Directed by: Gary Trousdale / Kirk Wise
Stars out of 10: 7.9
Directed by another legendary team of Disney, Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise, Hunchback is the 7th in the Disney Renaissance era (the duo’s other film, Beauty and the Beast is the 3rd) and overall, one of the darkest Disney productions to date. Adapted from Victor Hugo’s novel, I’ve read that Disney strayed too far and I cannot confirm or deny this because I still haven’t read the original novel. Now, what sets this apart from most other Disney works is, apart from the dark scenes, is the use religion and other mature themes not previously found in other works. I believe that Hunchback signalled the end of the sweetness and child-friendly scenes which Disney was most famous for and instead bought forward much realistic themes and settings. OK, if not the greatest, then I consider Hunchback to be one of the important Disney productions to date. All Disney fans should watch this at least once!
On to the film: Just like many others, this one also opens with a song and the lyrics are actually very well written. We’re quickly thrown into the brooding world of Quasimodo and Claude Frollo by the epilogue and from there it just levels up. The animation is quite realistic and not very ‘one-sided’ or ‘sliding-manner’ which means a characters appears to slide to the screen as-if being pushed from behind and the side (check out when Scar from Lion King comes into view after when Simba lies next to Mufasa’s dead body and you will understand). The expressions and movements are very real, something that would later expand in Tarzan and the voice over, us usual, is top-notch. Every voice is perfectly suited and they all give a distinctive touch to their respective characters.
In conclusion, watch this and you won’t be disappointed but fans who are used to the lighter themes of Disney’s previous movies will find it a bit shocking. Well at least this is better than The Black Cauldron, another film in the same vein with dark tones.