Friday, October 30, 2009

best films: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996)

Previously ranked and blogged at #76
Bolstered by a fantastic and decidedly un-Disney, dark score and soundtrack, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one forgotten '90s Disney gem that I can't help but love. Though some of the silliness is unnecessary in Disney's take on Victor Hugo's dark tale of the bell-ringer Quasimodo and his gypsy love interest Esmerelda, when the film dares to be melancholy, it truly excels. From the sweeping opening song over an aerial shot of Paris and the parting clouds to the dastardly and smoldering number sung by Frollo as he plots, it's a dramatic piece of work that, surrounded by the likes of 1997's Hercules and 1994's The Lion King, seems an unfitting kids' flick. But luckily its appeal as a "beating the odds" adventure for an unlikely hero makes it a fitting tribute to the downtrodden of the world. Finally, I can safely say that "God Help the Outcasts" not only can still choke me up more than ten years later, but it's easily one of my favorite film songs ever.

Standout Performance: Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz take the cake as the composer/lyricist team that brought us this highly moving soundtrack.

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