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[Article] – The Best Hercules

 

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Posted March 30, 2014 by

 
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This Greek legend has been bouncing around media attention since Hades got a lump of moussaka in his throat, am I right? The legend states that Hercules was a demi-God, son of Zeus and a mortal. Originally starting out as a Greek story (known as Heracles which sounds more like a witty side character) it was taken by the Romans and made a little bit better. He was then featured in paintings, vases and

But do you hear me? I am making it sound like a Greek tragedy.

Movies and television have been trotting out Hercules adaptation. What’s not to love about him though? He is an all-round hero that could lift the planet, spin it on his little finger and dunk it through the space net at the end of the universal court. Not only that but he falls in love with a mortal, and out smarts some of the most cunning villains. And those abs. So Hercules is the dashing and daring god-man who looks delicious and provides excellent entertainment.

Today sees the release of The Legend of Hercules, a film that looks like a complete rip off of Gladiator, 300 and ever ancient story brought to life by CGI. Similarly, so does Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Hercules effort later on this year. And the countless amount of adaptations on both the goggle box and the silver screen. Well, except for Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s which was ridiculously cheesy and boasts the best accidental recital of the script actions when he screams DISAPPOINTED for no good reason.

With all these muscles flexing around, it’s hard to grasp at which one is the favourite.

Oh wait, there is one that stands out above the rest. The one with a big heart as well as massive biceps. That’s right, this is as cheesy as it sounds, the best movie is Disney’s 1997 smash hit Hercules. With the voices of Susan Egan, Tate Donavan and James Woods, it plays fast and loose with the mythology and we are thankful for it. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker who created greats like The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Frog, Hercules centres on the boy wonder, son of Zeus and Hera who is kidnapped by Hades and made human. However, when Hades cronies, Pain and Panic, fail in their mission, Hercules keeps his God-like strength to become a truly epic hero. Along the way he meets trainer Philoctetes and the feisty Megara, who in different ways, helps him complete his quest to become a God again.

And it is so much fun. While the animation may be cruder than other Disney movies, it combines so many different comedies outlets from slapstick to satire. There are times where it is a pretty spot on social commentary on fame, fans and the craziness that revolves around it, when Hercules finally becomes a legend to the people. Then vocal performances from Danny DeVito and James Woods makes sure that the sarcastic side of things is upheld so children can learn quick wit at a young age. Don’t worry, because Disney also provide the smacks in the face and banana slip humour that will still make you giggle. So on the hilarity front, it provides laugh after laugh.

If that doesn’t make you agree with me, then just listen to the phenomenal soundtrack. Of course being a Disney film, there is music every now and then. In charge of the songs is the gospel team of Lillias WhiteLaChanzeRoz Ryan, Cheryl Freeman, and Vanéese Y. Thomas who narrates the whole thing. With Danny DeVito and Susan Egan singing their character songs, it’s really Roger Bart (more famed for Desperate Housewives and The Producers) singing Go The Distance that gives us goosebumps.

There is a lot of soul here and some really good parts. And there is no one I have met who doesn’t tear up at the end. Toe-tapping, Disney’s Hercules says use the muscle in your chest instead of the ones on it. That’s where true strength comes from.

 

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