Wow. I’ve never seen this before and was convinced I wouldn’t really like it. But it surprised me in a positive way. I really like the characters of Phoebus and Esmeralda, and I really despise Frollo (which I guess is a good thing, considering he’s a villain!). 1. My overall impression of the movie… Several things: I never knew that Quasimodo means “half-formed”, although I recognize the root words in both parts of his name! I learned something new!! I really like Esmeralda, and I think that she is (at least in part) a model for Megara in “Hercules” coming up. A “damsel in distress”, but clearly in charge of her life and willing to fight for what she thinks is right. I like them both!! (Does this mean I have to start collecting pins for Esmeralda?). I knew the goat’s name was Djali, but I never knew it was pronounced “Jolly”! Voice alert! The archdeacon sounds just like Cogsworth (and Governor Ratcliffe, and Wiggins and Jumbaa Jookiba), but it didn’t bother me a bit… I kind of liked it. On the other hand, I found Hugo (the gargoyle voiced by Jason Alexander) to be incredibly annoying but I’m not sure it’s the voice or what they made him say (to be fair, I think they made Hugo the annoying one because of who voiced him). 2. (and 8.) I really thought about analyzing Frollo because he’s so evil and there’s so much to talk about, but I’ll get to him later. So instead I chose to analyze Phoebus. In many ways he serves as a foil to Frollo, pointing out to the audience how terrible Frollo is simply by being decent and noble, and therefore so different from Frollo. Phoebus’s initial interactions with the cityfolk are to view the gypsies as performers (giving them some $$), in contrast to Frollo’s henchman who toe the party line of gypsies as thieves. Phoebus interferes, helping the gypsies escape and foiling the “constables” because it is the right thing to do. He isn’t buying in to the prejudices about the gypsies, and that makes him noble. He also shows that he’s quite smart, recognizing Esmeralda/Djali instantly, but also returning their coins instead of apprehending them. Phoebus was brought it to be “the law” according to Frollo (Captain of the Guard). Phoebus was initially annoyed at this, asking Frollo incredulously if he was really brought back from the wars to “capture fortune tellers and palm readers?” However, Phoebus still keeps his sense of what is right, and has no qualms of standing up to Frollo when he is wrong—refusing to burn a family trapped in their home. This earns him the ire of Frollo, but cements his role as hero that is not always defined by who is the LAW and who is an OUTLAW (this makes him very much like Robin Hood!). Also very interesting is Phoebus’s and Frollo’s initial responses to Esmeralda’s dancing in the red dress. Frollo says that it is a “disgusting display”, while Phoebus is openly admiring Esmeralda with an “eye of interest” (lust). Phoebus is always open and honest about his feelings for her. He finds her beautiful, but he also sees a good soul and a good friend to Quasimodo. He acts gallantly toward her, and they end up finding romance together. Frollo’s initial response, on the other hand, is rather duplicitous. He pretends to be horrified by her dancing, but later (alone in his room) we find that Frollo is also smitten with her (also: PREDATOR ALERT—Did you see the way he smelled her hair in the church? Creepy…). However, unlike Phoebus, he doesn’t own up to his feelings, instead insisting that she must have cast a spell on him to make him want her. Instead of admitting that he is human and prone to the feelings of human (base as they are), he blames the object of his obsession for his obsession (“Did you see the way she was dressed? The way she danced? She bewitched me, so it’s all her fault and I am still the guiltless victim as I slaughter everyone I can to find her!”). Also, if Frollo really were pious, then he would fight these feelings instead of trying to burn all of Paris to find her—not to punish her (unless she rejected him) but to get her to be his conquest. Phoebus proves to be a hero once again when he lies to Frollo, saying that Esmeralda claimed sanctuary in the church even though she didn’t. I understand that she doesn’t trust him (as evidenced by the fight/foreplay in the cathedral) but he does the stand-up thing and saves her from the villain, albeit temporarily. Phoebus, as the golden boy in this film, is an obvious comparison to John Smith in “Pocahontas”. The characters are supposed to be rather similar (although John Smith starts out believing the lies/prejudices about the savages while Phoebus never did) and eventually side with the outcasts, finding love with one of them. The character of Phoebus is more believable and likable—in part due to the voices of Mel Gibson and Kevin Kline—but also due to the difference in being converted to help those who need your help only because one of them is so pretty versus always being on the side of right but taking a bit of time to figure out which side that is. Phoebus, FTW! He also has two of my favorite puns in the movie: (1) Said to his horse as he is walking him on the streets of Paris, “Achilles—Heel!” (2) Said to Esmeralda in their cathedral fight after Djali head-butts him, “I didn’t know you had a kid!” 3. and 4. and 8. The song I chose to analyze was the introductory song, “The Bells of Notre Dame”. It starts out sort of reminiscent of “Beauty and the Beast” (the song “Belle”) on the streets of a French city with the lady pouring water out of her window and the merchants setting up their wares (“There goes the baker with his trays, like always; the same old bread and rolls to sell.”). But the opening feels much darker than “Beauty and the Beast”; I wonder if that’s the difference between the big city versus the quiet village, but it does feels like the city is oppressed under the sheer size of the cathedral. The song is used to introduce the children (and audience) to the story of Quasimodo and it also introduces Clopin. It also hints that this is the story of a man and a monster (more later in 6.). Then we meet Judge Frollo and learn of his reprehensible behaviors (murdering a girl, intending to murder her child) and his sanctimonious beliefs that he used to rationalize away any crimes he may have committed. Clearly, he views himself as the Law, and therefore claims that he is guiltless. The archdeacon did guilt Frollo into taking care of the child (fearing for his immortal soul), but Frollo made it clear that he saw the child as a foul creature that must be locked away from the public but he also saw the child as a pawn, as someone that may be of use to him in the future. Although this film was made first, I saw it after “Tangled” so in my view it is taking from “Tangled” when in fact it is the opposite. Still, the connections to HBNT and “Tangled” are obvious. • Frollo = Mother Gothel. Both are using and abusing a child put in their care. Both locked the child in a tower far from the eyes of the world (Frollo to protect the world—and his public image—from the creature whose only sin is to look different; Gothel to protect her golden flower from the world so that she alone could use its power). Both pretend to be looking out for the child’s best interest, but both lie to the child about the child’s origin, and are more concerned about themselves and their desires. Both had their child escape from the tower and both seemed to delight in saying “I told you so” when their child was initially abused by the world. Both also fell to their deaths from the very tower they locked their child in, after trying to murder Quasimodo/Flynn and revealing themselves as the villains that they are. • As such, Quasimodo = Rapunzel. Both are locked away, both have dreamed of going down there to see the world, both eventually do—finding it to initially be scary and dangerous, but both learn whom to trust, find friends, and see that the world is not ALL bad (just their guardians). • Interestingly, Phoebus = Flynn. This makes for a differing comparisons because in HBNT Quasimodo and Phoebus are friends (and rivals for Esmeralda) while in “Tangled” Rapunzel and Flynn become romantically linked. Still, both start out on the “wrong side of the law” (which for Phoebus means BEING the law) but change sides as they interact with the child (and Esmeralda, in the case of Phoebus). • No surprise that Achilles = Maximus. Two horses working for the Man, more horse than man (i.e., not talking), who eventually find that they are on the side of the hero (Phoebus/Flynn) and helping the “damsel in distress”. 6. and 7. (and 8.) The phrase I chose to analyze came from the “Bells of Notre Dame” song: “Now here is a riddle to guess if you can (Sing the bells of Notre Dame) who is the monster and who is the man.” The goal of the film is to get us to look beyond physical appearances and judge each character not by how they look but by what they do (the same goal as “Beauty and the Beast”). Throughout the film we see that some people look nice but are evil (Frollo), some look evil but are nice (Quasimodo), and others look and act nice (Esmeralda, Phoebus) or look and act evil (Frollo’s henchmen). 9. Is it so wrong that I like this scene? After all, “He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!” 10. This is a really cool pin, with Quasimodo ringing the “Bells of Notre Dame” (10518).