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On Monday, a tragic event took place as a massive fire broke out at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. One of the most well known and beautiful buildings in the world received serious damage that is still being examined to determine its full extent. One company that has a tangential relationship with the location is Disney, having produced an animated film set at the iconic location. Now, the studio has pledged $5 million to help rebuild the cathedral.
For those of us who have never been lucky enough to visit Paris, our strongest connection to Notre Dame may be Victor Hugo's story The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The book was the basis for a 1996 animated feature by Disney. The company also owns two theme parks in the city. These reasons, combined with just the general pain and sadness that the fire caused many people, are likely the reasons the company felt compelled to donate to the reconstruction effort.
While Notre Dame can certainly be rebuilt, it will never really be the same place again. While everything can conceivably be recreated, parts of the structure were built in the 13th century, and you can't make that come back.
Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame was not one of Disney's massive hits, it barely broke $100 million domestically, though it did much better overseas. Word has been that Disney was planning on creating a live-action version of Hunchback, as it has with so many of its animated films. The project reportedly will star Josh Gad as Quasimodo. This assumes that recent events haven't had an impact on the movie.
While Hunchback might not be one of Disney's most loved movies, that hasn't stopped many from requesting it be added to Netflix in the US so that people can comfort themselves with the animated version of the building.
Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame is actually a remarkable film that doesn't get the credit it deserves .The movie may be the darkest, most mature thing to ever come out of Walt Disney Animation Studios. It has a villain who is motivated by lust, which is an utterly bizarre thing to see in an animated Disney movie, but that's part of what makes the film so special. Nobody can accuse Disney of not taking risks with that one.
Many different people and organizations are donating funds to help rebuild Notre Dame. Even if it's not quite the same place ever again, the fact that much of the cathedral survived is certainly something to be happy about. Although, in the same way that it took more than 100 years for Notre Dame to be built the first time, it will be a long time before repairs are complete.