Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Review : Disney's Hercules (1997)

HERCULES The son of the Greek Gods Zeus and Hera is stripped of his immortality and is brought up in a normal environment amongst mortals and must become a true hero in order to reclaim it.

Watching this as a young adult, I tend to identify this film much better than I did as child. It's a film which consists of what it really means to be a hero is a darker more mild tone than many other Disney films have demonstrated. There's a lot of gore and intense, scary stuff for a PG-rated motion picture, including gruesome monsters and end of the world images : floods, fires, ice storms and mass destruction that might overshadow the more lightheated musical components. Some younger audiences may also be confused or even upset to the extent of learning from the images of the grusome underworld and what happens when people die. Though let me reassure those poor souls when I tell you, It's nothing like what the film interoperates the underworld to be.

Going into the story; According to Disney, Hercules was the adored son of gods Zeus and Hera, stolen by Hades, ruler of the underworld, and made mortal so Hades can have him killed because Hades received a prophesy that he would release the Titans from their prison and take over as ruler of all, however the spanner to this plan was if Hercules should fight him, he'd loose. So in order to avoid that from happening Hades, had to find a way of getting Hercules out of the way, but you can't kill a god because their immortal, hence by making him mortal he is venerable to the threat of death

Hercules though is saved by two passing travellers who think that they've been blessed with a child, and they raise him as their own, trouble is Hercules just doesn't quite fit into a normal life. So he must become a true hero to become a god again so he can live with his parents on Mount Olympus. 

To do this, Hercules seeks out a grouchy satyr , who trains him in fighting techniques and strategy. When he saves some children and defeats the hydra, he becomes an instant celebrity, with action figures and "Air Hercules" sandals. He goes on to his other labors but finds that it's not enough to be a real hero; that comes from the heart, not the muscles. Meanwhile, Meg, who sold her soul to Hades to save the life of her boyfriend, must now try to find Hercules' weakness so that Hades can take over Olympus.

Here's a clip.

Is the film any good? Yes. Of course it is. It's a great story with a lot of adventure, thrill and suspense to emotionally engage the audience into really caring for the characters. Should say that Parents would need to prepare their children for this film as it is a lot for a child to take in, in terms of making them realise what they are seeing on screen being what is captured in 'As a story'. 

Scant exposition is provided by the movie's Spice Girl-style "muses" (a sort of gospel Greek chorus that's fun to watch, but hard to follow. The role of the three fates, who share one eye between them and cut a thread when a human's life is ended, is particularly confusing. Meg is tougher and braver than the traditional damsel in distress, but still very much on the sidelines. The movie's other weakness is its lackluster score.

The Quality of this film is immaculate, should you care to find it. As a child I never could engage with it. I always felt it lacked something and that it was too long and their were too many gaps between monster action and sensitivity. It did get a bid tedious and a bit boring, but I think a more mature audience will get more out of it because they can engage with the characters more. 9/10

NEXT: Kung Fu Panda!

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