Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Demi Moore
Tom Hulce
Kevin Kline.
Gary Trousdale
Kirk Wise.
Irene Mecchi
Tab Murphy
Jonathan Roberts
Bob Tzudiker
Noni White.
Running Time
101 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Nightmare, The
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

submit to reddit

Mischievous bunch, the Disney decision-makers. Having got historical sticklers' collective goats with the clap-trap that was Pocahontas, what do they do? Have a crack at a great literary classic, and for good measure make it French. Truly a case of Up Yours, Delors - we shall kidnap the delicate maiden that is your cultural heritage and do with her what we will. You have to admire their front.

Actually - although there are, of course, many liberties taken with Victor Hugo's story of the orphaned bell-ringer, Quasimodo, befriended by the beautiful Esmerelda - this is relatively free of the gag-inducing, moral-majority-pleasing, family values guff that blights many Disney movies. Preoccupied with tolerance and acceptance, its heart is definitely in the right place, with the only wrong note being the re-written ending: who ends up with whom is a lesson in Disney's view of the natural order of things.

Disney films can be sliced up quite nicely into their component parts - Baddies, Goodies, Songs, Babe Factor, Laughs, Fascism, and Quality Of Funny Little Joke Characters. Split like this, Hunchback does quite well. The baddie Frollo (Quasimodo's adoptive dad, voiced by Tony Jay) is a complete bastard, transmogrified into a government official from Hugo's corrupt archdeacon, and well worth five stars. Kevin Kline's war hero Phoebus is a self-deprecating man of the people, and Quasimodo is a goody of charm and valour. Five stars. The songs are rubbish - one star. Esmerelda, voiced by and bearing a resemblance to Demi Moore, is enough to reduce grown men to tears. If you thought Princess Jasmine was a comely coquette and Pocahontas, frankly, very attractive, Esmerelda will make you question your sanity. Eight stars.

There are, however, not enough laughs in this movie - the whole thing is tinged with a darkness and religious symbolism that sits ill with the film's supposed childish nature. Two stars. The Fascist tendencies of so much Disney output is largely missing. Four stars. As for the Funny Little Joke Characters, they're not up there with, say, Timon and Pumbaa, but the Gargoyles have sufficient charm to pull through. Three stars. All of which adds up to a solid, enjoyable, beautifully animated Disney movie, but one not quite out of the top drawer.

Reviewed by

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
Empire Star Rating

One of the best animated films I have seen. Its dark, but not stupidly dark, however there is a bit of disneyfication. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by patersonap at 16:00, 01 May 2007 | Report This Post

Only reviewer,,,

well yeah i agree wholeheartedly with everything that Empire says. But i would give the songs two stars - all are rubbish with the exception of the hellfire one by Frollo. Altogether a good film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by swordsandsandals at 19:55, 03 November 2006 | Report This Post

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)