“ Genre: Children's DVDs - Disney / Universal, suitable for all / Director: John Musker, Ron Clements / Actors: Tate Donovan, Susan Egan, James Woods, Josh Keaton, Roger Bart ... / DVD released 2002-08-12 at Disney / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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-Film only Review-
As a child, this Disney film completely passed me by, and so I only encountered it at a start of term social for one of my university societies. The society is based around reading works of ancient literature, and we always try and complement our meetings with tangentially related films.
Firstly, this film bears no resemblance to the Hercules of Greek mythology. In fact, I believe it was banned in Greece as a distortion of their heritage. There are a few references to some of the twelve tasks of Hercules, but otherwise, Disney has invented a completely new story. It begins with five of the Muses setting the scene; in song-form, they describe the war between the gods and the Titans, which ends with Zeus triumphantly imprisoning them beneath the sea, and installing himself as king of the gods on Mount Olympus. There, he and his wife Hera have a baby son, who they name Hercules, and as a gift, Zeus creates a flying horse out of clouds for him, and calls him Pegasus. Not everyone is impressed by this happy little family however. Zeus' brother , Hades, is fairly unhappy at having being stuck with the Underworld, and dreams of taking his brother's place. He consults the Fates, who tell him that in 18 years, the planets will align, and he will be able to free the Titans and become king. However, all his plans will fail if Hercules is allowed to oppose him.
Hades thus decides to get rid of Hercules, but being a god, he must turn him mortal first. He gives a potion that will do the deed to his two minions, Panic and Chaos, who kidnap him, but they are interrupted before Hercules drinks the entire potion. He is left mortal, but still retains his god-like strength. Hercules is brought up by two mortals, but his strength makes him clumsy, and he is left feeling like he doesn't fit in.
In desperation, Hercules goes to the temple of Zeus and is shocked to find the statue of the god come to life and tell him the truth about his past. Zeus tells Hercules that the only way he can regain his place on Mount Olympus is to become a true hero. Reunited with Pegasus, Hercules sets off to find Philoctetes, the hero trainer. However, it will not be as easy as Hercules thinks, for being a hero is not just about slaying monsters. And Hades is ever present, looking for the weak spot in his nemesis.
This film doesn't have all of the charm of some other Disney hits, but is still well worth watching. As a main character, Hercules himself is a bit flat. His emotional 'journey' is predictable and clichéd, and to be honest, he comes across as a whiny brat at times. Thankfully, he is made up for by a fantastic supporting cast. Megara is an incredible leading lady, full of sass and independent spirit. She is hiding a dark secret of her own, however, and some of her torment comes across. Despite not speaking, Pegasus is hilarious as the loyal horse, who gets more than a bit miffed when Hercules falls for the Megara. Philoctetes, or Phil for short, is great as the philandering satyr with a heart. As villains go, Hades is one of the best. Evil, yes, but also fast-talking, smart, and incredibly funny.
One of the main problems with the film is the animation style, which can look quite basic a times. If you can overlook this, though, it's a great story. The song's aren't as good as Disney's best, but I do like Megara's 'I Won't Say I'm in Love'. It would have been great to hear a villain song from Hades, though!
Be warned, there are some quite scary parts. One of my friends told me how she had to be taken out of the cinema crying at the Hydra scene (she would have been 5 at the time). I also think Hades' pool of dead souls near the end has the potential to give kids nightmares.
Overall, this film is a feel-good romp. It does have some morals about what it means to be a true hero, and the importance of love, but these don't make the film too sanctimonious. Not one for mythology purists, but otherwise, very good fun.
Disney's Hercules [U]
Released: 1997, Runtime: 93 minutes, Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family
Film only review.
Hercules (Tate Donovan) is a humble adopted farm boy with extraordinary strength. Ridiculed for being different Hercules sets off to find his 'true' parents and his real place in the world. At the temple of Zeus (Rip Torn) it is revealed that Hercules was in fact, a god but as part of Hades (James Woods) evil plan Hercules was stolen from his parents and turned mortal. Convinced that his 'place' is as a god, Hercules vows to become a hero and reinstate himself on Mount Olympus. With his faithful companion Pegasus and his reluctant trainer 'Phil' (Danny DeVito), Hercules sets out on a wild adventure full of monsters, titans and master of the underworld, Hades.
Will Hercules ever get to return home? Will he manage to stop Hades in his evil tracks? And just what will happen to our 'hero' when he encounters the beautiful and enigmatic Meg (Susan Egan)?
The moment the blue screen appeared and the iconic Disney castle started slowly unveiling itself I felt a shiver of excitement down my spine. I love a good Disney film and as a youngster, Hercules was my absolute favourite. There is always a risk involved in revisiting old childhood favourites, more often than not they disappoint and are wildly different to what you remember. I am pleased to announce that Disney's Hercules does not fall into that category, in fact, I would possibly go so far as to say it gets better with age (just like I do!).
Hercules is an animated Disney film, the classic style of animation that was used before things went all CGI. Whilst you can tell that the style of animation is dated the film is still very enjoyable to watch. It is a nostalgic nod rather than something you have to try and see past. To say this film is 15 years old the colours are bright and the scenery is engaging. The visions of Ancient Greece and Mount Olympus are opulent and glittering, a great way to get younger viewers excited about ancient cultures. The scenes set in the Underworld are spooky, eerie and exceptionally well done for a kids film. Skeletons claw at Hades boat, souls swim in an unending pit of despair and witches cackle as Hades hatches his evil plan. I don't have children and so I cannot comment on how scary they will find this but I was a very easily scared 10 year old and I didn't remember anything about the Underworld until my recent viewing, so I can't have been too traumatised. Disney have also perfected the technique of providing 'comic relief' at the more darker times and so the gloom is interspersed with comic, slap stick performances from Hades hapless sidekicks, Pain (Bobcat Goldthwaite) and Panic (Matt Frewer).
The most memorable part of Hercules has to be the soundtrack. The musical elements of this film are fantastic, soulful and catchy....very catchy. I found my self singing 'who put the glad in gladiator...Herc-u-leeees' for at least a week after re-watching it. The use of the muses to tell the story is excellent, it is a great way of inferring ancient culture without being boring and stuffy-they help keep pace and show the passage of time/montages in an entertaining fashion. I don't think anyone could accuse Disney's Hercules as ever having a dull moment. The humour in this film is great and reminds me a little of Shrek. The mix of ancient culture alongside modern day merchandise and colloquialisms is charming and generates a few loud out loud moments.
The characters created throughout this film are well established and believable- you root for the good guys and boo at the bad guys. Danny Devito as Philoctetes is hilarious and has some great one liners. Meg (Susan Egan) is the antithesis of the damsel in distress and I think its great that a female Disney character can have so much attitude, her use of sarcasm is entertaining and whilst some of her quips will go over the heads of children she still comes across a strong, independent woman- a long way off from the usual lead female character. Rip Torn as Zeus generates a few laughs and James Woods as Hades was exceptional. My favourite 'character' has to be Pegasus, I wanted a Pegasus when I was a little girl and I still want one now!
In terms of storyline Hercules tackles a lot. It has the obligatory love story, the exploration of good versus evil and the coming of age of Hercules. It also deals with ambitions, hopes, dreams and finding your place in the world and all in an upbeat positive manner. It shows that hard work pays off and that believing in yourself is important. It also demonstrates that difference (Hercules strength) can lead to greatness (Hercules as the hero). Overall I think the moral messages that can be gained from Hercules are useful to both children and adults. It always cheers me up and makes me think that 'I can go the distance'.
Overall, Hercules is a fun family film that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is timeless and effortless in its ability to entertain. It has great humour and moral messages alongside great role models and inspiring characters. I loved it as a child and I love it as an adult.
Now anyone who knows me will tell you I adore Disney films. Since leaving home I have made it my mission to purchase films that remind me of my childhood and family and the main film I could think of was Hercules.
When I was a child I had a terrible fear of the dark, something that I still have to a certain degree. My parents knew that noise and light soothed me so put a small portable tv in my room and would put a disney film on each night to help me fall asleep. For the first few nights I had trouble sleeping, what little kid wouldnt when they get to watch tv in bed but one film that always soothed me was Hercules. Noow this real is not me telling you that Hercules is boring because it really is not I think it soothed me because the music is so fantastic I could just close my eyes and sing along, kind of like singing a lulaby to myself.
Hercules was released in 1998 and I'm sure most people know that it was one of disneys biggest films before they combined with Pixar.
Hercules is based on the Gods of Ancient Greece. The film is quite accurate with the stories it tells and taught me a lot about Greek Myths. Hercules was the Son for Hera and Zeus but was stolen from the home of the Gods, Mount Olympus by Zeus's evil brother Hades (the fact that Hades is Zeus's brother is not mentioned in the film, but it is in the tv series... go figure) and his minions Pain and Panic. Hercules is left in the mortal world and most of his God like powers have been taken from him apart from his Strength. The film follows Hercules' struggle to find out who he truly is with the help of his flying horse, Pegasus, his trainer Philatities and his new found love interest Meg.
The film involves all the typical Disney cliches of a love story and the main character battling the odds but it does also contain aspects that can't be found in other stories. I adore the fact that hercules is so focused on Greek mythlogy even mentioning Achilles who was a hero famous for his weak heel.
The film is for children and adults alike, with adult content in it that children will find very difficult to understand.. like the horny goatman. For little girls theres the love story, nymphs and the magical flying hrse and of course for the little boys theres the mass of monsters and the fact that hercules is a hero and has a sword!! something my little brother used to love and would constantly attack me pretending I was the Hydra.
The film was nominated for a few awards and won one for its music. The music is mainly due to the Muse's (who are actually Zeus's daughters and this is revealed on the bonus section of the dvd but not in the film) who re-tell the life of Hercules through song. My favourite songs are 'Won't say im in love' and 'Go the distance'. Go the distance is one of the most loved Disney films with many famous people covering it, the most famous is the late Stephen Gately from Boyzone who stated that the song helped him realise he could do anything.
Hercules is actually quite difficult to get hold of. DO NOT! buy it directly from disney or from the disney shop, they wanted me to pay £20 for it when I went to hmv and brought it for £8. This is the same for all Disney films, you need to shop around for them (I brought the Emperors new grove from hmv for £20 but disney wanted me to pay £45!!!!!!!) You can normally find a copy on Ebay but if you dont feel like being an ebayer you could try amazon.
I still use Hercules to fall asleep to even at the age of 18 but I can guaratee that I watch the whole film at least once every night before I can finally switch off and just listen.
Disney are most famous for their adaptations of famous fairy tales and folk legends - most of them they change in one way or another to make them more accessible as children's films. Hercules carries on this tradition and may in fact be the strongest example.
So the film starts out on Mount Olympus, where Hera and Zeus are having a baby shower for the birth of their little Hercules. Everyone is happy about this, except for Zeus' brother Hades (voiced brilliantly by James Woods), who hates his brother for throwing him in the underworld and wishes to overthrow him. He learns from the fates that in eighteen years the planets will align and that he will be able to unleash the Titans which Zeus had locked up, and use them to take over Olympus. However, if Zeus' son Hercules grows up, then he will foil Hades. Hades then tells his minions Pain and Panic to kidnap the child and make him mortal: something they almost accomplish, leaving him a demigod.
Some years later, Hercules, now a teenager, feels alone in a world that doesn't quite understand him or the superhuman strength he has. He decides to go find his fate and after finding out about his heritage, goes to the Satyr Philoctetes to train him as a hero and stop Hades' plans.
I love Hercules. I'll put that out there right now that it's one of my favourite Disney films. Although, to me, it's never really seemed like one of the Disney Classics -type of films. The way that they made the film - in the story, the art style and the constant pop culture references - had a definite "updated modern" feel to it, something which worked in this, probably because Hercules was set several thousand years ago. However it's fair to note that it was pretty much Disney's last really successful film, and started them on their downward spiral of the last ten years.
The voice acting is great, especially James Woods who plays the sly, sneaky "used car salesman" Hades to perfection, and Danny deVito who is fantastic as Phil. While the whole plot is a bit overused in its elements it's still a pretty entertaining film and, despite the obscene amounts of historical errors (you probably gathered a dozen just in the synopsis up there) I like to think of Hercules more like some sort of really well-written fan-fic. It's really a load of nonsense when you think about it, but it's not really meant to be taken seriously at all; after all that's what all the anachronisms and pop culture references are for.
It's really funny, and has some really good scenes. Hades steals the stage in every one of his scenes. So if you're not too bothered in watching something that makes Clash of the Titans look like scripture, definitely give this one a go.
This was always been my favourite Disney film when I was younger, but I thought that maybe watching it back as an adult (well, teenager) I might not find it so funny or so entertaining.
I was wrong.
It is every bit as good as I remember - and there is adult humour buried in there too, so as they say "there's something for all the family". Kids will enjoy and adults will not be pained ( as they would when watching some other children's films I can think of).
I don't think I really need to go into a detailed synopsis of the plotline - it's fairly simple: son of Zeus and Hera taken from Mount Olympus by Hades to stop him fulfilling a prophecy that would ultimately result in Hades' defeat. (Hades by the way is excellent - really funny, and Pain and Panic his assistants still make me laugh even now). Hercules is fed a potion to turn him mortal, but one drop remains in the bottle so he is still half-god and can regain his place on Mount Olympus by proving himself a hero. So he teams up with 'Phil', a satyr hero-trainer and Pegasus, a flying horse, and takes on many monsters to prove himself. Along the way he falls in love with a beautiful girl called Meg who has an impossibly tiny waist, even for a Disney princess.
It's a feel good film with a happy ending, and I think perhaps one of Disney's cleverest storylines and script in terms of appealing to adults and children alike.
This is definitely a hidden Disney gem. My wife is an avid Disney fan and
has most, if not all, of their dvds. Over the years I have been made to sit
through each of them, one by one, and I have to say.... This is one of my
It begins by showing young Hercules as a baby .... As the son of Zeus
everybody is celebrating his birth - except Hades, lord of the afterlife.
He is so jealous that he has been confined to the underworld that he sends
his misfits - Pain and Panic to give Hercules a potion to remove his godly
powers... but they don't manage to give him the whole bottle, and whilst he
is no longer a god he has kept his godly strength. He has to be banished to
live on earth.... Where he never quite fits in!!!
The rest of the story goes on to show Hercules trying to find his place in
the world - but I wont tell you too much about that because I don't want to
It really is a lovely film with beautiful, classic Disney animation and a
fantastic soundtrack - and I find it disappointing that most people I speak
to haven't seen this. It kind of fell under the radar when released and has
stayed there ever since. Plus, with most Disney films being aimed at girls
and being Princess orientated... this is perfect for little boys.
Its one of the Disney films that doesn't seem to have fallen foul of the
Disney vaults system, and its readily available on the Internet at approx
Its well worth a watch!!!
Hercules is another fantastic Walt Disney film. Made in 1997, this is another one of my all time favourite films which i grew up with. I know nearly all the songs off by heart! This is filled with fun, adventure, a little bit of romance and lots of action. Being only 89 minutes, this will keep you entertained and will stay with you long after you've watched it! There are some fantastic characters; Hercules (voiced by Tate Donovan), Meg (voiced by Susan Egan), Philoctetes (voiced by Danny DeVito), Hades, Lord of the Underworld (voiced by James Woods), Zeus (voiced by Rip Torn), Pain (voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait) and Panic (voiced by Matt Frewer).
Hercules is son of great god Zeus, giving him superhuman strength, however, he is stolen when he is born by Pain and Panic, Hades's sidekicks, who make Hercules mortal. This starts a series of catastrophes for young Hercules, but as he is growing up he finds out who he really is, so joined by his best friend, and flying horse, Pegasus and trainer Phil, they go about training him up defeat Hades, Lord of the Underworld, who is planning to take over Mount Olympus. Along the way Hercules has to face deathly challenges and meets Meg, a Greek Beauty, who is a challenge herself! Hercules is faced with learning the lesson that it's not the size of your strength that counts but the strength of your heart. But what will he choose...his love on earth or strength in the Gods?!....
This film had me laughing along with the hillarious Pain and Panic, Hades, Phil and Pegasus! This story is exciting and will keep you glued to the television the whole time! It's a fantastic story line and had many beautiful shots with amazing scenery. The characters are well chosen and suit the feel of the film, you really belive that you are in Greece!
This was my favourite movie back in 1998.
It was one of the last great Disney films.
I recently watched this after playing kingdom hearts and I still like it as much as I did when I was younger.
This movie showed me I can aim higher rather than acting like how others see me.
It has just the right amount of humor, music and action that made Disney movies the best back in the day.
The movie is about Hercules learning what it is to be a true hero and trying to stop Hades' evil plan.
The part of the movie I liked best was when Herc went on the journey to find the Temple of Zeus, it was musical numbers like that, that made me love Disney as a child.
The animation was good and helped add to the magic that was this movie.
The ending was inspiring and didn't seem forced like most movies.
All together this is a great movie for all ages.
This is the Disney version of the classic story of Hercules. From his birth of being the son of a god, through to his discovery of his powers, and defeating evil to become a hero.
This is done in the typical Disney way of a classic animation, with lots of humour and singing, but like most animations today there are certainly 2 story lines, there's the basic storyline that children and adults will love time and time again, but there is also the more adult humour throughout that while the kids will enjoy they will not understand, but the adults/parents watching this movie can enjoy and laugh at. For example when two kids trapped under a boulder "someone call IXII" which obviously is roman numerals for 911 LOL, etc.
Story (May contain spoilers)
The movie has some differences to the original mythology, but the basic premise is there, after all its Disney, and it has to be fun. In this story Hercules is a baby, born of Zeus and Hera, and as a full god. Hades (voiced by James Woods, could you have a more scheming and planning and evil voice??? I think not) naturally wanting to take over Mount Olympus, finds out from the Fates that Hercules will stop him. So he hatches a plan to stop him. Which involves Hercules being made mortal and then his two minions (one of which all, we ever I hear his voice all I can see is Zed out of Police academy) kill him. Naturally in the typical Zed style they mess up and Hercules while mortal, still retains his god like strength.
He is adopted by a family, but not knowing how to control his powers as a teenage he moves away to learn to be a hero. This is where he meets Phil a hero trainer (voided by Danny DeVito, how perfect). Hercules then tasks to become a hero so that he can become a god again and join his father on Mount Olympus.
Along the way he learns that women use their wiles for their own means, but typically the woman falls for him. Hades manages to release the Titans that naturally want revenge on Zeus, Zeus having a hard time to take all of them on at once, and Hercules being distracted and mortal. It all culminates in a big ending, but being Disney you know it will be a happy ending.
Its Disney animation, of cause they picked the voices well, and of cause they added the characteristics to the drawings of each character to reflect our well loved actors. As usual the voices suit perfectly, the characters suit perfectly and its just yet another fantastic casting choice. Disney/Pixar and Warner Brothers never fail.
The soundtrack is very enjoyable. Lots of upbeat songs, lots of songs describing the years between baby and teenage, between teenager and man very quickly (beats those 80's montages). I can quite happily listen to the soundtrack on its own and bring a smile to my face.
This movie is one all families should have in their house. No matter how old you are, you're never to old for this movie, although if you have a kid, you have no excuse not to have this. I am a great lover of Mythology, and while this may not be factually accurate (but then again is mythology) its close enough and it is pure fun.
This movie should be watched, and get it on DVD or Blue Ray so you never loose quality form the thousands of times you will play it.
Everyone has their favorite Disney film, and mine happens to be this beast of a film: Hercules. It mayb be because it was my frist VHS purchase, which I, at about 8 years old, could afford because i found 20 pound in a field, which as a little boy was amazing!
The film, released back in 1997, is set in ancient greek times, and is about the mythology and gods of the time. Starting of with an introductary song about the latests goings on in the greek world, explaining about the Gods and the "titans" locked away. A song is sung by the 5 women muses, who act like narators, the song is very catchy and paves the way for more songs later in the film.
The films begins, and without ruining the plot, is about Zues son, hercules, who gets kidnapped, and almost turned human. He still has his god like strength however. To make himself a god again, he must become a "true hero". So he trains and becomes buff enough to take on many a monster, all the while falling in love with a woman he rescued. But is she all she seems?
The songs in the film are great and the DVD features a few sing-a-long songs with lyrics at the bottom. You will want these tunes on your Ipod however, which can lead to some embarasing moments when people go through your Ipod!
The story is great and moves along well, never getting boring. There are many funny moments in the film, especially for children.
After just reading about the actual myth of hercules on wikipedia, this film is far from the original myth! Its actually shocking and disturbing, so obviously Dinsey had to take a lot of creative liscense to make this film child friendly.
A great film all round really, although not one of the most popular Disney films, it is definately worth a look in.
Hercules is an excellent Disney classic that will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. I found this story to be a heartwarming love story with drama and intrigue and fantasy as most Disney movies always have. The animation in this film as in all other Disney movies is fantastic.
This story is about Herculus, voiced by Josh keaton who is stolen as a baby by the minions of Hades, voiced by James Woods, who is lord of the underworld. Hades turns Hercules into a half human half god after being fed a magic potion brewed by some of Hades minions, Hercules is turned into a half god half human and forced to live on earth with the rest of the humans. Because he is half human he is not allowed to go to his home on Mt. Olympus where his family lives.
Hercules has the strength of a god, but the vulnerabilities of a human. As Hercules grows up, he must learn to control his enormous strength. As most humans who are growing up, you are bound to go through an awkward phase at some point in your life. Well, Hercules goes through this faze as well when he is growing up. And to top it all off, during this awkward phase, Hercules must prove himself to be a hero on earth, with the help of Philotes, voiced by Danny Devito, who is half man, half goat, in order to become 100 percent god again and be able to return home to his family on Mt. Olympus where he belongs.
During his quest Hercules meets a very beautiful and very sarcastic damsel in distress named Meg, voiced by Susan Egan, who is being controlled by Hades, and is to make sure that Hercules does not succeed in becoming a full fledged god.
This story is full of intrigue, drama, love, scandal, evil, and happiness as any good movie has. It is extremely entertaining and I know will be enjoyed by the whole family.
Long ago in a far away land a great warrior called Hercules loved to wear lion skin, carry a club and have his way with woman and small boys...oops, sorry that's the wrong story. Of course I am taking about the Hercules known in myths from Roman and Greek time. Son of Zeus the god of all gods, a man of great strength and courage who sacrificed himself to save other innocent lives. Then in 1997 along skips the Disney family and goes "Hmmmm, this should be a family friendly motion picture!" And off they go taking another sometimes tragic yet classic story (like the little mermaid) and make lots of money out of it so people like you and I can enjoy the bubble pop version. Now I know the above sounds like a complaint but actually I am a big fan of the Disney classics - but when I was taught Hercules in history I think I came out disturbed without the Disney friendly version I had been brought up on.
The movie opens with your five narrators known as the 'Goddesses of the arts and proclaimers of heroes' who have this need to sing their story in a rather catchy tune. They bring you up to date about how Zeus came to power and how he rules to protect his people.
After this Zeus and Hera give birth to Hercules a bouncing baby boy with super strength and everything he could wish for. There is a grand party to welcome him into the world of Gods and all immortals are happy to see him except Zeus's brother Hades, the ruler of the underworld. Hades has been told by his fates that when Hercules is older he will prevent him from taking Zeus's place and ruling. This of course angers him and that night he sends his servants Panic and Pain to dispose of the baby. They feed him an anti-immortality potion but before they can finish him off a human family finds Hercules and takes him as his ward. Luckily Hercules didn't have the last drop of the potion and still has his super human strength.
The movie is about Hercules trying to fit in, trying to find out more about himself and of course using his super strength to help others without his ego getting in the way. During all this he has to deal with a provocative woman called Meg who is more than she seems and trials from Hades who wants to finish him off.
Like most Disney films quite a few catchy songs are added which all have the feel good factor and get your feet moving. These can also be purchasing in a separate soundtrack. Most of the characters are loosely based on someone from the original myth but have been animated in such a way that they are still appealing. For example: Panic and Pain are based on Deimos and Phobos (meaning dread and fear) and were originally Ares sons. In the movie they are playful, clumsy and silly and many a time have caused my young cousins to laugh from their antics. Then of course we have Hercules, in this movie he has moved to a life of celibacy. All of the scenes are carefully drawn and every character has something which separates them from the rest. In one scene you have five towns' people talking and there is a spider coming out of an old mans nose. It doesn't sounds like much but it is all the little things as well as the big that keep the little people entertained. Of course familiar voices is what makes a movie enjoyable too and Danny Davito is my favorite of the movie playing a randy little goat creature called Phil. Things like this make it more fun for the adults who can recognize the voices. We even have some compute graphics in this one when a monster comes out to play. Even though in this day and age its standard I have to admire the skill for the time it was out!
Tate Donovan as Hercules
Danny Devito as Phil
James Wood as Hades
Susan Egan as Megara
Rip Torn as Zeus
---------On The DVD-------
This Disney classic consists of only one disc. When you start the DVD you will get about 10 minutes worth of Disney adverts which are easy to skip.
The opening menu has stars forming together Hercules with the background music to 'Go the distance'.
Play - Play the movie
Scene Selection - This lets you choose from 32 still pictures that represent a place in the movie to start from.
Set up - You have the choice of languages and subtitles which unfortunately are both only available in English.
Bonus Material - Here you are given five choices:
Hercules Video Art Gallery - A young voice talks you though the creations of each character and how several sketches turn into an animation, how they tried to get some Greek elements into the movie and also how they created character that also portrayed their emotional states well. Including the end credits this lasts about 6 minutes and is a joy to watch.
DisneyPedia: Greek Mythology - You are on a tour with the voice of Phil in a museum. You can choose from nine vases which all tell you stories about Greek mythology with clips from the movie to entertain. It is told in a child friendly manor so that kids can learn without realizing it.
The Making Of Hercules - Ten minute long clip about how the movie came about. You listen to interviews from the voice of Hercules and the producers with their view of the story. You even get to see the voice recordings in action which is entertaining.
"Zero To Hero" sing along song - Nice and simple, it shows the clip where the song starts and plays exactly the same way. This time during the scene the bottom sixth of the screen is taken up by yellow writing that turns white as the song is sung.
Art Attack: How To Make A Greek Urn - Many people will remember the program Art Attack which was aired for nearly 20 years by Neil Buchanan on ITV1. Every week you are taught how to make something fun in an arty way. This time for a Hercules special Neil teaches you how to make a Greek Urn. The clip lasts 5 minutes and is relatively easy to make with some adult supervision. The only things you might not find in your home are PVA glue and if you wish some paint. This would be really good fun for the kids who are into the classic and it helps their creative side too.
This is a great family friendly film loosely based on a Greek classic. Being out over ten years now it is known world wide. As I always say if you don't want a traditional Disney ending then this movie isn't for you. My cousins are addicted to this movie right now which shows that it isn't a one time wonder. It also has a long lasting feel good factor which always makes me smile. I think the extras are fantastic which includes the more down to earth Greek mythology without kids realizing they are learning. Encouraging them to be active with art attack is a brilliant idea too. The older members of the family will enjoy this with more grown up jokes hidden throughout. Overall a joy to watch and if you enjoy your Disney classics then a must have!
Hercules is a brilliant Disney Classic. There are 5 main characters; Hercules, Meg, Phil, Pegasus and Hades. All the characters are really funny and will make anyone (especially young children) laugh a lot!
Hercules is the star of the show. He is really strong. It's probably because of his famous dad - Zues.
Phil and Pegasus are two of his friends. Phil is a trainer of heros and Pegasus is a flying horse.
Hades is the all powerful 'Lord of the Underworld'! His hair is flames and he can set anything alight just by pointing at it. Hades is my favourite charector because he makes me laugh, every scene he is in!
Meg is the property of Hades (she did a very stupid thing - she sold her soul). She eventually gets let free and becomes Hercules' boyfriend!
This video was excellent. A definate must have for anyone's DVD collection.
'Hercules' made in 1997 was Disney’s 35th animated feature, but did it simply live up to the undoubted high Disney standards or did it give us something even better, a fresher looking Disney film. Disney have been the leaders in children’s animated films (certainly in the West) ever since they made the first full length animated feature ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ in 1937 since then their output has been impressive with some real classics being made, their crowning glory came in the 90’s with the release of ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ (1991) and ‘The Lion King’ (1994). The problem with setting such high standards is that you have to live up to them. After ‘The Lion King’ Disney’s output became slightly predictable and by the time ‘Hercules’ was about to be released other studios had started making animated features to rival anything in the Disney stable. The pressure was on. Did Hercules prove to be a turning point for Disney…? HERCULES- WHAT’S NEW! Disney were obviously feeling the pressure and they knew that putting out another technically competent animated film with cute characters and annoyingly memorable songs would not be enough to save their reputation. A new approach was needed. Firstly the subject matter was going to be different, they shunned the usual fairy book stories of children’s literary best sellers in favour of a more problematic genre, the Greek Myths. Now on the face of it the Greek myths are not always the most child friendly texts, lots of adulterous relationships, violence and dubious morals. Obviously a sanitized Middle America version was going to have to be produced. The next problem was the animation. Should Disney rely on their tried and tested look, fluffy cuddly animals and cute looking humans or was a more radical approach needed. Disney decided to hire the services of Brit
ish Artist/Cartoonist and political satirist Gerald Scarfe (remember the graphics to Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ of the intro to ‘Yes Minister?’) to help out. This was a bold move since Scarfe’s work is very distinctly not in the Disney tradition. Scarfe transforms his real life subject in to grotesque caricatures always very unflattering of the subject. Scarfe’s style is angular, brash and at times disturbing. What would he do on a Disney project? The other important ingredient was the voiceovers. Who was Disney going to give personality and character to their animated images? Inn the past ‘family friendly’ actors have been enlisted Bob Newhart, Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Kevin Kline have done their Disney duty. This time Disney decided on a slightly more unusual choice and for Hercules they enlisted the talents of James Woods, Matt Frewer and Danny De Vito hardly your first choices for entertainers at little Johnny's 5th birthday party! The one thing that Disney didn’t change too much from previous movies was the musical score. They once again relied on the tried and tested talents of Alan Menken (Little Mermaid/Beauty and the Beast). Even in this area a little imagination was used by employing a black gospel choir to sing the parts of the muses. So with these un-Disneyesque ingredients in the melting pot how did it all turn out? PLOT If you’re expecting your children to learn about the Greek myths by watching this film think again. The story does stray from the actual Hercules myth quite dramatically but this is not a major drawback. Hercules is a demi-god son of Zeus with an earthly mother. He is adopted as a newborn baby by Earthly parents, he is unaware of his special gifts, having grown up as a normal young boy despite his prodigious strength. In order to join the other gods on Mount Olympus Hercules must prove himself to be a true hero
thus an heroi c, self-sacrificing task is required of him! It’s not long before his special gifts bring him to the attention of Hades the Lord of the Dead, who decides that something must be done about the young Hercules before Hercules interfere with Hades’ plan to rule the universe. Along the way Hercules is helped by his childhood friend Pegasus the flying horse and reluctantly at first by Phil a Pan like satyr who goes about training Hercules to harness his powers. Opposed to him are Hades’ henchmen (or hench-mythical creatures) Pain and Panic, the romantic interest is provided by the beautiful Meg who is originally out to trap Hercules but later falls in love with him. Can Hercules go from Zero to Hero…? CAST, WHAT’S GOOD AND WHAT’S BAD! The voices of: Tate Donovan .... Hercules Joshua Keaton .... Young Hercules Roger Bart .... Young Hercules Danny DeVito .... Philoctetes James Woods .... Hades; Lord of the Underworld Susan Egan .... Megara Bob Goldthwait .... Pain Matt Frewer .... Panic Rip Torn .... Zeus Samantha Eggar .... Hera; Hercules' Mother Barbara Barrie .... Alcmene; Hercules' Foster Mother Hal Holbrook .... Amphitryon; Hercules Foster Father Paul Shaffer .... Hermes; the Messenger God Amanda Plummer .... The Fates Carole Shelley .... The Fates Paddi Edwards .... The Fates Charlton Heston .... Narrator Patrick Pinney .... Cyclops Lillias White .... Calliope the Muse of Epics and the Lead Muse Vanéese Y. Thomas .... Clio the Muse of History Cheryl Freeman .... Melpomene the Muse of Tragedy La Chanze .... Terpsichore the Muse of Dance Roz Ryan .... Thalia the Muse of Comedy Fans of the traditional Disney output will not be disappointed with Hercules; it does have all the elements we expect. The story moves along at a fair pace it is i
nterspersed with s ome pleasant enough songs (not too memorable I must admit) and there is a good amount of laughs to be had from the quick one liners and the visual characterisation especially from the Pain, Panic and Philoctetes. If this was all there was to the film it would be just another competent but not technically outstanding addition to the Disney catalogue. The animation in this film is slickly done but there is nothing obviously groundbreaking about it and doesn’t really compare with innovations presented in the outstanding ‘The Lion King’ or the later ‘Tarzan’. When we are told that the film is the first to feature morphing in the making of the characters and that over 700 artist where involved over a 2 year period in the making, we are left to wonder what difference it made. Having said this there are a few features that make Hercules stand out from the more usual Disney movies. The most obvious one is its very particular look, largely due to Gerald Scarfe’s distinctive drawing on which the subsequent animation was based. Scarfe was not involved as an animator, that was left to the Disney animation team but he did supply the original ideas and then followed them up as a consultant in the animation project. Seeing the final product you get the feeling that some of Scarfe’s more radical interpretation of the characters has been toned down and sweetened a little but Scarfe himself was said to be pleased with the final product. And so he should be! The film does look very distinctive, the designs used have incorporated a quasi-Greek classical look utilising angular features and traditional motifs with Scarfe’s slightly darker cartoon style. The characters are still cute in a recognisably Disney way but the have a little more edge to then than usual. The second feature that makes Hercules a better than average film is the characterisation provided by the very talented voice-over cast. M
anaging to enlist James Wood’s into the project was masterstroke and he undoubtedly steals the show at every opportunity. Scarfe obviously designed the Hades look to approximate the actual features of the actor. This helps us to add weight to the character since we are able to add what we already know about Woods to the cartoon representation. Woods’ distinctive voice, at times sounding almost laconic and then quickly changing to a frenzied rage is matched by the Hades mood colour changes and the parts of the film featuring Hades certainly represent the best scenes in the film. Danny De Vito gives a good account of himself too although the surprise package came in the form of the characters of Pain and Panic who provided the slapstick humour and a large part of the films best comic moments. Many of you will recognise the voice of Matt Frewer (formerly Max Headroom) as Panic and he with Bob Goldthwait certainly manage to create a lot of comic chemistry between the two bungling animated baddies. The interaction between these two is certainly what my young kids enjoyed most in the movie. The other vocal performances are fine and some of the choice inspired i.e. Charlton Heston as the narrator, but the biggest disappointment was the lead Tate Donovan (Tate who?) relatively unknown jobbing actor who after this project went on to be a relatively unknown jobbing actor. He adds nothing to the graphic representation of Hercules and the film is let down by this. Hercules is light comedy and as such will appeal to it’s target audience- children, but despite the fact that it has been expertly made and it looks strikingly different from other previous Disney movies, if you scratch below the surface you can clearly the outline of Mickey Mouse lying just beneath! If we were expecting any significant departure from the Disney norm this film would disappoint. I guess we had to wait for the more recent ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empir
e’ (2001) for anything resembling a new approach from Disney. This is not to say that Hercules is not worthwhile watching, it is. Even though I wouldn’t count it among the best in the Disney catalogue, it will keep you and your children amused for the best part of an hour and half and that can’t be bad. Hercules is available on VHS video for £13.49 (+p&p) from Amazon.co.uk and is soon to be released in the UK on DVD. Thanks for reading and rating this opinion. © Mauri 2002
Disney - of course it's going to be great. And Hercules is no exception. But, I have to say that Hercules is not Disney's finest animation. The songs, were good but by no means excellent compared to the other Disney releases. Nice, happy cheerful but not the kind of tunes that stick in your head like songs from films like...Beauty and The Beast might. I don't know, they just lacked a certain something. The story was good. I miss the traditional fairy tale though. Like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty - what I regard as the 'true' Disney classic. I would not recommend this film for very small children. It's a shame because surely the Disney animation is the perfect market for them, you would have though anywya. But with such things in this film such as visits to the underworld and graphic monsters with never ending heads this film does have the potential to give nightmares I'm sure. The humour is great though, though adults will benefit most as some is quite sophiscated compared to other childrens movies! Don't get me wrong, I do love this film. And like all the other Disney classics, it's the type you can pull of the shelf again and again. Memorable characters and a whole load of magic.
Not the egregious foul it seemed to be in cinemas, Disney's Hercules (1997) stands up as an entertaining spritzer of an animated feature. The continual peppering of in-jokes and cultural references becomes less irksome on the small screen. That there is no majesty or awe invested in the beloved Greek legends also seems less of an error. Also on the plus side is the bounciest Alan Menken music since Little Shop of Horrors. With Zeus's blood in his veins, young Hercules's amazing strength makes him an outcast (sorry, that still doesn't fly), so he trains with a satyr named Phil to become a hero. Along the way Herc meets Meg, a common mortal who falls hard for him. They are both against the jocular Hades, who has to destroy Hercules to take over Olympus. The hydra is the computer-animated set piece for this little number, a no-chance attempt to beat that wildebeest herd from The Lion King.