My least favourite so far of the animated adaptations
Coming from someone who enjoyed Burbank Animation Studios' animations as a kid, and liked most of them even with their limitations re-visiting them on old VHS at 20, I really wanted to like this. But I do find Hunchback of Notre Dame one of their weaker outings along with The Little Drummer Boy, and my least favourite also of the animated adaptations(the best being Disney's, then Burbank Films Australia's with Jetlag's a distant third). It is not all bad, Quasimodo is suitably grotesque and moving while having a lot of the characteristics that Quasimodo should do and Esmeralda, a character I have always preferred on screen than in the book, is suitably sympathetic. There are some details from Hugo's novel that translate here, and some like with Quasimodo's unrequited love for Esmeralda quite well. However, the animation wasn't great for me, most of the character designs could've done with being a lot less stiff, the backgrounds lacked detail and the colours are generally flat. The music has been better before with Burbank Animation Studios, it doesn't rouse or sparkle. Sure, I wasn't expecting Gothic charm or grand opera-style but the music just didn't seem to be all that memorable. The story is understandably lighter in tone, an adult story adapted in a little-over-50 minute animation with children as the main target audience, however the pace felt rushed, the lighter tone may make it not so easy to watch from an adult perspective and when this tone is a little less so and perhaps darker I worry that the target audience may find it too sophisticated or hard to follow. The script also is rather corny, and apart from Quasimodo and Esmeralda the characters just didn't engage me, Frollo especially comes across as clichéd. The voice acting is poor on the whole with a mixture of passive and overdone. Overall, of the animated adaptations and of BAS's animations The Hunchback of Notre Dame was the one that impressed me least. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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