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Western Animation / The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Golden Films)

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This is the 1996 Golden Films Animated Adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the Victor Hugo novel), which strangely was released near the date of the Disney adaptation.

The story is about the hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo, and a gypsy girl called Melody. The troubles are caused by Jean Claude, an arrogant, greedy killjoy who wants to stop Melody because he thinks she diminishes the taxes.


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The film has examples of:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: Quasimodo's deafness from the books is absent. Not only that; he ceases being a hunchback.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: Quasimodo and Melody marry and supposedly will live happily ever after, in contrast to the Kill ’Em All of the book.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Quasimodo cannot really be called ugly, unlike Victor Hugo's creepy one. He even becomes handsome at the ending.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Pierre is turned into Jean Claude's comic relief sidekick.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the book, Pierre was an unfortunate poet. Here, he's working for the Big Bad. He's not that bad of a guy, though.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The gypsy is not Esmeralda, but Melody. Since there's no reason to believe the creators of this ever read the book, it's possible they incorrectly assumed the name Esmeralda was owned by Disney and thus replaced her with a Captain Ersatz for nonexistent legal reasons.
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  • Adapted Out: Almost all the characters. The only characters who really avert this are Quasimodo and Pierre. Melody and Jean Claude are modified characters.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Melody's instruments and a decorative bell chain.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Jean Claude and his glutton father, the Baron.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The story supposedly happens in medieval France, but in the opening song the people are wearing clothes of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Can Can appeared in 1830 and yet the opening song is a Standard Snippet of the Can Can.
    • The song "When I'm Looking at You" includes references to alarm clocks and telephones.
    • Frollo or Jean Claude or whoever has an aerosol spray can... in the Middle Ages.
    • At one point, Jean Claude threatens Melody with the guillotine. Of course, the guillotine was invented during The French Revolution, centuries after the Middle Ages. But guillotines are old-timey and associated with France, so close enough, right?
  • Beautiful All Along: Quasimodo was handsome.
  • Beauty Mark: Melody has one on her left cheek.
  • Broken Aesop: The movie is supposed to teach that True Beauty Is on the Inside, but Quasimodo became beautiful, so the moral is: looks don't matter as long as you're handsome. Not helping by the fact that Quasimodo doesn't even look grotesque in the first place and that Quasimodo never does anything noble or heroic during the whole film.
  • Big Bad: Jean Claude.
  • Big Eater: Jean Claude's father the Baron. Any time you see him, he is always eating in some manner.
  • Cain and Abel: Quasimodo and Jean Claude are brothers. The latter imprisoned the former in Notre Dame.
  • Composite Character: Jean Claude is a composite character of Claude Frollo, his brother Jehan, Phoebus and even Gaston.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Jean Claude is a stereotypical, mustached villain.
  • Disneyfication: Exaggerated. This adaptation eliminated all the violence, and even the religious context.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Melody is a prime example of this and so are a number of background gypsies, namely women. She's even barefoot at her wedding, at which she is wearing a full wedding dress.
  • Expy: Jean Claude is a blatant one to Gaston from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
  • Everybody Lives: Yes, everybody lives. Including the bad guys.
  • Fat Bastard: The Baron is fat and doesn't care for the citizens.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Exaggerated. Quasimodo and Melody marry after having known each other for only a few days.
  • Gratuitous French:
    • Jean Claude often has a habit of doing this. Such cases include calling himself “Le Grande Fromage” (Which translates to "The Big Cheese"), and when he uses a Lasso, he says “Le Yee Haw!”.
    • Even more grating is when they try to do a pun, by showing an image of toes, and singing “Château”. "Château" is French for "castle" and is also used to refer to a manor house, and nothing to do with feet or toes.
  • Greed: Jean Claude's motivation.
  • The Grotesque: Quasimodo averts this trope. Even before his appearance change, Quasimodo isn't really ugly. His hunchback status happened because his stepfather forced him to work in the cathedral.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Melody to Quasimodo, although he can barely be considered a hero.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Melody and a few background gypsy women.
  • Hot Witch: Melody is an actual witch and is pretty.
  • Hunk: Jean Claude, being an Expy of Gaston, is handsome and very muscular. At the climax, Quasimodo is revealed to be a hunk himself.
  • Informed Deformity: Quasimodo is supposed to be a hunchback, but he slouches at worst.
  • In Name Only: The narrative is completely different. This seems more of a Beauty and the Beast story than one of the Hunchback. The Disney version had more to do with the source material than this. The trope also extends to the few remnants of the book, especially Quasimodo, who is nor ugly nor a real hunchback.
  • Jerkass: Jean Claude.
  • Jesus Taboo: Aside from being set around a cathedral, this adaptation largely avoids religious references.
  • Karma Houdini: Jean Claude and his father aren't the best rulers (or the audience is supposed to believe so in the case of the former) and they get off scot-free. The former escaped and the latter stayed as a guest during the ending.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Pierre, the minion of Jean Claude.
  • Neck Lift: Jean Claude has a habit of doing this to Pierre. Considering their size difference, it's not that hard.
  • Not: Treated like an original joke by the bats.
    Phelous: Yeah, not! Hahahahaha! Not funny!
  • Off-Model: A lot. The characters often move their faces weirdly and have some of their parts vanish in some scenes. The bats don't move their mouths at one point.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Or rather, lisp slipping in this case. In one scene, Pierre (who speaks with a lisp) briefly talks without one during a conversation with Jean Claude.
    Phelous: (impersonating Pierre) I don't suppose you know where my lisp went?
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Half of Quasimodo's face is covered by his hair. It's not hiding any deformities like the character is supposed to have.
  • Plot Hole: Melody's song implies that her magical powers are just part of her imagination, but if that was true, that would mean the instruments aren't real and therefore they couldn't tell Quasimodo not to play the bell. If all is real, why doesn't she escape from the jail?
  • Produce Pelting: That's how Jean Claude is banished.
  • Shaped Like Itself: At one point, Jean-Claude says "Doing anything against the law is illegal."
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Quasimodo. Well, Every One, really?
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: This movie focuses a lot more on Melody's instruments and Jean Claude instead of Quasimodo and Melody. Seriously, name a scene that doesn't have the instruments talking or doing anything.
  • Talking Animal: The Bats of Notre Dame can do some dialogs.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Quasimodo drops one to Jean Claude, calling him an oppresor.
  • The Theme Park Version: Not only the film, but the opening song. The opening song is just reduced to stereotypes about Paris.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: Quasimodo vs. Jean Claude. Subverted at the climax because Quasimodo was Beautiful All Along.
  • Villainous Crush: Well, "crush" is pushing it with Jean Claude's attitude towards Melody. He admits that he finds her attractive, but his attitude is solely based on her appearance rather than her personality traits or anything else.


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