The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney) (1996)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-History Of The Production Of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
Featurette-Early Presentation Reel
Featurette-History And Background Of "Notre Dame De Paris"
Featurette-Computer Generated Imagery Demo
Featurette-Animation Progression Reel
Game-Topsy Turvy Underground
|Year Of Production||1996|
|Running Time||88:21 (Case: 86)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (57:01)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hebrew Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Greek Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Perfectly blending comedy with tragedy, and containing remarkably adult themes, considering the target audience, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a very enjoyable film version of Victor Hugo's famous novel. This animated Disney feature is well presented on a DVD of good quality.
Victor Hugo (1802-1885) is fondly remembered as the author of two very famous works, Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, both classics of literature and French Romanticism. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was first published in 1831 (when Hugo was just 28 years old), and it became an instant success. Set in 15th century Paris, The Hunchback of Notre Dame tells the story of a gypsy girl, Esmeralda, and the deformed, deaf bell-ringer, Quasimodo, who is feared and hated by all. Esmeralda becomes an object of desire for an evil priest, Dom Claude Frollo, but Frollo discovers that Esmeralda pines for the dashing, young Captain Phoebus. The spiteful Frollo stabs Phoebus, and Esmeralda is accused of the crime. Meanwhile, Quasimodo falls for Esmeralda, when she becomes the only person to show him any kindness. Frollo has Esmeralda arrested for witchcraft and condemns her to death. As she's being led to the gallows, Quasimodo swoops down from the cathedral bell towers, where he lives in seclusion, and he carries Esmeralda off to the sanctuary of the cathedral. Enraged, Frollo leads an attack on the cathedral, and Esmeralda is seized and hung. In his despair Quasimodo grabs Frollo, and throws him from the cathedral tower, and then Quasimodo disappears. Much later, two skeletons are found in Esmeralda's tomb, a hunchback's embracing a woman's.
While being fairly faithful to the original novel, as one would expect the Disney version is somewhat different. With a script adaptation written by no less than five script writers, and two lyricists, for Disney, in this musical, the insensitive and domineering Frollo (Tony Jay), is forced to care for the baby Quasimodo, after Frollo accidentally kills Quasimodo's mother. Due to Quasimodo's deformity, Frollo cruelly imprisons him as a child in the cathedral, and prevents his interaction with others. Between ringing the bells, the kind and gentle Quasimodo (Tom Hulce) grows older, and he dreams of enjoying a normal life, finding love, and escaping Frollo's power. The gallant Captain Phoebus, (Kevin Klein) arrives in Paris, to take up a position as Captain of the Guard, under Minister Frollo's command. The spirited and adventurous gypsy girl, Esmeralda, (Demi Moore, singing voice Heidi Mollenhauer), also arrives in Paris, to earn money dancing. The pious and self-righteous Frollo watches Esmeralda dancing, and he becomes confused and bitter as he acknowledges his growing lust for her. Meanwhile, Phoebus and Esmeralda meet, and quickly fall in love. However, Phoebus must choose between his love and his duty, when Frollo leads a persecution of the gypsy people. By chance, Quasimodo also meets the kind and caring Esmeralda, and he too is smitten by her charms. Spurred on by Quasimodo's supportive, and occasionally mischievous, talking-gargoyle friends, Victor (Charles Kimborough), Hugo (Jason Alexander), and Laverne (Mary Wickes), Quasimodo must develop his self-confidence and courage to stand up to Frollo, and claim his independence.
This movie features some magnificent and detailed animation. Refining and further developing some of the techniques employed in Beauty and the Beast, Disney's blend of traditional and CGI animation gives the movie a real sense of depth and atmosphere. The transfer captures this, and overall the transfer is simply brilliant.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The image is sharp throughout, and the black level is good.
The colour is wonderful, which is important, as colour is used extensively in presenting this story.
There are a few slightly grainy moments, but there were no problems with MPEG or film-to-video artefacts. Film artefacts did appear throughout, but they are mostly very small, and I did not find them distracting. An example appears at 18:03.
There are six sets of subtitles, and the English subtitles are accurate.
This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 57:01. It is fairly smooth, and not disruptive.
There are five Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks offered on this DVD: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and Hebrew.
The dialogue quality is excellent on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.
The marvellous and sweeping musical score, featuring a full orchestra and choir, is credited to Alan Menken. As a musical, there are a number of songs, which feature clever and witty lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, music by Alan Menken.
The surround presence and activity is very immersive, and an enveloping soundstage is created around the listener. The rear speakers are used very effectively to help carry the score, such as at 36:33, and provide ambience, such as the rain at 29:40.
The subwoofer is also utilised very subtly to support both the score, and the sound effects, and it never really draws attention to itself.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a number of genuine extras.
An animated menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio, this option contains a number of short featurettes: History of the production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1:44), Early Production Reel (4:26), History and Background of Notre Dame De Paris (a series of text stills). CGI Demo (2:29), and Animation Progression Reel (4 versions of the same scene).
Deleted Sequence (3:56)
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio, this is the deleted song, Someday.
Multi-Language Reel (6:08)
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio, a sampling taken from some of the 31 language versions of this movie.
Topsy Turvy Underground Game
A kids interactive game.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame was released on DVD in Region 1 earlier this year.
The Region 4 DVD misses out on:
The Region 1 DVD misses out on:
Sadly the DTS option on the R1 forces me to favour the R1 version.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is definitely one of the better Disney animated features. With wonderful music, story, characters, and animation, this movie will be enjoyed many, many times.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is also excellent.
The extras are genuine and plentiful.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|