Review of "Hercules (Blu-ray)"

published 11/01/2016 | SirJoseph
Member since : 08/03/2012
Reviews : 537
Members who trust : 83
About me :
Pro Story, James Woods, References, Imagery, Fun, Nostalgic
Cons Singing, Inaccurate, More Singing, Blu-Ray Price & Extras
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Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"Who Put the 'Glad' in 'Gladiator? HER-CU-LES!"

Hercules (Blu-ray)

Hercules (Blu-ray)

Ciao Bestsellers - Lottery! (Intro)

Before anyone thinks that I'm reviewing this blu-ray edition of Disney's Hercules solely for the lottery ticket: I'm the one who had Ciao add it to the site. It's eligibility is down to me! Granted this revelation is honest, but it's rather embarrassing as well seeing as I'm a grown man watching a damn cartoon. I added several of Disney's backlog of movies to my drafts when a wave of nostalgia hit me upon watching... I think it was Atlantis: Lost Empire. I can still recall the rose-tinted times during this films release, coinciding with the Sony Playstations Demo One In other words a demonstration disc with playable games the likes of which the world will never see again such as Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Overboard, Rage Racer and Kurushi as well as this one level of this films amusing video game incarnation. (Am I the only one here who can remember the tech displays with the tyrannosaurus rex and the manta ray? No? Just me? Your loss!). Anyone else wondering about the wording there concerning the lottery? Is a high def disc about an animated god legend really selling well right now? Yeah.. I should probably stop talking now before they take the product down.
"We dance, we kiss, we schmooze, we carry on, we go home happy. What do you say? Come on." (Plot)

Disney's retelling of the mythological story of Hercules is an action packed journey that sees our hero stolen from mount Olympus and turned mortal thanks to the work of Hades, ruler of the underworld and his minions Pain & Panic. Only he manages to retain his God-like strength and is adopted by a grateful couple, until he is old enough to start carving his name in history. When travelling to the statue of his father Zeus, he is told he will be welcomed home when he proves himself a true hero - because reasons. To do this, he seeks out a trainer in Philoctetes who gets him looking buff and eventually tackling all the monsters tormenting the citizens of Greece, little do we know that all these beasts are being backed by a vengeful Hades whose plan is to defeat the aspiring God in order for his plan of ruling the cosmos to succeed. A plan which involves freeing the mighty titans and procuring the fall of Zeus. A lot gets washed away (mostly the stuff not suitable for kids) like the the '12 labours' being effectively shortened to a single song displaying his many victories. In comes Meg, an apparently unattached vixen who shows up just when the mighty Herc' gets going to throw an emotional spanner in the works.
"Megaera. My friends call me Meg. At least they would if I had any friends." (Voices)

The blue haired, black robe donning, king of the underworld Hades was proving to be a tough casting choice as they had tried to get Jack Nicholson on board, but blushed at his frankly ludicrous contract demands and eventually settling on James Woods (Casino, Recess: Schools Out & The Generals Daughter) I say settle, but really I think he does a grand job here, perhaps better than what Nicholson could have done - even though I can imagine him bringing his own Hades to life. Meg is voiced by Susan Egan - the lady who played Belle in the Disney broadway adaption of Beauty & the Beast (as well as having roles in Studio Ghibli's Porco Rosso & Spirited Away - I knew I recognised her from somewhere!) but even as all the top brass said "No, no, she IS Belle." she won the part proving she could play both an innocent French bookworm and a smouldering Greek heroine. Danny Devito (Matilda, Space Jam, Batman Returns) must have lost his voice countless times during the recording sessions because I swear he just shouts non-stop in his role as 'Phil' if not all the time in his other works. Kudos to him for managing a sing song though. Rip Torn (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Men in Black I & II) is like an even deeper, less annoying Brian Blessed as his big, booming voice could only be that of Hercules father 'Zeus'.
"So much for excuses, thou' a kid of Zeus is asking me to jump into the fray. My answer is two words... [Hit by lightning] Okay."(Songs)

It is introduced via a dreary old man voice-over with some old ruins/pottery/statues in the foreground before being rudely interrupted by 'the muses.' I remember thinking at the ripe old age of 7 when the film came out in 1997, that it was a.. curious choice to narrate a film about a famous Greek god with several black women singing gospel-pop fusion for a soundtrack. Catchy sure, but whacky and out of place at the same time. I never really liked it when the beloved hero of a Disney film would feel the need to burst out in song at any given opportunity, often harmonising with animals, enemies and hitting notes rather than said baddies. In this films case, the singing is (largely) relegated to the muses and for once, the twice, no, thrice pushed main song of 'Go the Distance' is one I can tolerate as it has a fairly universal message that everyone can pretty much relate to: "I will find my way, I can go the distance. I'll be there someday, If I can be strong. I know every mile will be worth my while - I would go most anywhere to feel like I belong." His romantic interests' track, 'I Won't Say (I'm in Love)' hits the spot with female audiences too as I recall an ex-girlfriend (attempting to) belt out the words with the same verve as Egan whereas DeVito's singing talents are more of a comedic shtick you're likely to skip when it comes on in your sisters rather embarrassing Disney Classics car CD.
"Memo to me: Maim you after my meeting." (Good)

Always relating to the antagonist, Hades is an absolute delight! The sneaking voice of Woods proved a master (what I shall not call-) stumble. He's been the bad guy in a few films and would later go on to voice the half-baddie in Final Fantasy: Spirits Within with just as much evil je ne sais quoi. It's a nice change of pace resorting to a mythological tale instead of starting on a clean slate. A brave one too as history tends to be rife with bloodshed and acts of horror too intense for the kids watching. Truth be told, the story of Hercules is no exception to the rule, but the writers saw fit to make a decent story and embellish or just flat out refuse to depict the darker moments in the legend. There's a few amusing pop references in there too like the shameless promotions of trainers, toys other merchandise etc and branding on things as base as soft drinks. A little easter egg of sorts was seeing the skin of 'Scar' from The Lion King being worn by our hero as some jittery artist attempts to paint his image on a vase. The imagery involved in depicting this legendary story is brilliantly adapted to a kids cartoon. The likes of Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the underworld for example, all of the titans trudging to mount Olympus to take down the gods, the multi-headed hydra thingy.. 'Meg' or Megara is.. sort of a good character in my mind: she appears a smart confident woman with a kind of wise-ass attitude that still as classy as her appearance...
"I'm a damsel, I'm in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day." (Bad)

...Just a shame she kinda gets sucked into a sappy trope, just when you thought she wasn't really a damsel in distress, she turns into a quivering school girl plucking petals and singing emo love songs. When trying to restart my body clock a while back, I tried staying up through the light hours of the morning by watching this film - it didn't hold my attention - mainly because there's only a select few jokes aimed at adults watching to have. I'm going to be even harsher by lumping the Blu-Ray element in the negative section as well (put in bold so fact-checking-no-lives can grasp their semi) Why? Well Disney films are just fine in standard definition - unless we're talking VHS of course and the 1080x1920 pixels and superior frame rate don't really add up to much from a 90s animation - so the higher pricing for the privilege isn't too great either. Same goes for extras, mine doesn't come with any other than having a worlds worth of subtitles and dubs which although all-encompassing, only provides childish bemusement when drunk or high, laughing at a childhood classic spoken in a lisp-ridden Spanish or an always filthy German - which I can half understand thanks to 3 years with 'Frau' Hobday. Go one further in harshness? I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Hercules aka Heracles was a serial bigamist, ventured outside of traditional heterosexual relationships and topped himself by creating a funeral pyre and getting his 'buddy' Philoctetes to light it for him... with whom he may or may not have had sexual relations with too... I know it's all mythology bit the film inaccurate and/or ignoring such riveting story-lines that are totally appropriate for children! :D

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Comments on this review

  • hiker published 06/03/2016
  • bettyboo47 published 15/01/2016 do have a softer side!!!
  • euphie published 12/01/2016
    e :o)
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Product Information : Hercules (Blu-ray)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: Blu-ray

Classification: Universal

Video Category: Disney Film

Director(s) (Last name, First name): Clements, Ron, Musker, John

Production Year: 1997

EAN: 8717418410841


Listed on Ciao since: 08/11/2015