It’s time for another Disney+ battle. In this article, I will be comparing and contrasting two popular films from the Disney Renaissance. Both give family friendly takes on other cultures. One focuses on Greece while the other focuses on France. And neither of them really convey those cultures properly. But, we aren’t here to judge them on historical accuracy but my own subjective format to determine which film is “better.” So, let’s compare “Hercules” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

1. PROTAGONIST

The main character of “Hercules” is, of course, Hercules; the son of Zeus who becomes a man thanks to the shenanigans of the sinister Hades. Hercules is too strong for his own good, but learns how to control his strength and prevent Hades’ evil plan and save Megara despite giving up his strength at the worst possible time. In contrast, the main character of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is Quasimodo, a hunchback who lives in the Notre Dame cathedral. He just wants to live a regular life but is being manipulated by Frodo to believe no one will accept him. He eventually befriends Esmeralda who stands up for him but also learns a valuable lesson that sometimes the main character doesn’t get the girl. Both are great leads, but I believe Quasimodo’s motives are purer. Point to “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Hercules 0 | The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1

2. ANTAGONIST

The villain in “Hercules” is Hades, the god of the underworld. He is Zeus’ brother and is jealous of Zeus’ amazing life on Mount Olympus. So, he hatches a plan to kidnap Zeus’ son and kill him even though Hercules is immortal. Eventually, he seeks to use the titans to take over Mount Olympus. Honestly, he’s a lot like Scar from “The Lion King.” The villain in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is Frollo, a judge in Paris who thinks he’s enforcing God’s will. He attempts to murder both Quasimodo and Esmeralda. He finds himself lusting after Esmeralda and blames her because, in his eyes, he can do no wrong. While the mythological Hades is far more powerful, Frollo is something we see in everyday life. To me, that’s scarier because it’s a tangible evil. Frollo may be the most evil Disney villain ever. Point to “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Hercules 0 | The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

3. SUPPORTING CHARACTERS

Both of these films have some absolutely great supporting characters. “Hercules” gives us Megara, Philoctetes, Zeus, Hera, Pain, Panic and the Muses. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” gives us Esmeralda, Phoebus, and the Gargoyles. All are amazing, but I think I like the supporting characters in “Hercules” a little better. Point to “Hercules.”

Hercules 1 | The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

4. MUSIC

In a battle of two films from the Disney Renaissance, you know there is going to be some great music. “Hercules” features one of the greatest early songs from the Muses. Plus, “Go the Distance” is an absolute great song that perfectly encapsulates both the protagonist’s “want song” and the hero’s journey. Plus, Megara has one of the best songs in the Disney canon. Usually, you have to be the main character like Ariel or Belle to get a strong song like that, but Megara; who is the female lead, but is obviously not the main character; nails it. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is more about the score than the songs. Yes, “God Bless the Outcasts” is a beautiful song that sets up the story very well. But, the score does a great job of driving the narrative. Both have amazing music, but I’m going to give the point to “Hercules.”

Hercules 2 | The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2


5. MEMORABLE MOMENTS

Now, it’s time for the most subjective of these categories. What is memorable to one person may not be memorable to someone else and vice versa. The memorable parts of “Hercules,” to me, are his birthday party, the Muses, “Go the Distance,” Phil training Hercules, Hercules giving up his powers, Hercules diving to save Meg, and Hercules giving up immortality to be with her. The memorable parts of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” to me, are Frollo finding Quasimodo, Quasimodo winning at the festival, the Gargoyles, Quasimodo and Phoebus trying to rescue Esmeralda and her tribe, and the battle at Notre Dame. To me, “Hercules” is slightly more memorable. Point to “Hercules.”

Hercules 3 | The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

“Hercules” wins this battle but it was very close. Both of these are excellent Disney Renaissance films that I suggest any Disney fan check out. But, I want to know which film do you prefer?






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Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.

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