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.

Paw reviewing Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Paw reviewing Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame

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.

 

Frollo singing Hellfire Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame pitcure image

Frollo singing Hellfire Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

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.

Frollo singing Hellfire Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo singing Hellfire Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hugo in drag Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Hugo in drag Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

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.

Janine Masse played Esmeralda in the Las Vegas cast picture image

Janine Masse as Esmeralda in the Las Vegas cast

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.

Esmeralda Demo Reel of Someday Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda Demo Reel of Someday Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

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.

Frollo and Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo and Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

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.

Paw reviewing Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Paw reviewing Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

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.

 

Click here to watch Paw’s review.

Today we’re going to look at Anne Meson.

Anne Meson as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Anne Meson as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

Meson has played both Esmeralda and Fleur de Lys. Other Actresses who shares this distinction are Julie Zenatti, Chiara di Bari and Jessica Grove. She is one of 10 actors that have been in two casts that are in different languages (Garou, Daniel Lavoie, Bruno Pelletier, Luck Merville, Natasha St.Pier, Matt Laurent, Robert Marien, Chiara Di Bari, Dennis Ten Vergert and Tim Driesen)

Meson when she was younger was the  French Disney ambassador and sang songs for OliverLittle Mermaid and Chip and Dale, Rescue Rangers. She sang Part of that World on the Little Mermiad 1990 sound track

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FZdkvzguus

Recently I found her website and I wanted to share the Notre Dame bits;

Anne Meson as Esmeralda in Morgdor Cast with Cyril Niccolaï as Gringoire & Laurent Bàn as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Anne Meson as Esmeralda in Morgdor Cast with Cyril Niccolaï as Gringoire & Laurent Bàn as Phoebus

Anne Meson as Esmeralda in Morgdor Cast Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Anne Meson as Esmeralda in Morgdor Cast

 

Anne Meson as Esmeralda in Morgdor Cast Notre Dame de Paris

Anne Meson as Esmeralda in Morgdor Cast

 

Anne Meson as Fleur de Lys in the Las Vegas Cast Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Anne Meson as Fleur de Lys in the Las Vegas Cast Notre Dame de Paris

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVorTyvVzmA&list=FLCmjM77B5AUW7TzpJKcHnYg&index=1&feature=plpp_video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAC2Wb8bDWY&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rgUEigAu0Q&feature=plcp&context=C3469516UDOEgsToPDskL21ee98ty58pY_5zh9yd5P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCnu-Oyk0tw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6F8wB6YI88

I wish I could have seen more of her performances.

 

 

Will Jennings picture image

Will Jennings

With the new Asian Tour cast singing Will Jenning’s english lyrics, we must ask are Jennings’ Lyrics harmful. I would yes and no. I think performing an English version in Asian countries makes level of sense. Let’s face it, English is a basic skill  in many countries, and odds that people in China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore can speak English is pretty high and this way they can appreciate the show a bit better and since these people are not native speaker they are not as bothered by  the awful lyrics.

 

Tina Arena played Esmeralda in the London Cast picture image

Tina Arena played Esmeralda in the London Cast

And now the flip-side, Yes, Will Jenning is most certainly harmful to Notre Dame de Paris. First off here’s a little trivia, the London version wasn’t doing well so they brought in Dannii Minogue in a hope of increase sales. The show didn’t last much longer and as 2001 it ended in London and has never played again. The Las Vegas cast didn’t play for very long either and have never revived. Now personally I think Las vegas was a poor choice for this show. Las Vegas is a bright colorful place and Notre Dame de Paris is a pretty minimal on sets and props, I think it might do doing better in New York City. But the show English Lyrics are laughable and I am sure that contributed to show lack of success in its English version.

 

 

Dannii Minogue also played Esmeralda in the London cast pciture image

Dannii Minogue also played Esmeralda in the London cast

The problem is you can tell Jenning rushed the translation, he tried too hard to fit the measure and not the mood. As result we get lyrics like “Out of no where came the Age of Cathedral” (Didn’t Notre Dame de Paris take over 100yrs to build?) “I was born on a road that bends”(So, not Texas? vauge statement Esmeralda) “So look no more for love, love is you.”(this line just sound stupid when sung) “I feel love awaken me, deep down in me, too strong for me.”(oh that  just laziness) “Oh Fleur-de-lys I am a man who knows no law” (I kinda like Belle in english, it’s not bad but this line is stupid, Phoebus is Law in the show or maybe he’s just bad at his chosen profession) “Free today, Flown away. Souls at bay find a way” (Free Today sounds like a local cable advert for a mattress sale- Free Today, just one day buy two on saturday and don’t pay till May (That maybe bad by no one is paying me to write lyrics), that’s just a few, go here (http://ndparis.narod.ru/eng/translations/english.html) and read for yourself, just pick  a random song, there all pretty much horrible. Most of the songs are bad- rhyming me with me, all of Anchary (it’s just stupid), He is shining like Sun and Val d’amour and trying to turn the show into Le Miserable with “My Home in Sky”, really I could on and on, but this is an interlude. (when I get to Notre Dame de Paris I’ll probably go into this more, if I’m feeling suicidal)

 

Janine Masse played Esmeralda in the Las Vegas cast picture image

Janine Masse played Esmeralda in the Las Vegas cast

The mood and emotion is why the show and the original cast are so great. And the translations just sucked it away and not even the alumni from the original cast could save it. Plus and I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that none of the performers can sing these lyrics properly they all seem breathless, mumbly and lost as they sing, which just adds to the weakness and lack of emotion. So you can’t really blame the singers.

 

 

So while I get that William Jenning has done some very lovely lyrics for popular songs “My Heart Will Go On” and my personal favorite “If We Hold On Together” from The Land Before Time, The Notre dame de Paris lyrics is not his finest work and someone should have ordered a better translation before the Asian Tour was even announced. But because of his cache that a retranslation was never done. Let hope someone, someday will look passed the name and actually listen to the English lyrics and get that retranslation that the fans deserve.

So to answer the title of this post “William Jennings Considered Harmful?”,  Yes, Yes He is!

A Dancer performing in Bohomienne in The 2011 Asian Tour of Notre Dame de Paris picture Image

A Dancer performing in Bohomienne in The 2011 Asian Tour of Notre Dame de Paris