The Bells of Notre Dame is the opening to the movie. Click Here to get The Bells Of Notre Dame
The Bells of Notre Dame starts off like The 1939 version, very appropriately with Bells and Latin choir (unlike the 1939 version). The bells grow in intensity till the title screen goes away and the opening scene starts and the melody of the refrain from Hellfire is heard. From this you get a major sense of drama before you see a single person. Then tone turns gentle and quite, then intense, then more intense. This song is like a roller coaster.
The Bells of Notre Dame does a few things for the movie, it introduces three main character, showcases Notre Dame’s importance as the setting of the film and explains the relationship between Quasimodo and Frollo. Disney had a bit of the problem with nature of Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo isn’t the colossal jerk he is in the Book. He takes Quasimodo in after being moved by empathy for him, not by getting scared by a Statue and the Archdeacon because he murder an innocent women in front of the most important spiritual centers in France and fears hell that takes the baby of his victim as an act of contrition. But Disney villains are never ones for charitable act so Frollo is co-forced into looking after Quasimodo. The Bells of Notre Dame also presents the viewers with the moral of the story, “what makes a monster and what makes a man”.
The Song also sets up the tone of the movie. Disney boosts that Hunchback is their darkest film, and yes it is, but it is after all a Disney film and there is a lot of “humor” in it. The Bells of Notre Dame present both facets, the humor, light-hearted Disney Flair and the darker aspects. The dark aspect are easy to see, the backstory, Frollo kills a women, tries to kill a baby and saddled into raising it. The humor comes from Clopin regaling the children with his puppet (love the Clopin Puppet). But even Clopin here is delighting in the dark dramatics of the story.
But is the song itself successful? Yes, yes it. I would so that it’s one of the best song in the movie right up there with Hellfire. It’s dramatic, epic, and grand. Unlike Hellfire which has a benefits of being more focused, Bells of Notre Dame has to fulfill it’s purpose and has a lot of ground to cover musically. It’s starts with a Latin choir, goes into a more gentle tone and the gets darker as the Gypsies are introduced along with Frollo, The Choir returns but more intense as Frollo chases Quasimodo’s mother. There are so many vignettes in this song that it could have been a mess but it’s handle musically very well and the music intensifies the dramatics of the action.
Originally this wasn’t even going to be a song, it was going to be spoken dialogue. I’m glad they made it into a song because it’s one of the better songs in the movie. It was the perfect way for the movie to start. Your given a tone, setting, characters, motivation, drama, and some light humor. I would say it’s one the best Disney’s openings. Seriously, Clopin’s crescendo at the end is amazing, it’s probably the single greatest bit of singing in the movie, maybe even Disney History.
Next Time – Part of that World, oh wait, I mean Out There.Follow thehunchblog