the Princess so he packs all his clothing, which makes him indecisive and an over-packer, very relatable …
As they are about to set off Quasimodo is informed that a couple matching the description of his awesome parents have been spotted conveniently near where Esmeralda and François are heading, at the Port City of Lujon and they are bound for England. So the Gang of Pals are off along with Djali and a super helpful coachmen, seriously this guy and Djlai are the MVPs of the episode.
Quasimodo and the siblings split off to their separate ways, Quasimodo gets in a minor scrape involving a rock side, a cave-in and an earthquake and yet despite all that he is totally fine. It felt as through that scene was to pad out the episode’s runtime OR the show has a cave quota because it seems this show loves cave. I mean who doesn’t? Stalagmite and Stalactite are awesome.
The siblings however get into coach accident where the coach is suspended over a raging river. Esmeralda gets knock-out and François hangs from a tree. Djali, being an MVP, finds Quasimodo for help.
Here is the choice, Quasimodo must decided between reuniting with his awesome parents or saving his friends and one of those friends might be more than just a friend. His and Esmeralda’s flirting was amped up this episode. And with tears in his eyes Quasimodo makes his choice and I got to say it got me for a second. You got me show, you got my little emotions. Happy?
So Quasimodo and the MVP Coachman save Esmeralda and François but unfortuntly François’ clothing didn’t make it.
Quasimodo doesn’t regret his choice and François stalks the Princess.
All in all this episode was alright. No magic but we did get Djali and if that wasn’t enough, and it is, the coachman was top-shelf, seriously this guy is just helpful and nice. I doubt we will see more of him but we better see more of sweet, smart resourceful Djali.
* Rereading the post of episode one of this show and Djali does appear there, I just forgot. I suppose that is what happens when it has taken me so long to watch/review this show. I do take reasonability for my taking so long but the show should use a cute goat more.