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Book Review: The Art of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Book Review: The Art of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is inspired by Victor Hugo's literary masterpiece Notre-Dame de Paris. This art book is very heavy into character development and the historic influences. The first chapter is on Victor Hugo and his story of Notre Dame, including a short biography. There's much of how the characters are created and influenced by Victor Hugo's life, and the little changes Disney made to adapt it as a movie.

Throughout the book, there are sections introduced writing about the cultural settings. E.g. About Notre Dame, Gypsies, how people hold feasts, etc.

Character writeup are for Esmeralda, Quasimodo, Frollo (the villain) and other miscellaneous characters. There are plenty of accompanying character sketches and film stills. Characteristics for main characters are laid out, and the role they play in the film explained in detail.

There's a chapter on the architecture and the drawings are exquisite, as expected from Paris. The text explains how the buildings are designed to convey the mood suitable for the movie.

Finally, there's the talk on the overall theme of the movie, the light vs the dark. They are placed in the movie as different metaphors, like light and shadow, good vs evil. Every character in the film is an outcast in his/her circumstance.

The book's focus is on the characters and storytelling.

Special thanks to Kelvin Chan for providing the book for this short review.

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