HUNCHBACK like almost all of the modern Disney films has a split personality. One the one hand it wanted to broaden the notion of what most usually think of as a Disney film and on the other it wanted to be a rolicking kiddie flick. These goals are so oppositve that the movie was doomed to fail. However, there is much to praise in HUNCHBACK.
I adore it's sondtrack. It's the most complicated, interesting, daring soundtrack the studio has ever come up with. Just ignore that awful Gargoyle mess that is "A Guy Like You" (that spilt personality rears it's head in every aspect of the film).
The artistry in backgrounds, character design, animation and effects are astounding. Undeniably, HUNCHBACK is the height of modern Dsiney artistry. I'm floored by it's beauty every time I watch it. Numerous times during my first viewing I had tears and sharp intakes of breath from visuals alone.
Combine the daring music and astounding visuals with a story that is mainly a very dark, deep and moving story and you've got an amazing experience. But to fully appreciate it you have to sit through lame goat jokes and childish Gargoyles continually barging in and ruining the experience.
I love HUNCHBACK but there is no denying it is a very flawed film. I also agree with Roy Disney that this was not a story that Disney should have tackled to begin with. Disney is a family-friendly comapny but the Hunchback story is not a simple easy story, in fact it's controversial. I'm amazed that it was ever green lit. To do it justice Disney would have had to ignore much of their core audinece. I think they did the best that they could have. This is a case where all the success of films like MERMAID, BEAUTY & THE BEAST and LION KING went to everyones heads. They figured they could do anything and forgot who they were. Still, I wouldn't trade HUNCHBACK. Without it I would have missed out on many hours of wonder and joy.
I thank Disney for the wonderful mess that is THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.