The Hunchback of Notre Dame (R) (Widescreen) product details page

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (R) (Widescreen)

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame may not be as cheerful as many of its Disney forebears, but it features the most sophisticated animation the studio had ever produced and enough twists to please those insulted by the familiarity of the Disney format. When the villain, Judge Frollo, breaks into a seething song that's part religious dogma, part lust for the heroine, his face blanketed by the silhouette of flames, it's clear that Disney has finally furnished a more adult product. No doubt this hampered its profitability -- the film barely staggered over 100 million domestically, ranking it among the lowest-grossing Disney animated features of the modern era. Nonetheless, this is a visual feast, its star a grand and intricately detailed cathedral, captured from all angles with a lively "moving camera" effect. Thematically, it revisits Beauty and the Beast's idea that an unfortunate-looking, misunderstood outsider can indeed have a heart of gold. However, it's a much more stark treatment of that theme, with fewer fairy tale concessions and less certainty that the hero will end up with the girl. Some scenes may disturb the youngest viewers, including the gross mishandling of the hunchback at the Topsy Turvy festival, but these should be viewed more as a compliment to children's abilities to process these issues than as a misstep by Disney. Tom Hulce stands out among the vocal performers, while Kevin Kline and Demi Moore also fill their roles more than adequately. The talking gargoyles, voiced by Charles Kimbrough and Jason Alexander, make creative additions to Disney's time-honored legacy of sidekick comic relief. Derek Armstrong, All Movie Guide

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