Hercules (1997)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Classic Disney Animation.

My dear readers, I have been away for a while catching up on TV that I feel like I’ve neglected you. Fear not, for this is not true. You see, I’ve had a bit of watcher’s block. Just…didn’t know what to watch really. Typically, the beginning of the year is the slow season, so I didn’t place much importance in movie-watching. I am back, though, with Hercules, a Disney movie that I remember specifically loving as a kid, but is a mostly ignored and almost forgotten movie in the world of Disney. I thought maybe watching again would give me a hint as to why this is, but alas…I still loved it. Maybe even more so, being able to catch little shout outs to ‘90s pop-culture references. But it is definitely a worthwhile Disney flick if you haven’t ever seen it.

The story of Hercules, according to Disney, is unsurprisingly a pretty simple one. Basically, Hercules is born a God, but the evil ruler of the underworld, Hades, plots to kill the child by first making him mortal. With Hercules dead, Hades can release the Titans in 18 years when the planets align, ultimately taking over Mount Olympus. However, Hercules doesn’t die. He turns mortal, all except for his godlike strength. Risen by two loving adoptive parents, he just didn’t belong because they couldn’t teach him how to control his strength. He just had to go on his own, and find his own path – which ultimately lead to his life of heroics.

The great thing about Disney is it can have a remarkably sturdy plot, a clear-as-day protagonist and antagonist, have them both have clear goals, as well as give the movie some of the most memorable musical scores out of anything else. A film usually draws its strength from one or the other. Either you have a fantastic plot and crap music, or you have brilliant music and a really tame plot. Here, you have the whole package. I haven’t seen this film in years, but I still remember most of the lyrics to the songs, and most of the plot itself. I am not entirely sure how this fell off the radar of so many Disney fans. It’s a downright classic, through and through.

The characters are phenomenal, as are the voice acting that sets everyone apart. Not only that, but the voice actors all have a very different sounds to their voices that you can close your eyes and you’ll know without a doubt who’s talking. That’s important for a cartoon. Meg specifically was an interesting case. She’s not your typical Disney princess. Not by far, she was Satan’s slave, give or take, after selling her soul. Her character is dark, it’s sarcastic, it’s not very feminine, but it fits. It’s…very human and I’m sure a lot of young girls connected with her personality, and I think that’s perfect. When it comes to Hercules, he is one of the most heroic Disney characters to ever grace the silver screen, not to mention there are a lot of allegories to the Christian religion as far as son of God, Sampson, and resurrection goes. Hey, it was just Easter.

This is kind of a dark movie for really young kids, with the whole devil as a main character deal. He’s a funny character on his own, but when the movie gets dark and all that talk of death, could keep a kid up at night. Maybe not so much with nightmares as with thinking about those scenes. It could happen, but I don’t think a story about Greek heroes and monsters could be told any other way.

The Good:

Hercules is clearly an instant classic in the world of Disney animation. It literally has everything you could ever want in a Disney film – a strong story with a clear protagonist and antaginst, both who have goals, all centered around really memorable and toe-tapping musical goodness.

The Bad:

I say this lightly because it’s based on my initial reactions. When I was a kid, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Muses, which always interrupted the movie to kind of narrate long-sequences of story that would otherwise make the movie super lengthy. I do like a couple of their songs, like Gospel Truth, and Zero to Hero, but maybe not all of their interruptions were necessary. Like I said as well, it’s not the best movie for some really young kids, as it has some dark themes that might keep them up at night.

Memorable Quote:

Hades: Uh, guys? Olympus would be that way.


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