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The greatest thing since they put the pocket in pitta!
Member Name: Kat1987
Advantages: Fun, entertaining, heart warming triumph of good over evil.
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.
Summary: A Disney classic that will have you singing along!