Here we have it, folks…the single, absolute worst of the Disney DTV sequels. In fact, this is probably the single worst animated film the company has ever produced. To start with, it inherited some serious problems from its source. The original Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame film gets treated as though it were better than it actually is, largely because it’s comparatively dark for a Disney film and features superb voice acting, animation and songs. But all that can’t make up for the film’s spectacularly bad choice of source material, an absolute trainwreck of a script, and a wildly indecisive tone.
Well, this film fixes the tonal problems, but at the cost of burying the film under an avalanche of inane sugar, and is even more of an insult to Victor Hugo than its predecessor. In addition, most of the aesthetic compensations the first film offered are obliterated here. The voice acting is still strong, and serves as the film’s only redeeming features—all of the original leads returned, and Jennifer Love Hewitt does a fine job as new love interest Madeleine, actually making you care a little about her relationship with Quasimodo in spite of the horrible writing.
But the animation is grotesquely bad, even by the Saturday-morning cartoon standard set by the other DTV sequels. It’s so atrocious that the original film’s cutesy Quasimodo actually starts to look truly ugly again. And the songs are simply indescribable: they are quite literally the worst collection of songs I’ve ever heard in a Disney movie. Granted, the opening musical number establishing the “Festival of Love” the plot hinges on, “Le Jour D’Amour”, isn’t much worse than mediocre, but items like the tuneless “Ordinary Miracles”, the sickeningly cutesy “I’d Stick With You”, and the idiotic “Fa La La La Fallen In Love” make the most notorious Disney scores in history (Robin Hood, The Rescuers, Pete’s Dragon) look like masterpieces by comparison.
There are other terrible titles in the Disney DTV sequels line, but none of them even approach this loathsome garbage in terms of pure incompetence.