Paw is a reviewer for musicals on That Guy with the Glasses. The show is called Music Movies. Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame has been on the Dartboard (his method of selection) for a while and he finally got to it so let’s take a look at his review.
Right off bat Paw calls into question what Disney was thinking in making the movie. He then makes a joke about how much architecture is a theme in the book. I think that he is poking fun at the chapter in Hunchback that goes through long description of Notre Dame but that chapter is nothing compare to the long chapter that just about Paris.
Review-wise Paw doesn’t really add anything new. He loves Hellfire, Bells of Notre dame and the overall score. He hates the gargoyles and their song. So no surprises there. He also brings up the issue of tone.
This is the third review I have looked that remarks on the changing tone of the film. This is making me question why I don’t have an issue with it. I mean if we look at the novel the scene where Phoebus gets stab a lot of humor leading up to it but judging this movie on it’s own merits I personally don’t see the big deal. I mean this movie isn’t really that dark and nor is the book. Yes, for a Disney movie, yes it is but Disney movies have anyways had shifting tones. Perhaps I’m desensitized to changing tones as result of years of watching anime and Bollywood movies where tones change often.
My biggest issue with Paw’s review is the lack of fact-checking just to set up a few jokes. The first one he makes wasn’t for a joke set-up. He mentions that there have been two musical versions of Hunchback but only were performed in Europe. I’m guessing he means Notre Dame de Paris and Der Glockner von Notre Dame. However if he did mean those two or at least Notre Dame de Paris than he is wrong about Notre Dame de Paris has only been performed in Europe. Notre Dame de Paris was performed in Las Vegas and Canada in 1999 a year before the London cast and two years before the Italian version.
Another fact he didn’t check was claiming that Someday was meant to be an upbeat Pop song from its’ conception. This means that he didn’t look at the demo reel of Heidi Mollenhaur singing. Now I can forgive him not looking at this as it’s not in the film but I mean Disney taking a song from the film and making into a cheesy Pop song for the credits is nothing new but for him to make the assumption that Someday was conceived as a Pop song is an oversight.
Now it seems that he read the book at some point or at least read a summary but there one little quip he makes that bugs me. He said that at the point in the film during the first part of Out There i.e. Frollo’s part, that at the same point in the “book proper” Hugo was still describing Notre Dame. Well first since this scene doesn’t exist in the book that a stupid joke but let’s give this joke more a chance. Since he correlates this part to the “book proper” let’s do that too. Since this scene is before the Feast of Fool that would mean Hugo had to make his description of Notre Dame prior to that in order for Paw’s accretion to be correct. In the “book proper” the core of the descriptions of Notre Dame occur after Feast of Fools. So this quip about the book’s preoccupation with architecture doesn’t work.
I do give Paw credit, the review is entertaining and well-thought albeit his fact checking is not the greatest. I also give him props for counting how many times the Hellfire motif was used in the film. The correct answer is 14 times.