I wanted to talk pretty much about two things. About a musical that really charmed me and about a silly Disney cartoon I watched when I was a kid, both apparently following the story of Victor Hugo's novel "Notre-Dame de Paris", but ehhh...
Well... I have been absolutely amazed after seeing the musical version from 1999. The music was really pretty, I loved the songs, some of them got stuck in my head for good and I know one of them by heart. It's a good thing I learnt some French to appreciate it. I haven't read the book, but as a managed to find out, the musical follows the book pretty closely and actually delivers the main story well though the beautiful songs. Everyone performed extremely well in my opinion and put a lot of heart in it. I was in awe. And now at least I know the actual story which is extremely good. Quite sad, touching, dramatic, but... amazing. The main character is Esmeralda, everything is in fact happening around her as others fall in love with her.
Now Disney... I don't know what to say. I guess they made a cartoon which back then was okay to watch as a kid, but... Did they really make an adaptation of the same book? I just don't get it... Either they completely butchered the story, because why the heck not, or they just borrowed the setting and the names from the book while making up the story completely on their own, disregarding anything Victor Hugo wrote. If somebody asks me what differences there are, I'm going to say this question should be asked the opposite way: what is there even in common? I really don't know. Quasimodo is the main focus. Frollo is a judge instead of an archdeacon and his character is completely flattened to a plain villain who's simply evil and that's about it, while he seemed to in fact be a really tragic character and it feels unfair to reduce him to a total prick. And then Phoebus... How on earth could they turn that guy into a hero when he was the biggest son of a bitch in the whole story, all things considered? He'd never marry Esmeralda. He just wanted to fuck her and leave.
Okay, I apologise to all those who liked Disney's animated film and I guess those 3 silly gargoyles were fun and all, but it feels so weird now, seeing such a good story killed and reduced to a couple of clichés. Perhaps that's what's suitable for the kids and that's why they did it, but then it makes me wonder why they even picked to make an animated film for kids out of such a dramatic novel. Perhaps some people still like it, so please don't be upset with my criticism. It still wasn't my favourite Disney film even back then when I didn't know the real story, it was at most "okay". But now I just don't like it at all, sorry.
Anyway... I have a friend who really wants to watch the fantastic musical, so I'll be streaming Notre Dame de Paris (1999) some time soon, maybe later today or tomorrow. I got English subtitles for it, so I encourage you to come join too, you don't have to know French to appreciate it. If you're interested in watching, tell me, I'll try to notify you directly. Even if musicals and theatrical stuff aren't your thing, you might like this one. It's really amazing.