My two favorite CAMH soundtracks
The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Prince of Egypt are my two favorite animated movie soundtracks, Hunchback my favorite Disney soundtrack and Prince of Egypt my favorite non-Disney soundtrack. They are somewhat similar in style and both have religious undertones, so I thought it would be fun to write and article comparing the two.
: The Bells of Notre Dame vs. Deliver Us
The Bells of Notre Dame- This is the epic opener to Hunchback. The theme repeated throughout Hunchback is first heard in this song. It is the story of how Quasi became the bellringer and poses the moral question the entire movie strives to answer: Who is the monster and who is the man? Done with wonderful melody, accompaniment, and Clopin’s singing, this is a song hard to beat.
Deliver Us- Deliver Us has several movements. The common thread uniting these songs is the tune of the river lullaby and Miriam’s song. It summarizes the oppression the Israelites have faced for centuries, as well as telling the story of a boy whose family spared him by sending him down the river in a basket. In the midst of the theme of oppression, we have a ray of hope in the form of Moses’s survival and the hope God may send the Israelites a deliverer.
Summary: This is the most difficult. But ultimately, Deliver Us can’t beat the drama of The Bells of Notre Dame.
Two epic openings
Hunchback: 1/ The Prince of Egypt: 0
“I Want” Song
: Out There vs. All I Ever Wanted (Queen’s Reprise)
Out There: Out There opens with Frollo telling Quasi he must never leave the bell tower. It’s one of the most intimidating moments of the movie. Quasi agrees, but then sings about how he wishes he could leave and the joys of being “out there.” Out There generally tugs at your heartstrings and makes you really sympathize with the guy.
All I Ever Wanted (Queen’s Reprise): This is one of the more unique “I Want” songs. Most “I Want” songs are about how the hero(ine) wants something s/he doesn’t have. In All I Ever Wanted, on the other hand, Moses sings about how his greatest desire is exactly what he has after being threatened with the thought that it isn’t real. Usually, if another character has a part in the song, it is to rebut what the hero want (think Belle and Out There.) In Queen’s Reprise, however, the queen tells Moses to ignore the fact that he is a Hebrew and that he should remain a member of the Egyptian royal family. I also love the flutes playing in the background of both segments of the song.
Summary: While Out There is heartwarming, All I Ever Wanted (Queen’s Reprise) is far more unique, as well as having wonderful accompaniment.
Heartwarming vs. original
Hunchback: 1/ The Prince of Egypt: 1
: Heaven’s Light/ Hellfire vs. Playing with the Big Boys Now
Heaven’s Light/ Hellfire: Alright, what do I even need to say? Offset by the prelude of Quasi’s beautiful love song and the monks’ chant, Frollo sings this powerful song in which he believes the deepest low of his sin is the pinnacle of his righteousness. This song reveals to us the twisted psyche of our villain, addressing all the taboos of children’s movies: lust, rape, and religious corruption. And those of us who love villain songs (and who doesn’t?) couldn’t be happier.
Playing with the Big Boys: Playing with the Big Boys is the basic structure of the villain song. Starting off gently and just tantalizingly menacing, it quickly escalates into a frantic medley of the names of Egyptian gods and Hotep and Hui singing “You’re playing with the big boys now.” Sure, the lyrics aren’t poetry, but this song a fun ride while they’re singing them.
Summary: Need I even explain?
Menacing and dark vs. typical villain song structure
Hunchback: 2/ Prince of Egypt: 1
: God Help the Outcasts vs. When You Believe
God Help the Outcasts: After being trapped in Notre Dame, Esmeralda sings this song about the woes of her people. My absolute favorite part is the beginning when she asks the stature of Mary “Were you once an outcast too?” I love it so much because, in the time when she lived, Mary would have been an outcast for being an “adulteress” because she was pregnant with Jesus before marrying Joseph. While those around her ask for prosperity, Esmeralda, who has more to ask for than any of the others, prays only for the good of her people. The melody is beautiful, and the lyrics inspiring.
When You Believe: After the final plague, Ramses tells Moses he must go. While Moses is depressed because he has lost his brother, Miriam comes to Moses and begins singing this song about how the faith of the Israelites has delivered them. This goes from a song by Miriam and Tzipporah to a victory chant by all of Israel. The tune is a very unique one, with many uncommon intervals.
Summary: When You Believe is a wonderful inspirational song, but God Help the Outcasts is a touching song that captures the doubts of anyone struggling with faith.
Two amazing religious statements
Hunchback: 3/ Prince of Egypt: 1
Side Character Advice Song
(hey, I needed a category): A Guy like You vs. Through Heaven’s Eyes
A Guy Like You: Why? Just why? I am one of those of the mind that the gargoyles were unnecessary additions to Hunchback. This song is the three of them convincing Quasi that Esmeralda will fall in love with him (yeah, didn’t that work out?) It’s redemption is its catchy tune.
Through Heaven’s Eyes: I love this song! Through Heaven’s Eyes is the song I listen to whenever I need a pick-me-up. I always end up dancing like Rapunzel! It has a beautiful, inspirational message that even the poor, hopeless, sickly, ugly, and seemingly pathetic can be the most important when looked at through heaven’s eyes, that everyone is special to God. My favorite part is the “lai”s, that’s always the part when I get up and dance.
Summary: A Guy Like You is catchy, while Through Heaven’s Eyes is inspiring!
Catchy vs. inspiration
Hunchback: 3/ Prince of Egypt: 2
: Topsy Turvy and The Court of Miracles vs. The Plagues
Topsy Turvy: Topsy Turvy is a fun song which describes to us the Festival of Fools. We see some of the costumes which the “fools” turn up in and enjoy Clopin giving us a commentary. It’s a fun and catchy song.
The Court of Miracles: The Court of Miracles is a menacing song which “welcomes” Quasi and Phoebus. Dressed in a fun song’s clothing, the lyrics and images on the screen tell another story.
The Plagues: This song is EPIC. Moses and Ramses sing about their former relationship as brothers, as well as the present in which they find themselves on opposite sides of one of the greatest conflicts of all time. To offset the tale of two brothers, a chorus of Israelites provides the base for this song. A repetition of “Thus saith the Lord” throughout the song provides for an atmosphere as menacing as any other. The tune switches between one that is smooth and plaintive and one that is strong and driving. This song is just one ball of epic.
Summary: Topsy Turvy and The Court of Miracles is fun, but The Plagues is a song of epic proportions.
Fun vs. EPIC
Hunchback: 3/ Prince of Egypt: 3
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The score in Hunchback is a strong and menacing one. The main theme is repeated throughout, making it a great unified score, as well as tying it in with the songs. My favorite pieces are “Sanctuary” as well as “And He Shall Smite the Wicked.” It’s reminiscent of church music and is a very strong, compelling score.
The Prince of Egypt: The score in Prince of Egypt really carries the movie. The score is just always great and matches the plot and the visuals. A lot of the pieces have very soft, delicate sections, as well as larger, orchestral moments. I love the score that plays whenever Moses and Ramses are doing something mischievous, as well as the score that plays when Moses has his dream when he realizes the truth about his past. And those aren’t even my favorite. My favorites are “Death of the First Born” and “Red Sea.”
Summary: Both are awesome scores, but the score in The Prince of Egypt is much more memorable to me, and I can remember what score goes with what part of the plot.
Powerful vs. memorable
Hunchback: 3/ Prince of Egypt: 4
The Prince of Egypt wins!
Thanks for reading!