This week, Deep in the Plus resurfaces with a look at one of Disney’s less memorable animated films from the 1990s, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Released in the summer of 1996 in the wake of some of the most popular Disney films of all time – The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King – Hunchback has faded from memory despite its box-office success.
In the film, set in the late 15th century, Quasimodo (voiced by Tom Hulce) lives a sheltered life as the bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. However, he longs to be “out there” amid the people rather than locked away in his bell tower. Meanwhile his master, Frollo (Tony Jay), is on a mission to purge the city of gypsies, including the lovely young Esmeralda (Demi Moore). Quasimodo helps to rescue her from Frollo, and in doing so sees Frollo’s villainy as well as the possibility of being accepted by others.
While far less dark than the Victor Hugo novel on which it is based, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is still widely considered Disney’s darkest animated film. Rob and Jill take a look at what makes it so dark and how it differs from other films of the Disney Renaissance period. Is it worth a watch when there are so many titles to choose from on Disney+?
Plus, get extra bonus recommendations as Rob and Jill present their “Deep Pick of the Week.” Hint: one of this week’s picks honors the birthday of a beloved Disney icon…
If you missed it, you can also go back and check out the debut episode of Deep in the Plus where we talk about the 1992 live-action musical Newsies.
Get notified of new Deep in the Plus episodes each week by subscribing at YouTube.com/WDWNT. You can also follow Deep in the Plus on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on each week’s picks.