My opinion right after watching movie
My opinion right after watching the film is that there is too little substance for this film to continue The Hunchback of Notre Dame franchise well. The beauty is in the inside” message is so obnoxious in this film, the way they handle the characters in the film is not good, and the plot execution could have been a lot better.
There is no information of the production of the film.
The film starts with Paris preparing for another festival, and from the introductory song, I can already tell that the scale is extremely small, since there is like only 30 people in Paris. We soon learn that Esmeralda (Demi Moore) and Phoebus (Kevin Kline) have a young child named Zephyr (Haley Joel Osment), and after watching the couple, Quasimodo is a bit sad, since he thinks that he will never receive love, because of his appearance.
A bunch of circus folks show up, and this is where we are introduced to Sarousch (Michael McKean), and his assistant Madellaine (Jennifer Love Hewwit), and he is pissed off at her for ruining the performance. He sends her to steal the bell (the one shown above), so he can sell it, and profit from it, which causes her to go to Notre Dame to meet Quasimodo (Tom Hulce). They talk for a bit, and it is clear they are trying to build chemistry between the two, especially when she sees the Gargoyles, and eases her about them. As soon as she sees his face, she runs off…….. Shows how shallow she is, but of course they are going to convince us otherwise. I say she is shallow because Esmeralda nor Phoebus looked at him when they first met him. We then get a love song that I do not care about, and is a clear replica of the much better song Out There.
The Gargoyles push him to go to the circus, and he is dressed up, so he can impress Madellaine. Zephyr is stuck to Quasimodo, which makes Phoebus nervous when his son runs off, since he does not trust the circus people, which Esmeralda does not like.
Madellaine is told to work on Quasimodo, and after seeing him tend to Zephyr, she tells him that he is good with kids. They soon compliment one another, and wander around the town together, as they tell one another about their dreams, and then they somehow end up back at Notre Dame. He then goes on to show her the bell (which is the one she is to report to Sarousche, so he can steal it), but of course the bell is use to symbolize that the inside is what matters. If they did not make her run from his ugliness at first, then maybe I would be more invested in this.
The day after, Esmeralda is paid a visit, as Quasimodo explains his giddy, “sick” feeling, which she diagnoses as love. She tells him to tell her how he feels, and almost immediately, Phoebus and his son enter the tent to tell them that those circus people are the culprits to the robberies that have been taken place. No one believes him, but Phoebus warns him that Madellaine could be using him to get the bell. Of course Quasimodo takes this the wrong way, and thinks that Phoebus said that because it is impossible for Madellaine to like an ugly man like himself.
Phoebus pays a visit to Saroushe to start his investigation, but the latter reveals everything, but pins the stealing all on Madellaine. He later continues on his heist, and steals the bell, as Madellaine takes Quasimodo away from his home while this happens. Everyone finds out about the bell being stolen, and we get the liar’s revealed arc, as Madellaine is arrested for aiding and abetting. Saroucsche goes underwater to escape town, and Zephyr goes with him to try to stop the crime, which concerns Esmeralda and Phoebus. So we get out climax, Quasi saves the kid and the bell, Sarousche is defeated, and the two couples shout I LOVE YOU during the festival, having a happily ever after.
To be very honest, none of the characters in this film are anything special, and I am a bit confused as to where the character development happened with them.
The animation in this film is probably the ugliest animation I have ever seen from the canon so far. Many of the characters had disproportionate character designs, the scale of the film is small, and many of the backgrounds are cheap and have no texture to it.
I am not impressed with the music in this film, and most of them were overly corny. The score was decent (but not memorable) enough, but the songs are supposed to add something to the film, which it did not with this film.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on March 19, 2002, it received a ton of negative reviews, for being cheap, half assed, irritating, so on and so on.
Today, this is seen as one of the worst Disney Toon films to ever surface, and is seen as one of the cheapest outputs as well.
21/40 = 53%