Hercules wasn't a Disney success, but most kids who have grown up during the '90s have seen this movie. I even still have a promotional plastic plate with Phil's satyr-ness on it - like the picture on the right but stained (we went camping, had spaghetti, and didn't immediately clean the dishes. Good times!).As a kid, I had an obsession with Greek mythology - and I didn't enjoy this movie because of it. Let's face it, it's a Disney movie; it might be inspired by a classic or even ancient tale of bravery, but it certainly won't follow it. You could even say that, in regards to the Greek mythology that inspired it, this movie is 100% guaranteed to NOT be canon. But as a little know-it-all kid, I this movie was horrible and horrendous just because it didn't match up with the mythology on a few little details, like:
- Zeus is the Greek name; Hades is the Greek name; Hermes is the Greek name; but Hercules is the Roman name of the Greek hero Heracles.
- The elemental bad guys were called the Titans in the movie. In fact, they were the Giants; the Titans were the generation of deities that gave birth to (and had kids with) the Olympian gods (Zeus and his ilk).
- Actually, Heracles - fine, HERCULES, (let's perpetuate the misunderstanding, shall we?) was a demi-god: Zeus was his father, and a mortal woman called Alcmene was his mother.
- That's right, Hera wasn't Hercules' mother - and in fact, she tried to kill him.
- Hades just didn't give a shit about Hercules-as-a-baby. Really.
- No, Hades didn't try to steal Zeus' throne. And he voluntarily chose to take care of the Underworld.
- Speaking of the Underworld, for normal people it isn't a green swirly river, it's just a grey, featureless, boring place to shuffle on after you've died.
- Also, what's up with giving Hades power over fire? Seriously, did we need Judeo-Christian allusions to the Devil that badly?
- Furthermore, where's Poseidon? He's equal in power and importance to Zeus or Hades, so where was he during the entire movie? Chilling out at the bottom of the ocean?
Yes, I was an annoying kid.
But! I've grown up, and now I can actually appreciate, and yes, find this movie enjoyable. All the songs involving the Muses were really good - especially the first song of the movie, the Gospel Truth, and Meg's "I won't say I'm in love" song. There were also a ton of cultural references that were timely in 1997, and are now pretty hilarious if you remember what they referred to (Air-Hercs anyone?), and the plethora of little visual jokes everywhere in the movie seem to indicate that the graphics team had fun making this, at least. I mean come on, at one point Hercules wears Scar as a headdress!
Speaking of visual stuff; the character design was really good. I loved the visible awkwardness of the adolescent Hercules: the wide shoulders but scrawny biceps, the disproportionally large hands and feet, the feet pointing inwards, the facial features (his chin mostly) too large for his face - he's adorkable! My only question is: what's up with the princess Leia-inspired ears? (Just re-watch the first twenty minutes of the movie, and you'll see what I mean)
When Hercules hits adulhood, though, I find that the character design could have been better; ok, I get it, he's strong and all but does he really need to have biceps bigger than his legs? Seriously Disney, you already did that with Gaston...
My main complaint about this movie, though, has to do with the bad guys - Panic and Pain, the incompetent demon sidekicks, are annoying. Also, the mythological Hades is not in any way in charge of fire, so why does the movie one have a fire toupee? (Yeah, I still haven't gotten over that.)
On a side note, if we pretend Disney is right and Hades does control fire, am I the only one who's noticed a parallel between Zeus-Poseidon-Hades and Jolteon-Vaporeon-Flareon?