In all seriousness Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame really only has the basic premise of the original novel. All the characters differ in attitudes and backstorys. The way the story unfolds and comes to its conclusion is different because of the characters.

The biggest difference is the Characters;

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney picture image

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

 

In making Frollo a judge and not a priest we loss his turmoil which makes Frollo an interesting and complex character. I really don’t care as much about his lust and obsession for Esmeralda just because he hate Gypsies. Also in the book, his obsession occurs slowly. He sees her and is instantly taken by her youthful beauty. After that he begins stalking her and by kidnapping her he forces the the plot to take action. In the Disney movie, Quasimodo doesn’t have the some loyalty and Frollo abuses him by telling him he’s a monster and keeps him locked in the tower. In the book Frollo did no such thing and Quasimodo could leave  Notre Dame if he wished.

 

 

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo in the Disney movie is very much like Ariel. He wants to live with the normal people. He is very naive, kind and gentle. In the book, Quasimodo is kind and loyal  to those who have been kind to him  i.e Frollo and Esmeralda. However, Quasimodo is also angry and doesn’t really like people. He would never want to leave Notre Dame as Notre Dame is his universe. He loves Notre Dame so much that he is very much  a part of it and his lovers are bells. The relationship between Quasimodo and Notre Dame is destroyed in the Disney version as Notre Dame is not so much a sanctuary but a prison. Also in the movie Disney he briefly mentions the bell but you don’t get the sense that he loves the bells. I also don’t see this Quasimodo killing Frollo in fit of rage or lying down next to Esmeralda to die.

 

 

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame Dance picture image

Esmeralda’s Dance Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Esmeralda is the polar opposition between Disney movie and the book. In the book she is at least part French and is young, beautiful, naive, shallow, childish and kind of dumb. In the Disney movie, while she is beautiful, she has none of the other traits, though the youth is debatable.  She is confident and is in control of her sexual appeal. In the Disney version she is a full Gypsy and we are never given any sense of her backstory. In the book she was unaware of her beauty and she lacks any worldliness. This naivety is what gets her into trouble in the book and ultimately is what kills her and not a passion for social justice.

 

 

 

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus in the book is a jerk who is kind of dumb and just wants to sleep with pretty girls. Also he is two-timing cheat, who despite being engaged he tries sleeps with every good-looking girl he can.  In the Disney version is he is noble, moral and likes to crack bad jokes.  Not like book Phoebus at all.

 

 

Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Clopin in the book in the leader of the Court of Miracles, not the Gypsies. The Leader of the Gypsy in the book was the Duke of Egypt. Typically, the leader of the Court of Miracles and the Leader of the Gypsy get fused into one which is  Clopin. That’s a minor issue. Compared to Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmeralda and Phoebus; Disney Clopin’s differences are not so bad. He tells stories like Gringoiore (a character in book) and is the leader of the Court of Miracles; he’s two characters in one, or three.

 

 

Djali Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Djali Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Djali in the Disney movie is a pretty minor character who doesn’t do anything other than add some charm and humor. In the book however Djali is pretty essential to the plot. Djali is the prime evidence for why Esmeralda is convicted of being a witch. Goats were considered to be representational of the devil and the tricks innocence tricks Djali performed like spelling and telling the time were thought to be the work of witchcraft by the judges in the book. Of course, since the plot veers so far the book it doesn’t really matter. Djali’s main function in the movie is a cute sidekick who sells toys to children.

 

The Gargoyles do not count, they’re not in the book.

 

Xed Gargoyles Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame image picture

 Gargoyles Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

It really does seems like someone early in production took the cliff notes of Hugo’s book, throw them into a blender, strained, added water and poured out the Disney Plot. Then that  got re-written by those people who didn’t read. And the differences in the characters in proof that.

 

Next time – Minor Differences,

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