Disney: The Hunchback of Notre Dame aka: Hunchback Of Notre Dame
♪ Morning in Paris, the city awakes to the bells of Notre Dame... ♫
"Up there, high, high in the dark belltower, lives the mysterious bellringer. Who is this creature? What is he? How did he come to be there? Hush, and Clopin will tell you. It is a tale, a tale of a man... and a monster... "
Entry #34 in the Disney Animated Canon.In medieval France, the corrupt and sinister JudgeClaude Frollo once uncovered several Gypsies trying to enter Paris with an unidentified and bundled object. One of them attempted to escape with it and Frollo ran her down, indirectly causing her death. It is then that Frollo realized that the woman was carrying a baby, and, disgusted by the infant's deformity, nearly drowned the child in a well when he is stopped by the Archdeacon. He warned Frollo that his sin of spilling innocent blood must be atoned for and has Frollo care for the child as his own. Fearful for his own eternal soul, Frollo agrees to do so, with the stipulation that the child - whom he names Quasimodo (meaning "half-formed") — reside in the bell tower of the cathedral, never to be seen by public eyes.Twenty years pass, and the kindhearted but isolated Quasimodo strongly desires to have one dayof freedom beyond the walls of Notre Dame to see the Feast of Fools festival and decides to act on his decision after receiving encouragement from his animate stone gargoyle friends Victor, Hugo, and Laverne. However, when Quasimodo's identity is revealed, he is publicly scorned and humiliated by the townspeople until he is rescued by the beautiful and strong-willed Gypsy Esmeralda, who has no tolerance for Frollo's ill-treatment of Quasimodo and her people. This encounter results in an unlikely friendship between Quasimodo and Esmeralda (as well as a one-sided love from Quasimodo to Esmeralda) and an unsettlinglust in Frollo, whose inner conflict over his piety to God versus his growing sexual lust for Esmeralda drives him to hunt the Gypsy girl down with the intention of having her for himself or not letting anyone have her at all. With Esmeralda and the other Gypsies' lives in danger, and the whole city of Paris in the grip of Frollo's corruption, Quasimodo must team up with Esmeralda's love interest CaptainPhoebus in order to stop Frollo and rescue Esmeralda.The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of the most mature works that Disney has taken to adapting in their history. Obviously, they changedthe plot, but it is still one of the Darker and Edgier pieces in the canon with one of the most cruel, depraved, and downright sexual villains to grace a Disney film. It is also regarded as having one of the best soundtracks among the Disney animated films. For these and a few other reasons, this film is considered an unsung classic by many fans.In 1999, the film was translated into German for a Broadway-style musical, Der Glöckner von Notre Dame, which backtracked a bit from Disney and is somewhat Darker and Edgier than the film. It is scheduled to be released on Broadway and the West End between 2014 and 2016.In 2002, a direct-to-video sequel was made that was Lighter and Softer than the original film.
This film provides the following tropes:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Near the climax , Frollo pursues Quasimodo and Esmeralda on the balcony of Notre Dame, all the while cleanly slicing through stone gargoyles attempting to slash at them.
Action Girl: Esmeralda openly insults Frollo and his guards, can outrun and outwit many soldiers (even if they are rather stupid), and is shown to have better-than-average combat skills when she fights Phoebus. And while at the stake facing certain death, she spits into Frollo's face and gives him a Kubrick Stare when he says, "Choose me or the fire."
Actor Allusion: Esmeralda's infamous "pole dancing" moment. She was voiced by Demi Moore, who was also in the movie Striptease (which came on the same year and was torn apart almost as severely as this movie).
Phoebus tries one on Esmeralda, while she has him pinned to the floor with his own sword at his throat, and it works!
Victor qualifies as well, going so far as to cover his eyes as he drops a single brick on a soldier from atop the cathedral. After it impacts, he peeks over the edge of the cathedral and calls down an apology.
Archnemesis Dad: Frollo takes Quasimodo in after killing his mother, but only to save his own soul and keep Quasi for later use. He raises his erstwhile son to hate himself, that the world is dark and cruel, and keeps him locked away from sight to prevent being associated with him. When Frollo's atrocities increase Quasi realizes the man's evil, calls him out on his abusive parenting, and saves Esmeralda from the murderously insane Frollo.
Barefoot Poverty/Does Not Like Shoes: Esmeralda, as a poor Gypsy girl. At the end of the film, she falls in love with the clearly wealthy-looking Captain of the Guard, Phoebus, and in the sequel she inexplicably gains shoes.
Batman Gambit: How Frollo finds the Court of Miracles. He knows that Quasimodo is in league with the Gypsies, so he tells him that his men have found the court and that he plans to advance upon it in the near future. This is a lie, as Frollo has no idea where the court is. Quasi buys it though and heads off to warn the Gypsies. Frollo covertly follows him and ends up discovering the court.
Because You Were Nice to Me: Esmeralda's act of kindness of defending Quasimodo during the Feast of Fools is what makes Quasimodo fall for her.
Betty and Veronica: Quasimodo and Phoebus for Esmeralda, though Esmeralda is oblivious to Quasimodo's feelings for her and the only person she shows any romantic interest in is Phoebus. Frollo subverts the Third Option Love Interest as he lusts after Esmeralda without knowing of the competition, and Esmeralda is repulsed by Frollo and wants nothing to do with him. In the end, Esmeralda chooses Phoebus and Quasimodo gives them his blessing.
During the "Hellfire" sequence, the Ominous Latin Chanting in the background is actually the Confiteor, a prayer Catholics recite during the Mass that is an admission of guilt and wrongdoing. Most awesomely, when Frollo is proclaiming that it's not his fault, what the red hoods of doom chant back at him is "mea culpa" and "mea maxima culpa", Latin for "through my fault" and "through my most grievous fault" respectively.
Also during "Hellfire" when Frollo says "God have mercy on her/God have mercy on me", you can hear the "kyrie eleison", Greek for "Lord, have mercy", being chanted in the background.
The Latin lyrics to the piece that plays as Frollo hunts Quasimodo and Esmeralda is "dies irae" or "Day of Wrath", which is about how the wicked shall be punished in eternal fire. It gets even better when you realize that the same lyrics were used in the score much earlier while Frollo was chasing down Quasimodo's mother, as in both cases, he is using his religious fundamentalism to justify hunting down an innocent who is trying to protect someone who cannot defend themselves.
'Notre Dame' is not the name of the cathedral. The full name is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris—often translated as "Our Lady of Paris" or simply "Notre Dame Cathedral," where Our Lady (Notre-Dame) refers to the Virgin Mary.
Which means that the Archdeacon's line about 'the very eyes of Notre Dame' might refer to the 'eyes of Our Lady', the Virgin Mary, rather than the Genius Loci of the cathedral. A statue of Mary is featured quite prominently in the accompanying animation sequence.
And made even more brilliant with Phoebus' line "and now [Frollo] has declared war on [Our Lady] herself!" As in Frollo, the fundamentalist hypocrite longing for the extermination of another race of human beings, has declared war on the principles of Christianity itself.
It is worth noting that in the novel it was heavily implied by the author that the cathedral was a character itself. It is quite possible that the movie characters refer both to Mary and the cathedral itself.
The lyrics of the choir in Sanctuary, the score that plays while Quasimodo saves Esmeralda from being burned at the stake, match up perfectly with the animation when translated - such as "Libera me Domine de morte aeterna" ("Free me, Lord, from everlasting death") while Quasimodo is breaking from the chains holding him; "Sit sempiterna gloria" ("May You always be praised") as he climbs Notre Dame while carrying her; and "Sanctus, sanctus in excelsis" ("Holy, holy, in the highest") as he claims sanctuary. The entire set of verses as he's freeing Esmeralda is basically a prayer for strength and salvation:
O, salutaris hostia ("Oh Saviour, saving victim")
Quae caeli pandis ostium ("Who opens the gate of heaven")
Bella premunt hostilia ("Our enemies besiege us")
Da robur, fer auxilium ("Give us strength, bring us aid")
Birds of a Feather: Played with. Esmeralda and Quasimodo bond over their mutually restricted freedom, while Esmeralda and Phoebus are both sarcastic and rebellious to do what is right, though Phoebus doesn't rebel against Frollo until Frollo attempts to burn down a house with an innocent family still inside.
"Besides, knights in shining armour aren't her type", and the entire song following that line.
Many of Frollo's lies are quite blatant to the audience, but some of them are blatant to Esmeralda as well. Consider the scene where he sniffs her hair.
Esmeralda: What are you doing? Frollo: I was just imagining a rope around that beautiful neck. Esmeralda: I know what you're imagining. Frollo: ... Such a clever witch. So typical of your kind to twist the truth, to cloud the mind with unholy thoughts.
Bloodstained Glass Windows: No bloodier than you'd expect for a Disney animated film, but Phoebus lampshades it in his fight with Esmeralda inside the cathedral's sanctuary: "Candlelight, privacy, music! Can't think of a better place for hand-to-hand combat!" Done much more seriously in the climax, as Frollo and Quasimodo fight on the parapets of the bell tower.
Book Ends: "Bells of Notre Dame" is played at the beginning of the film, and its reprise plays at the end of the film.
Bowdlerise: On the Disney Sing Along Songs video released to promote this movie, the title track is a sanitized version of "Topsy Turvy". Not only did they cut out Esmeralda's dance, but they also rewrote the lyrics so that Clopin wouldn't mention devils and beer. See for yourself here.
The film straddles the line in between playing this straight and averting this. On one hand, Phoebus is a good guy, the gargoyles are comic relief, Esmeralda is old enough to make Phoebus' attraction to her natural, and there's a happy ending. On the other, gypsies are portrayed as both entertainers and cutthroats, genocide is implied, and Frollo's sexual desires conflicting with his religious beliefs is only downplayed enough to make it as a family film.
Calling the Old Man Out: During the film's climax in the cathedral, Quasi says to Frollo, "All my life you've told me that the world is a dark, cruel place, but now I see the only thing dark and cruel about it is people like YOU!"
Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Frollo spares Quasimodo, though the main reason Frollo can't kill Quasimodo as a baby is that the Archdeacon caught him trying and guilt-tripped him out of it. He does, however, state that he's going to find a use for the "foul creature."
Catch a Falling Star: Phoebus manages to catch Quasimodo as he falls off of Notre Dame and haul him inside. It's an especially egregious example of snatching someone out of midair since he'd gotten shot through the shoulder the day before.
Cerebus Callback: During "A Guy Like You", a borderline Disney Acid Sequence, the gargoyles give Quasimodo the Ace of Hearts card while they're trying to convince him that Esmeralda would love him. Shortly after this when he sees Esmeralda kissing Phoebus, he pulls out the card and rips it up.
Quasimodo goes from passive to more assertive with his oppressive guardian.
Phoebus is initially the pawn who loathes injustice. In the opening, he discreetly rescues Esmeralda from arrest but never quite speaks out against injustice, and Frollo refuses to let Phoebus intervene when Quasimodo undergoes public humiliation. It's when he witnesses Frollo's attempted execution on an innocent family that Phoebus starts intervening explicitly from then on.
Esmeralda initially starts off as confrontational and distrustful due to the hardships she and the other gypsies have endured, but her interactions with Quasimodo and Phoebus gradually soften her and teach her how to trust.
Frollo, while always evil, is initially much more collected and methodical. He also shows at least some fear of God and respect for the institution of the Church, as when the Archdeacon reminds him that God knows of his sins as much as he denies it and this spurs him to adopt Quasimodo out of repentance. But by the end of the film he's so angry and insane that he has no problems burning down the homes of random citizens, attacking Notre Dame, and throwing the archdeacon off a staircase.
The amulet that Quasimodo receives from Esmeralda. It is a perfect map of Paris with the Ile de la Cite (the island in the River Seine where Notre Dame stands) as the reference point. Phoebus and Quasimodo uses it to locate the Court of Miracles.
That gargoyle head that breaks under Frollo's feet during the climax? He'd sliced halfway through it a few moments earlier.
Climbing Climax: Three guesses what structure it takes place on, but the first two don't count.
Cold-Blooded Torture: During Phoebus' introduction, Frollo explains to him that the previous captain of the guard was "a disappointment." Cue a whip crack in the background as a man screams in agony as Phoebus looks disturbed and Frollo just smirks.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Frollo and his soldiers (with the exception of Phoebus) are all in very dark, faded colors, while Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Phoebus, and any given Gypsy wear much brighter clothing. At the end, Phoebus and Esmeralda are both wearing white, which stands for purity and is the customary color to get married in.
In the sequel both of Madelline's outfits match Quasimodo's.
Comically Missing the Point: The gargoyles ward off the soldiers with the help of a catapult. Instead of shooting projectiles with it, they throw the entire thing at the enemy.
Conspicuously Light Patch: The ant-infested tile Frollo picks up. Also, played with in that the gargoyles, when they aren't "alive", appear as matte paintings, but then look like this when they come to life.
Cry for the Devil: "Hellfire". Behind closed doors, Frollo prays to the Virgin Mary for protection from Esmeralda's "witchcraft", which he convinces himself is driving him to sin through lustful, burning desire. He begs Mary to either burn Esmeralda in Hell or deliver her to him as his love to free him from his sin. He may be a vicious Knight Templar or at best a Well-Intentioned Extremist gone too far, but he's also very human and very conflicted, two qualities that generate sympathy and may make it at least more understandable.
Frollo: God have mercy on her...God have mercy on me...
Esmeralda: You sneaky son of a... Phoebus: Ah ah ah, watch it. We're in a church.
Cut Song: "Someday" was moved to the end credits to be replaced by the softer "God Help the Outcasts". It was cut because it was one or the other, and "God Help The Outcasts" won. "In a Place of Miracles" and "As Long as There's a Moon" were to be sung in an extended wedding scene in the Court of Miracles (before Frollo arrives), but were both cut for time.
And it is even worse in the (German) stage version, where Esmeralda actually ''dies'', which has yet to make it to Broadway. Not for long though; Alan Menken said he's been working on making an American version using the same book.
The villain's also a genocidal racist (as demonstrated when he crushes ants beneath a stone block while talking to Phoebus to show what he will do when he finds the Gypsies) and telling the Gypsies he's just rounded up, "There's a bonfire tomorrow. You're all invited."
Esmeralda and Phoebus. While he's not the most interesting of characters, Phoebus does have some of the film's best lines.
Phoebus is more clearly a snarker than Esmeralda, though, since most of her snark is from her banter with Phoebus earlier in the movie. Phoebus, however, has been known to clearly snark outside of that earlier moment:
Quasimodo: Is this the Court of Miracles? Phoebus: Offhand, I'd say it's the Court of Ankle-Deep Sewage.
Death by Cameo: In one of the shots of the streets of Paris during the song Out There, Pumbaa from The Lion King is being carried off on a pole, presumably to be roasted.
Death by Irony: "And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into a fiery pit!"
Decomposite Character: Disney decomposed Frollo. The book's conflicted Archdeacon Claude Frollo is split into the good Archdeacon and the evil Justice Minister Claude Frollo. This was apparently done to make sure that they didn't get any religious controversy, and to avert any Unfortunate Implications that might come about from Frollo's Adaptational Villainy.
Deconstructed Trope: The movie takes Madonna-Whore Complex and smashes it to pieces. Frollo sees Esmeralda only as a total Whore who represents lust and danger (plus he hates Roma), so he decides that he shall have her or she'll be burned to death; on the other hand, Quasi sees her solely as the super kind and gentle Madonna who saved him, thus he totally idealises her. Therefore both of their views are very inaccurate... and this is the reason why she was drawn to Phebus: because he saw Esmeralda's true personality and went beyond these strict definitions.
And Lamp Shaded by Esmeralda who is drawn to the Madonna because she sees her as a strong, caring woman who's seen her share of hardship - someone she can relate to, not a paragon.
Descent Into Darkness Song: Frollo's "Hellfire" song counts as a Dark Reprise of "Heaven's Light", but it also counts alone as this trope. A sacred chant leads into the song, With composure, Frollo sings to the Virgin Mary, "You know I am a righteous man..." and then the song gets darker as he sings of how desire for Esmeralda tempts him. The accompanying chants turn ominous, and Frollo pictures himself condemned. He concludes: "She'll be mine or she will burn!"
Disney Death: Esmeralda. However, in the stage version, it'snot so Disney. She revives long enough to look at him and weakly say, "I... think you are a good friend", then dies, probably from carbon monoxide poisoning. All in all, the chain-yanking makes it worse than in Hugo's novel.
Distressed Dude: Phoebus and Quasi find the Court of Miracles. They are Bound and Gagged by Clopin and the Gypsies, mistaking them for "Frollo's spies", leaving Esmeralda to save them from an untimely execution.
Doorstop Baby: What, in the book, was Frollo's kindest deed. In the original, he finds the abandoned Quasimodo and adopts him (nobody else would because he's deformed). In the movie, he accidentally (but remorselessly) kills his mother and is forced to adopt Quasimodo by the Archdeacon, for penance.
Evil Plan: Initially Frollo was all about arresting and killing the Gypsies. After the Festival of Fools this is expanded to include possessing Esmeralda.
Expy: There's a good chance someone on staff either REALLY liked or worked on Gargoyles. Clopin to Puck, Esmeralda looked a LOT like Elisa, not to mention the prevalence of gargoyles in both works.
Evil Versus Evil: While Frollo is clearly a genocidal maniac, it is intresting to note that the gypsies themselves live in the Court of Miracles, where all the criminals in Paris hang out, and appear to be a bunch of gypsies themselves who try to murder Quasimodo and Phoebus for finding them out, all the while singing a jaunty tune about their crimes and deception.
Fan Edit: There's a fan edit with some of the gargoyles' scenes edited out or shortened to prevent the Mood Whiplash. The edit makes the film much darker.
Fashionable Asymmetry: Esmeralda's outfit isn't symmetrical (she has a decorated wrap on one side of her skirt and only one ankle bracelet), and both she and most of the other Gypsies such as Clopin (who themselves are hardly symmetrical in dress) only have one earring in. Esmeralda is actually sharing a pair of earrings with Djali. Quasimodo is a bizarre subversion of this—his simple outfit is symmetrical, but his body (his hump is slightly offset to the right) and facial asymmetry isn't very attractive.
First Guy Wins: Esmeralda ends up with Phoebus, the first love interest that she meets in the film.
Foil: Many, but the main foils are Quasimodo and Frollo, which is invoked in "Bells of Notre Dame."
Now here is a riddle to guess if you can, sing the bells of Notre Dame: Who is the monster and who is the man?
Friend to All Children: Clopin seems to be, as the story opens with him entertaining some children with the story of Quasimodo's backstory, and at the end of the film he is seen carrying a little girl as he reprises the opening song with the crowd carrying Quasimodo.
The Gadfly: Clopin during the Feast of Fools. The second he spots Quasi, you can see plainly on his face that mentally he's saying "This is going to be fun."
How did the movie get a G rating with such obvious sexual tension?
Answer: In 1990s America, it was completely kosher for a "G" rating to have references to adult situations, so long as it was fleeting and infrequent (and buried under so much innuendo that no one would notice).
Sexual tension is the least of it. They got Frollo in it, complete with a Villain Song called "Hellfire" that announces the villain's intention to force a girl to submit to sex or burn at the stake.
Also, the mention of 'strumpets' in Topsy Turvy, which they probably only got away with because it's such an archaic word.
They let the word "damnation" be used in the movie. There are many other words that start with "D" in the church; how did the movie still get G-rated with that?
Possibly because it's used in a religious context?
Phoebus' and Frollo's exchange during Esmeralda's "dance".
Frollo: Look at that disgusting display. Phoebus: [ear to ear grin] Yes sir.
Probably just a small nitpick, but the brief scene of a troupe of women doing the Can-can and their knickers are in full view. Then again, Pinocchio did it too, but with marionettes.
Also, Clopin is at the end of the line of can-can dancers, also in a skirt.
God Is Good: Everyone from Frollo to the Archdeacon believes that God will always punish the wicked and aid the righteous.
Good Shepherd: The Archdeacon is well named; he's the most benevolent character in the story. A lesser man would give a minister with armed soldiers what he wanted but he denies Frollo with a simple rebuke and assures Esmeralda of her safety. He'll put the fear of God into anyone who violates the sancity of the Cathedral.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Averted. It's the second Disney film that refers to "hell"/"Hell" and the first that outright mentions "Damnation".... Twice in the same scene.
Handicapped Badass: For a guy with a spine like a boomerang, Quasimodo is surprisingly nimble and strong. Not only can he lift a grown woman over his head, he broke solid iron chains with his bare hands. All this from years of ringing big, heavy bells and leaping around the cathedral (see Le Parkour below).
I Should Have Done This Years Ago: During the climax, Frollo admits that Quasimodo's mother risked her life trying to save him, rather than abandoning him like Frollo had claimed. While Quasi is still reeling, Frollo says that he's going to do what he should have done "TWENTY YEARS AGO!" and tries to kill him.
It's All About Me: Frollo only spares Quasimodo because he believes he may be useful to him later. He also seems to have no problem committing mass murder and destroying Paris to get rid of a single woman who isn't even to blame for his own problems.
[While searching for the Court of Miracles] Phoebus: Speaking of trouble, we should have run into some by now. Quasimodo: What do you mean? Phoebus: You know, a guard, a booby trap... [His torch goes out, leaving them in complete darkness] Phoebus: ... Or an ambush.
"I Want" Song: Played straight with "Out There", in which Quasimodo sings about wanting a day of freedom. Inverted with "God Help the Outcasts" as Esmeralda specifically does not want anything for herself, but asks God to help others who are worse off than she is. Deconstructed with "Hellfire", a mix between an Obsession Song, a Sanity Slippage Song, a Villain Song, and a Villain Love Song that ultimately conveys that wanting something can turn you into even more of a depraved person that you already are.
Jerkass Has a Point: Phoebus calls the Gypsies, "criminals and dangerous." He's not entirely wrong.
Quasimodo's and Phoebus' trial in the Court of Miracles. It is a mockery of Frollo's corruption of justice where the Gypsies are concerned, but ends up coming dangerously close to what it is mocking.
This is reinforced when, while pronouncing sentence on Phoebus and Quasimodo ("I am the lawyers and judge all in one!"), one of Clopin's split-second costume changes is into a reasonable facsimile of Frollo's, though since he believes them to be Frollo's spies, he probably did it deliberately for the irony.
Karmic Death: It's heavily implied that God himself is smiting Frollo down. The molten lead Frollo falls into also suspiciously resembles Hell, and the gargoyle that comes alive to drag him down reminds us of someone. The fact that Frollo had said, "And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit" right before all this reinforces the idea.
Kick the Dog: Frollo does this a lot in the movie. Especially shoving the Archdeacon down a flight of stairs. It's far from being the worst thing he does, but it's still considered one of those things that you're not supposed to do, and gets bonus points for showing his contempt for religious authorities who get in the way in a way that actually sort of contrasts with his role as The Fundamentalist at the same time.
Knight in Shining Armor: Phoebus. Not only does he look the part with his armor and horse but he acts the part in protecting Esmeralda and saving the family trapped in a burning house.
Knight Templar: Judge Claude Frollo in a nutshell. He is very much convinced that he is a righteous man of God, but there is nothing righteous or godly about what he does throughout the movie. Clopin tells us all we need to know about him during his introduction:
Judge Claude Frollo longed to purge the world of vice and sin, And he saw corruption everywhere... except within.
In 90% of the music accompanying Frollo, whether song or score, the choir chants "kyrie eleison", which means "Lord, have mercy" in Greek.
The opening fanfare is also reintroduced at the end of "Heaven's Light", makes up the melody during the chorus of "Hellfire", and plays in the instrumental "Sanctuary!" Also, along with "kyrie eleison", "dies irae" is also thrown in at times. "Dies irae" translates into "Day of Wrath."
It's very subtle, but in the scene where Quasimodo is chained up in Notre Dame, and the gargoyles are trying to convince him to save Esmeralda, there is a brief reiteration of a melody from "Out There", in particular the line "Every day they shout and scold, and go about their lives, heedless of the gift it is to be them." The same reiteration first appeared in Frollo's line from "Bells of Notre Dame" when he sings, "Just so he is locked away where no one else can see. Even this foul creature may yet prove one day to be of use to me." Then it briefly comes back in "Topsy Turvy", when the crowd discovers that Quasimodo's face is no mask. Finally, you can last hear it when Quasimodo, Esmeralda and Phoebus step out of the cathedral in front of a crowd at the end of the movie. It can be safely assumed that this melody from "Out There" is Quasimodo's leitmotif.
Phoebus has his own motif as well, a five note, military sounding fanfare on the brass. However, it lets us know from the get-go that Phoebus is a decent man, as unlike Frollo's theme, which is dark and moody, Phoebus' theme is in a major key, and has an uplifting tone to it.
Lighter and Softer: It's definitely lighter in tone than the book. Many of the elements and themes presented in the novel—like Quasimodo's hate and contempt for most people or Phoebus being a jerk trying to take advantage of an innocent young girl—were either changed or taken out completely.
Even more so with the sequel in comparison to the original movie.
Lightning Bruiser: For such a stocky, barrel-chested guy Quasi is remarkably agile and fast
"Thieves, cutpurses, the dregs of humankind, all meshed together in a shallow drunken stupor..."
Lost in Imitation: The film is based quite strongly on the 1939 film version, which is also one of the furthest from the book. Ranging from Frollo being a judge rather than the archdeacon, Phoebus being a genuinely heroic character rather than the jerkass he was in the novel, and the overall story and plot structure being changed completely. With that said, it is still generally considered an enjoyable movie.
And how! Poor Esmeralda must have had some Love Potion No. 9 before the Feast of Fools because everyone wants her. Immediately.
The fact that she's billed as "The Most Beautiful Woman in France" and does a rather provocative dance (including a brief pole dance with a spear) in a rather revealing outfit probably helped.
That and the fact that she (like Pocahontas before her) is drawn visibly more adult than other Disney heroines.
Subverted with Esmeralda, who ironically falls in love with Phoebus at first sight in the book. In the film adaptation, she's both distrusting but fascinated by Phoebus and doesn't necessarily fall for him until she witnesses him saving an innocent family from a burning house after refusing Frollo's order to burn it himself.
Love Hurts: When Quasimodo witnesses Esmeralda's and Phoebus' kiss and realizes that they are in love with each other.
Love Makes You Evil: Frollo's unhealthy obsession with Esmeralda drives the plot. Although in this adaptation, all it did was just send him completely over the edge; the man was pretty evil to begin with.
If the gargoyles are imaginary, who pushed the catapult off the roof? The best theory may be that they're something like Toy Story toys; they decide when to be animate and either can't or won't be animate in front of most humans.
Or somehow Quasimodo did it, even if that seems impossible.
Madonna-Whore Complex: Quasimodo idolizes Esmeralda (who is a good person but is still human), seeing her as a perfect angel in Heaven's Light, while Frollo sees her as a sinful seductress for giving him lustful thoughts, as evidenced best Hellfire. These two songs go straight from one to the other as well.
Meaningful Echo: "Nobody wants to stay cooped up here forever." First said by Quasimodo to a little baby bird that he is encouraging to fly, later said by Laverne to Quasi when she, Victor, and Hugo encourage him to go to the Feast of Fools.
Meaningful Name: Quasimodo means "half formed", Esmeralda means "emerald", and Phoebus means "sun god" (aka Apollo, who was the patron god of many things, including truth and healing).
Frollo's authority is vaguely defined and appears to have no limits, as it seems as far as the movie's concerned he is the Knight Templar dictator of Paris. He commands a sizable garrison in the city, and can slaughter suspects and burn property at will.
In fairness, the movie makes mention of the King and that there is a war that Phoebus was called back from. It's possible that the King is off leading the war effort and Frollo is in charge in his absence.
The gargoyles' goofy jokes often seem out of place, especially when Frollo's running around trying to slaughter the Gypsies:
Hugo: Paris, the City of Lovers, is glowing this evening. True, that's because it's on fire, but still, there's l'amour.
Used intentionally in the "Heaven's Light/Hellfire" sequence: High among the clouds, Quasimodo sings a heartbreakingly beautiful song of love and hope, having finally found some acceptance and affection from Esmeralda, which segues immediately into Frollo all but masturbating over Esmeralda's scarf and fantasizing about burning her at the stake.
Also done, possibly intentionally, in the Feast of Fools sequence. It starts out with a light-hearted, fun musical number, with a dance interlude from Esmeralda. But once the song's over and Quasimodo has been crowned the King of Fools, some Jerkass in the crowd tosses a rotten vegetable at him to see if he can make Quasimodo any uglier. Clopin and the other cheerful characters abruptly disappear, replaced by a cruel mob that ties Quasimodo to a pillory and continues to verbally and physically abuse him until Esmeralda puts a stop to it and rescues him.
Morality Chain: Very, very, very, very few to the point of being nil for Frollo, but there is one that only keeps Frollo in check for a good 50% of the movie: the Archdeacon. He constantly reminds Frollo of his mortality, and, that even though he can deny his atrocities to his subordinates, he can never hide his crimes against the Almighty, constantly reminding Frollo of his place.
All Knowing Singing Narrator: Unlike most narrators, Clopin is actually a significant part of the story, though he enjoys himself far too much considering what is going on.
The Storyteller: The introductory sequence is presented as Clopin singing the story of Quasimodo's adoption to a brace of children.
Never My Fault: One of Frollo's defining personality traits. Anything bad that he does, he blames it on someone else. This includes killing Quasimodo's mother (she ran from his soldiers to protect her son, he ran her down with his horse) and his lust for Esmeralda (blaming Esmeralda herself for the way he feels, even blaming God for allowing the Devil to tempt him). See Blatant Lies. When he figures out Quasimodo helped her escape, he tells Quasimodo that all of Paris is burning because of him, despite the fact that Frollo is the one burning it!
Frollo wears one. The commentary, however, bemoans its existence; apparently it was so difficult to draw that towards the end of the movie the animators had it randomly fall off Frollo's head, just so they wouldn't have to draw it anymore.
Clopin gets a pretty darned nice hat himself. Big blue pirate number, and a feather that has got to be sentient.
Hugo's Esmeralda was, for most of the time, naive, trusting and clueless, almost to the point of idiocy, especially when it came to Phoebus. Disney's Esmeralda is a smart, snarky, resourceful Action Girl.
Hugo's Phoebus was a drunkard, a womanizer and a liar, who swore like sailor. His interest in Esmeralda was only sexual. Disney's Phoebus is a noble, heroic and benevolent young warrior, who is genuinely in love with Esmeralda.
Hugo's Quasimodo was mostly rude, angry and implied to be mentally challenged. He only showed kindness to Frollo and Esmeralda. Disney's Quasimodo is shy, demure and gentle.
Hugo's Frollo was the epitome of a Tragic Villain: he was a genuinely good guy, who had to take care of his young orphaned brother, while being a young orphan himself. He willingly took in and raised Quasimodo. His Start of Darkness began only when he fell in love with Esmeralda, because of his repressed sexuality and the widespread belief that Gypsy = witch and witchcraft = evil. He most certainly never aspired to be a Knight Templar; he preferred purifying himself and devoting himself to science (or whatever passed for science those days). Disney's Frollo is evil long before he even met Esmeralda, he has absolutely no Freudian Excuse and his only redeemable moment throughout the entire movie is a short "God have mercy on her..." at the end of Hellfirewhich is then immediately followed by adding that if she won't be his, then she could burn in Hell.
Parental Abandonment: Frollo claims that Quasimodo's mother abandoned Quasimodo when he was an infant when in reality Frollo murdered her. His dad is presumably dead as well, since he was captured by Frollo's thugs the same night Quasimodo's mom was murdered.
Pet the Dog: Averted. Frollo sparing Quasimodo's life in the prologue and raising him might have been an act of kindness for an otherwise wicked person and even become a redeeming factor if his reasoning wasn't screwed up in the first place and he did right by it. Frollo twists it around for the following reasons. First off, he only does it after the Archdeacon tells him to. Second, he does it simply because he fears God may punish him for his sins. Third, he refuses to allow Quasi into his household, and exiles him to the belltower for the rest of his life. Fourth, he simply sees Quasi as a pawn he may use later on, and never truly accepts him as his son. Fifth, he lies about the death of Quasi's mother instead of revealing the truth when Quasi's ready that he raised him to atone for her death. Sixth, he's completely emotionally abusive towards Quasi, drilling it into his head that he's just a monster whom no one but him could "love".
Politically Incorrect Villain: Frollo compares Gypsies to ants earlier in the movie, and alludes to his genocidal intentions by squishing an ant nest.
Punished for Sympathy: Frollo orders Phoebus to burn down a mill with the miller and his family still inside. Not only does Phoebus refuse, but when Frollo sets the fire himself, he goes in to rescue the family. Frollo would have had him executed for treason right then and there, had Esmeralda not come to the rescue.
Rescue Romance: Played with. Quasimodo falls in love with Esmeralda after she rescues him; Frollo ironically develops his lust for her due to this incident. Esmeralda, on the other hand, is oblivious to the former and is disgusted by the latter. After they rescue each other several times, Esmeralda and Phoebus end up falling for each other, but only when they rescue other people (Phoebus falls for Esmerelda when she rescues Quasimodo, and Esmerelda falls for Phoebus when he rescues the miller's family)
Phoebus: Citizens of Paris! Frollo has persecuted our people! Ransacked our city! And now, he has declared war on Notre Dame herself! Will we allow it?
This was originally intended to be said by Clopin, or at least a combination of Clopin and Phoebus. You have to admit the "persecuted our people" bit would make a little more sense if Clopin said it.
"Our people" in that context likely refers to the French that Frollo terrorized, made homeless, and (probably) murdered innocent people in his obsessive search for Esmeralda. At the very least, a pretty large section of Paris was burning because of Frollo's actions.
It could be argued that at this point, Frollo's actions have (somewhat ironically) united the French and the Gypsies together by attacking their city and Notre Dame, so "Our people" could indeed include everyone who is against Frollo.
The benevolent archdeacon, in contrast to Frollo. In the book, they were the same character.
The cathedral itself, since there are hints that it has a life of its own and is silently watching everything. The fact that a gargoyle on it comes to life to make Frollo fall to his death would back this up. That also applies to the 3 gargoyles. They were sent/brought to life to watch over Quasimodo, thus setting up all the events that have occurred through the film.
Samaritan Relationship Starter: Esmeralda and Phoebus are initially attracted to but wary of each other, but they only fall for each other after each witnesses the other committing a noble and selfless act (e.g. Esmeralda defending Quasimodo from Frollo; Phoebus refusing to burn an innocent family in their house and rescuing them).
The Cathederal of Notre Dame is drawn with perfect accuracy. And when you visit her IRL and slowly come to the realisation that the artist actually painted every single statue correctly as possible, it just gets better. And the medieval statues which were once part of the facade of the cathedral and are now stored in a small museum on the other bank of the Seine.
Seeking Sanctuary Esmeralda does this when Frollo tries to capture her inside Notre Dame.
Quasi and the gargoyles' relationship (and the fact that they can move (and shoot crunched-up rocks at rapid fire speed) even though they are probably imaginary (although Djali and quite a few soldiers would argue)) is similar to the relationship of Calvin and Hobbes.
Beauty and the Beast, considering her brief cameo in the beginning, when Paris is panned and Belle is seen strolling along reading yet another book. She does live in France, after all.
During the scene when Frollo goes out on the parapet after Quasimodo and Esmeralda, Pumbaa appears again as one of the gargoyles. Subverted in that it is modeled after an actual gargoyle on Notre Dame.
The climax, with the dramatic Notre Dame battle between Quasimodo, Esmeralda and Frollo, may have been inspired by the end of Batman, which has Batman, Vicky Vale, and The Joker in a very similar situation atop a gargoyle-filled tower. And like the Joker, Frollo is sent to his doom by a gargoyle statue and Screams Like a Little Girl too. Both even had an ironic choice of last words (Frollo: "And He shall smite the wicked and throw them into the fiery pit!"; Joker: "Sometimes I just kill myself!") In the rare moments when Frollo smiles, he strikingly resembles the Joker.
Straw Hypocrite: For a man of the Church, Frollo is demeaning to his underlings, insulting to the citizens of Paris, boasts about his faith and righteousness, repeatedly denies that feeling lust for Esmeralda is his fault, denies that it's his fault that Quasimodo's mother died (he kicked her in the head hard) and says that he'll find Esmeralda "If I have to burn down all of Paris!" and fully intends to violate the vows of chastity that he's undoubtedly taken in order to have sex with Esmeralda. He also shows complete disregard for Church authority when he tosses the Archdeacon down a flight of stairs for trying to stop him from reaching Quasimodo.
Technically Frollo (in this version) is a judge, and is simply religious (or finds religion convenient for his racism and holier-than-thouness). It's implied several times in the film that his religiousness degrades along with his sanity.
Perhaps best demonstrated by the first line of his Villain Song "Beata Maria you know I am a righteous man, of my virtue I am justly proud", since Pride is considered to be the worst of the seven deadly sins in Christianity and especially Catholicism, this line is essentially an oxymoron even if it wasn't Frollo saying it.
Third-Person Person: Clopin, to judge by his opening narration, although this may have been included solely so the audience would know what his name was (since he isn't called by name at any other point in the movie).
The Stinger: A twelve-second clip of Hugo telling the audience "Goodnight, Everybody!" and engaging in some insane banter plays as the last roll of the credits pops up on the screen.
Timmy in a Well: Djali saves Phoebus and Quasi from hanging by running to get Esmeralda.
Title Drop: In the middle of the Feast of Fools, Clopin crowns Quasimodo with one of these.
Clopin: Ladies and gentlemen, don't panic! We asked for the ugliest face in all Paris, and here it is! Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame!
Several non-English dubs share this title drop, such as Swedish ("Det är Ringaren i Notre Dame!") and Finnish ("Se on Notre Damen kellonsoittaja!"). The Japanese dub of the film, however, changed the movie's title to "The Bells of Notre Dame" because "hunchback" is too much of an insult to say. This introduces other Title Drops, however; particularly the opening and ending song.
Too Dumb to Live: Frollo, when he is telling Quasimodo the truth in how the former killed the latter's mother, then attempted to kill Quasi. At that point, he's just begging to be thrown into the fires below.
Totem Pole Trench: Esmeralda is known for doing this to hide from the soldiers. She does this by carrying Djali on her shoulders and wrapping a blanket around them so they could pass as an old man.
Villain Has a Point: Downplayed, but present. The gypsies all hang out in the Court of Miracles, a bunch of gypsy thieves who make up the criminals of Paris, and who indeed attempt to murder Phoebus and Quasimodo out of hand for finding them, all the while singing a jaunty tune about their crimes. While not all the gypsies are evil, they clearly are aligned with a bunch of bad guys who appear to be mostly gypsies.
What the Hell, Hero?: During the climax, when Quasimodo has given up on trying to save Esmeralda and tells the gargoyles, who are trying to encourage him to save the day, to leave him alone, the gargoyles respond with disappointment. As they revert back to inanimate stone one by one, they deliver this powerful punch to the gut:
Hugo: Okay. Okay, Quasi. We'll leave you alone.
Victor: After all, we're only made out of stone.
Laverne: We just thought maybe you were made of something stronger.
While Paris Burns: When Frollo is threatening to burn down all of Paris (and seems to have already burned down quite a bit of it), the gargoyles are singing about how Quasimodo might have a chance with Esmeralda after all.
Paris, the City of Lovers, is glowing this evening. True, that's because it's on fire, but still, there's l'amour.
Woman in White: Esmeralda in the climax when she's sentenced to be burnt at the stake.
Would Hit a Girl/Would Hurt a Child: Frollo shows us within the first five minutes of the film that he is perfectly able to murder a woman and attempt to drown her infant in a well. He later tried to burn down an innocent family alive in their house and burn a woman at the stake because he couldn't have her.
You Monster!: An indirect version. In the opening song, narrator Clopin asks "Now here is a riddle to guess if you can: Who is the monster and who is the man?" Frodo does call baby Quasimodo a monster when he sees that the child is misformed, and tries to kill him for it. You can probably figure out on your own to which character the riddle alludes.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II provides the following tropes (along with many of the above):
Adult Fear: Zephyr's disappearance and Sarousch using him as a hostage.
Hollywood Fire: Interesting averted, it's not the fire that kills Esmeralda but the smoke she inhaled.
Mad Dreamer: Quasimodo. Here it's made explicit the gargoyles are in his imagination to help him cope with his loneliness.
Pet the Dog: Instead of saying Quasi would be "of use to him" when he takes him in an act of guilt because of killing his mother (in the film), Frollo says he will take him in as a son. Subverted in that Frollo still only vists Quasi in the bell tower to bully him, telling him that he should stay in "sanctuary" in the bell tower because he is "ugly" and "deformed."
Playing Gertrude: Frollo is now played by a actor who looks to be middle-aged, rather than as an old man like in the Disney film.