Right at the high point in the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s, came a little musical animated film inspired by one of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And for Disney’s reputation for being somewhat family-friendly, Hunchback is perhaps one of the darkest of the bunch.
From one minute snorting a laugh at the “Achilles, heel” joke to the tearjerker of Esmerelda’s plea “God help the outcasts”, the film has everything that makes a Disney film perfect, even playing with pacing at times similar to films released before and after. It just brings something unique and individual.
After the fire at the titular cathedral in 2019, seeing Notre Dame in flames towards the climax of the film all the more haunting to watch. Add in an Academy Award-nominated soundtrack from Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken, which makes full use of the orchestra to bring to life the city, and a Metacritic score higher than the original Mulan, Hunchback of Notre Dame is a beloved classic from start to finish.
Check out the trailer below: