Recently I watched this little treasure *cough* with my 9, 6 and 4 year old nephews and niece. Has any of you watched this film? It is _NOT_ for children - at all. The plot has murder in it, tons of violence like attempted burning of villagers inside their own house, a merciless hunt for Esmeralda with the accompanying burning down of Paris, a song where Claude Frollo sings about hell and damnation and his obcession with Esmeralda and why he wants to kill her, all painted in red and with flames.
A lot of the score is based on "dies irae" which means days of wrath. Dies irae is a mideaval hymn and has been used in other movies as well, like in The seventh seal (Ingmar Bergman made this movie in 1957).
Victor Hugo wrote a historic story for adults about mideaval Paris with serious and also dark themes like inquisition, executions, obcession, madness, love, religion and tragedy - why Disney had to take this story and turn into an animated motion picture where the only highlight were talking gargoyles I'll never know. Don't watch this film with your children, they'll have nightmares afterwards. It was rated G here, it should be at least PG 13 or even R.
This is a movie for adults because the plot is dark and violent, and the humerous and lighthearted intermissions can't really make up for that. Movies for children can have serious themes and sad story elements (like in the Lion King when papa lion is killed by the stampede caused by his own brother - the fratricide was pretty well disguised in the plot come to think of it) but not like this. Lion King was mainly a coming of age sort of story while The Hunchback is a tragedy from the outset. The whole film starts with a murder of a young mother and attempted murder of a baby for crying out loud - not something that I would confront a 6 year old with. Welll, that is all I have to say about that.