Michael Sauter
January 19, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

WATCHING THIS WINTER’S trailer for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this summer’s Disney animated epic, is quite an education. Among the first things you learn are that it’s set not at Knute Rockne’s alma mater but in a Paris cathedral — NO-trah DAHM — and that although the name rhymes with bomb, the movie looks to have all the time-tested ingredients of the studio’s previous cartoon hits. There’s the benignly Beastly title character Quasimodo, a gorgeous Pocahontasy Esmeralda, some catchy new tunes by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, and the requisite antic animals — this time in the form of gargoyles come to life. The characters are introduced with a fanfare of color and song, but since Hunchback is still a work in progress, the trailer, like those for Disney’s other recent cartoons, becomes a lesson in film production, blending animated sketches, glimpses of stars Kevin Kline and Demi Moore recording voice tracks, and shots of animators drawing outside Notre Dame, like generations of art students before them. This infomercial approach has CompuServe chatterers poking fun at the marketing strategy. Disney, which never comments on its trailers, must figure an educated consumer is its best customer.

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