There are TWO Burbank versions of Hunchback of Notre Dame. Burbank was an animation studio in Australia. It started in 1982 under the name Burbank Films studios. In 1991 the studio was restructured and became known as Burbank Animation Studios. It stopped making animated movies in 2002 but is currently does Tv shows like Roddy the Rooster (2016).
Esmeralda and Quasimodo,
Burbank made one Hunchback in 1986 and then made the second one in 1996. The only reason why Hunchback got two versiona is because of Disney. The first wave of Burbank movies were literary influenced children videos. They were all adaptations of books whereas the second way were all Disney knock-offs which explain much.
Esmeralda and Quasimodo at the Pillory
The 1986 version for what it is does follows the book fairly closely. It also doesn’t insult your intelligence with its dialogue. It seems to have a respect for the source material even if there wasn’t much a of a budget.
Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus
The 1996 version was trash. There is nothing in it worth noting or is memorable. It’s not even bad in that “so bad it’s good” way. It’s just inoffensive litter. Maybe the only thing worth saying is that it followed the 1939 version with a slight nod to the 1923 version but that’s it. And I have said that NUMEROUS times so instead let’s just quickly compare the two. If I miss anything share in the comments.
- The 86 version has a red tone whereas the 96 is more brown.
- 86 Esmeralda wears yellow and red and 96 Esmeralda wears white and purple with a touch of teal.
- Both versions of Frollo wear red but the 86 version is still a priest whereas 96 is a public official.
- There is no official Gringoire in the 96 version
- Both versions have Esmeralda and Phoebus as pairing but the 96 verison makes them more of a couple in love.
- There is no king in 86 version.
- The 86 uses English accents and the 96 use French accents.
- There is no Djali in the 96 version
- 86 Quasimodo has more lines and sentences than the 96 version of Quasimodo, even though both versions are deaf.
- No version has a proper Feast of Fools. The 86 version just bypasses a celebration and the 96 unapologetically has New Year’s 1600.
I just want to add that the 86 version gives Esmeralda amazing cheekbones. I’m sure I missed stuff.
Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus
Say what you want about the Enchanted Tales or Dingo versions, at least you can say they are not boring. They are contemptible versions of Hunchback but they have their own unique brand of bad. The other Burbank version of Hunchback can’t even boast that kind of ineptitude. It’s so painful boring. There is nothing to this version, no interest, no emotion, no heart, no humor, no pretty colors, or lines. It’s not even bad in that fun stupid way. I hate this version. It is the worst and yes I am saying the Dingo version is marginally better. I would rather watch the Dingo version over this version, not happily but under extreme duress.
I’m so sick of these Disney knock-off quick cash-ins versions of Hunchback. Next time we’re going with a high art form version like an Opera or a Ballet or something A fancy adaptation of Hunchback! But I need a break from review posts for a little bit.
PS – I might be posting a little more sporadically for Wednesday and Thursday posts. I haven’t really decided the frequency of posting since I know people enjoy the casting posts* and I don’t want to give up on Once Upon a time posts either but burn-out, other personal issues, and life in general have been plaguing me for lack of a better word @@.
*Casting Suggestions are always welcome, just leave a comment.
Esmeralda meets Phoebus
Unlike some of the other knock-off versions, this version actually has a voice casts listed. Meaning I can actually look up the people who voiced the characters though I can’t say who voiced which character saved for Gennie Nevinson as Esmeralda. Now you might think that these people are just nameless no one but no, they all have fairly decent resumes. They are not big stars but Lee Perry has been in Happy Feet and Mad Max Fury Road and Gennie Nevinson was in Muriel’s Wedding. That being said I don’t think the shitty voice’s in this movie is all the fault of the voice actors. Some director told them to speak a certain way, they compiled and got paid but I’m not letting this version get any with it. They need to be held accountable for the bad voices.
Except for Quasimodo and Frollo, everyone speaks with the most fakey French accent ever. It just so bad to listen to. There is nothing subtle about it and it’s type of affectation that should be used in comedy sketches not in a sentimental children story based on a tragic book/movie.
Quasimodo with his doves
As mention before, Quasimodo is allergic to pronouns. He doesn’t speak with any accent persay but speaks as though he has extreme mental deficiencies. Okay, knock-off children movie versions Hunchback listen up because you need to this straight because whenever you make Quasimodo deaf you always get this wrong accept wrong; Quasimodo should speak fairly normally, he went deaf at 14, he knew how to speak. Plus deaf people don’t speak that way! Deaf people understand pronouns and can form complex sentences. What the fuck were you doing movie??? This is a travesty. You should be ashame screenwriter and voice directors.
Sadly Frollo is the best voice in this movie, actually is that really that sad? Anyway, since he is a villain he has a British-ish accent. I have to admit I do like his delivery on a few lines especially the one describing Esmeralda’s eyes. It’s a low bar though everyone else is bad which makes this performance seem better.
Frollo tries to cover Esmeralda’s face
Honestly most of the voice acting in Hunchback Knock-offs are not even worth discussing but this one is just so wretched and downright offensive that it needs to be called out for it vile voice acting.
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,
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
This King is based on the 1939 version of King Louis but he is King Henry. My mind wants to do mental loops to make sense of it but the process isn’t worth it. Why did this version not set the story in 1482? Did they REALLY not even look at the book? Did they just guess the year but fact check the monarch? I mean they were off by 117 years! The Printing Press is not all that minding blowing at that point like it was in 1482 when the damn story was set and it wasn’t a huge thing in book. The 1939 version made it a big deal to cast a theme of modernity.
Anyway off on a tangent but that year thing is just so stupid. The King in this version named Henry and is really just Louis from the 1939 version. He like modern things, pretty girls and taking baths. There isn’t too much to him even though the animators and the screenwriter seem to like him more than the main characters.
Padre Jean-Paul is the good virtuous priest that is often seen in Hunchback versions that have a non-priest Frollo. Like in the 1939 version when Frollo confesses that Esmeralda is innocent and wants forgiveness, the Priest doesn’t give Frollo absolution till he admits Esmeralda’s innocence. For some reason this version uses Spanish when addressing him. There is no reason for it and asking for logic is futile so whatever, just call him Padre even though he works in the most iconic Cathedral in France.
There is also a Judge and an Archdeacon person but they are authoritarian types who don’t matter but they get a stupid honorable mention.
Clopin does nothing in this version, if they hadn’t said his name no one would have known it was him I have to mention him howver because just look at this guy. He looks like Disney’s Phoebus. It’s uncanny.
This version spends a lot of animation on this nameless Juggler. At first thought that it was to pad out the run time with repeat animation but that is too logical. After watching this version a few times too many I figured it all out, the Juggler is behind it all. He is the Palpatine of this version. He is the one who cursed Quasimodo with his deformity and inability to use pronouns. He is the one who bewitched Frollo into being obsessed with Esmeralda. He the one who is behind people being mean to the Gypsy, sowing the seeds of hostility even though the King seems like he progressive type. And arguably the most evil thing he is behind are those fake French accents the character use. Surely this is the face of all evil.
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 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
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.
I hate this version. It so damn forgettable. Say what you want about Enchanted Tales or Dingo at least they are memorable, though not in a good way. This one is just so boring and dull that I find myself having to rewatch it constantly to write these posts because I can not remember anything and that’s I can’t bring myself to write the posts in a timely fashion. This version is maxing me out in so many ways. I mean how many ways can one really say this character is boring compared to other sources?
I guess that brings us to the lovely Esmeralda. She is pretty, at least that is what the characters tell us which is good given the lack of art style in this move I wouldn’t have known. So like in the better 1939 version, Esmeralda cares for the blight of her people. She tries to tell the king by going to his house instead of praying which I guess shows initiative.
WAIT a second! This Esmeralda has initiative. She shows that a few times in this version. She tries to speak to the king directly on New Year’s Eve, she gives Quasimodo water (which is standard) and goes to see Phoebus despite being wanted for being too pretty. Oh god a character trait! It’s been so long since I have seen one that I thought I had forgotten. I mean to be fair, her initiative is buried in poor decision making but it’s something other than being nice and romantic.
Too bad she is still boring. Just a boring pretty girl with eyes that shine brighter than the stars in the sky (apparently), who is also nice and takes initiative at bad times and has a super fake French accent. This version sucks! I want to burn so at least I can get some mild entertainment out it.
Quasimodo crowned King of Clowns
Quasimodo has to be the worse. In fact this is one of the worse versions of Quasimodo. He’s like a weird lesson in total apathy.
Esmeralda and Quasimodo,
Quasimodo doesn’t do much in this movie and he says much less. Sure, he does all things that Quasimodo does in the course of the story but the execution of it just so lifeless that who the fuck really cares? Quasimodo has no definable personality and seemingly no intelligence. He doesn’t use pronouns and refers to himself as “Quasimodo.” Some of these lines are “Quasimodo your friend” or ” Quasimodo not your friend.” These are actual lines he says in this version. Typically this method of speaking denotes cuteness or a young child, like a three year old, but it makes Quasimodo seem like he has a low intelligence. He’s deaf not an simpering idiot. In fact the only thing he does that is at all in line with the 1939 version is he rings the bells thinking about Esmeralda, whom he just calls his friends. No love just pals, way to dig deep into this psyche movie.
Quasimodo fighting Frollo
Aside from Esmeralda and that is really just giving her flowers, Quasimodo has no interactions with Frollo aside from the trial scene and the ending. If Frollo hasn’t said he was Quaismodo’s guardian in a line of exposition it wouldn’t been known and really it’s another example of just not caring. It didn’t matter in the scheme of things if Frollo was his guardian or not in this version because Quasimodo doesn’t care when he kill Frollo and yes Quasimodo pushes Frollo down the Bell Tower after hitting with a bell.
Quasimodo with his doves
Forget not having pathos or being a pitiable character, this version of Quasimodo can’t even grasp pain. He doesn’t care about anything so why should anyone care about this Quasimodo he has no understanding or anything which makes him boring and not sympathetic which makes nothing like his character in any version of Hunchback.
Instead of just discussing the way Other Burbank decided to depict the Hunchback characters against the book, we’re going to look at them against the 1939 version since this version blatantly ripped off that version. Is that fair? Who cares they brought it on themselves.
Just to recap, Frollo in the 1939 version was the King’s High Justice who held himself to a godly standard, hated Gypsy and ignorant, like the Earth being round. He also conducted himself with elegance and grace. This grace and elegance were in line with him wanting to stay in control of his crazy emotions with regards to Esmeralda which of course he didn’t do.
Frollo in this Burbank version is also the King’s High Justice and he also ignorant but that pretty much end the comparison. It is pare for the course for Frollo to have Esmeralda arouse his emotions so it’s not a major accomplishment that this version has the plot.
He also were red agin like the first Burbank version (Australia doesn’t like black?) and he looks likes Disney’s Jafar and Gargamel’s love child. He was raised to want power and Smurf Berries.
Frollo just comes off cranky, dour and unpleasant. He doesn’t express any pathos or darkness an therefore he boring, very boring, like ambien, he curse insomnia if can stand to watch this for 40 minutes or if your brain doesn’t implode.
Frollo in this version seems like a bargain-bin Saturday morning cartoon version. Wait, actually that would be a step up since this a straight to video preemptive Disney Knock-off which is as low as you can go in the totem pole. The sad truth is Frollo is probably the closet to the 1939 version characterization.
If you didn’t figure it out, the other Burbank version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame followed the plot of the 1939 version in a rough and unapologetic manner. This is technically the first version to be based off of the 1939 version since the 1997 version came out later but the 1997 version did take the basic plot of the 1939 version and add other elements like Quasimodo liking books. What did this version do to distinguish itself? Well, Quasimodo has doves and Frollo has a literal birth mark of evil. That is the only thing that is original to this version from the 1939 version never mind the book, there is no point discussing the book against this version.
Esmeralda and Quasimodo
Perhaps it’s unfair to say that this version should have add something to the basic plot of the 1939 version, after all this is a streamline version of Hunchback for kids. But just because it’s a short version condensed down to forty minutes, did it have to be so devoid of impact? This version is without a doubt the blandest, joyless, soul crushing version of hunchback to date. It’s has all the flavor watery hospitable vanilla ice cream. There is nothing in this version that conveys any sort of emotion or interest. It’s like a paint by number retelling of another retelling.