The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Rated G - 91 min - Released 1996
I've never read the classic novel, so I'm not about to compare this movie with the book, but the movie standing alone is absolutely excellent. There is adventure, love, tension, humor, and a great array of songs. We all know that most Disney movies include some songs, but this film is jam packed. My husband and I joke that this movie can easily be translated to a Broadway musical targeted towards adults. The humor in this movie mainly comes from the three stone gargoyles that are perched on the bell tower with Quasimodo. You may recognize Jason Alexander as the voice over for the portly gargoyle named Hugo. And just as with everything else Alexander embraces, he's hysterical.
The love story in this film is rather sad because you want Quasimodo to get the girl, but in the end looks win out: as seen when Esmeralda falls for her knight in shining armor, Phoebus. This is especially upsetting because Quasimodo is pure in heart throughout the movie, as opposed to the charming Phoebus, who eventually does indeed get the girl. But of course like most American movies the ending is cheerful and you don't feel quite as bad for Quasimodo because he does win the hearts of the citizens of Notre Dame. Furthermore, the thematic development throughout the story is equally compelling. The themes explore the realms of the semantics of monstrosity, man's inner conflict with his conscience, and man's conflict with society.
Due to storyline, the song "Hell Fire", and Frollo's creepy face, I'd say an appropriate viewing age for The Hunchback would be 6 years old.
Overall Rating: 9.5 out 10