Friday, November 26, 2010

Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame

Those of you who know me will probably know that I used to be fluent in French, and I was a complete francophile for many years. I still love the culture and the language and hold it in high esteem, even though my speaking and comprehension is a tad rusty from disuse. I can still read through my Docteur Justice collection though!

At the time Disney's film Hunchback of Notre Dame came out, I wasn't really that into Disney films, and by then I'd kind of distanced myself from them because of what I'd heard about how their company works. I can admire the skill and expertise of their work, but at the same time I don't really like the company at all.

But it was a surprisingly good film, with an equally surprising amount of bold statements about society, corruption, herd behaviour, and real evil.

To be honest, my favourite version of the story was always the 1939 version. I know I'm not alone in this one. It was the 'why was I not made of stone, like thee?' one. That one will always stick in my mind as being the definitive film adaptation.

However, Disney's version of the story takes a different angle and does it very well. It has a message that is very applicable, especially now: one of not being complacent and obeying, simply because an edict comes from someone with a title, one of tolerance for those who are different and those who may not be a part of our lives, and one of doing what is right, even if you are the only one who does so. It's a great statement of what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong, and it really doesn't pull any punches. It surprised me, and very much, for being a Disney film. But, like many fairy tales, Disney films are also often unfairly regarded as sugar-coating things. They don't really, most of the time. Just enough to keep things a little rosy, especially in this case. There was plenty of sadness, plenty of that 'reality' that people keep going on about...plenty to show that they were firmly in touch with what is going on.

I say this is definitely one to give a watch. Maybe it will inspire you as it did me.

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