This is the one I’ve avoided.
I had a severe love for most Disney movies as a kid. Like in every normal household, my sister and I wore out our copies of The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and The Sword in the Stone, along with their clamshell cases. I had an Aladdin comforter. I cried for joy in Disney World. It was magic, magic everywhere. Nevertheless, at the tender age of 10, it all came to an ignominious halt. I drew the line, and lost all of that happiness, never to be seen again (except when I’m the right amount of drunk in a bar full of hot guys).
I mean, I could handle a Robin Hood that is a talking fox, and I could handle a mermaid that gets her prince and doesn’t turn into air (or whatever the fuck that original Hans Christian Anderson ending was supposed to be). But I was a nerdy kid who LOVED Greek mythology. I was a purist, reading Euripides and Aeschylus. I even did a filmed adaptation of Antigone and made my family dress up in bedsheet togas (not my Aladdin ones). My bible was Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, and I wanted to go to Oxford, study Classics, and be just like her, no matter what. So, naturally, my mom thought she was giving me good news when she said the next Disney movie was about all the things I loved. The second I saw the commercial, though, and witnessed Zeus and Hera as doting parents to their little demi-god son, Hercules, I knew it was going to be a protest. Essentially, the end of an era.
Where was the tragedy? The dysfunction? The blood? This wasn’t my Hercules, and it shouldn’t be the world’s. I did, however get over it in time to watch it’s spin-off series that would always be on after school–Hercules: Zero to Hero. It was pretty great, and I loved the Cassandra character (the Daria of Ancient Greece) as well as Lisa Kudrow as Aphrodite. So, I softened. But still, by then I was kind of too old, and I knew the movie would set me on edge. A show is just a show. The movie would make it REAL.
But here we are. I’m 26 years old with a beer in my hand, and more in the fridge, ready to reclaim my innocence. Maybe it’s not so bad, after all. My friend says it has the best music of any of the movies. Hopefully that counts for something. Right? Let us begin:
3:15: OK, that was a really good start. I like that they face head-on that they’re not telling a tragedy and they’re going to have fun with the story. Also, like the Greek Chorus are black lady muses, because I’m reverse racist. But still, had to pause on seeing Hera doting on baby Hercules. For some reason, that just turns my stomach.
14:41: So Hercules is a demi-god because of Hades. I like the “last drop” thing, it’s very Greek mythology for that to happen, but isn’t this just the story of Superman? I guess that’s all right. I so far like Pain and Panic more than I thought I would. And I like that Hades is only semi-menacing. But I hope they pump up the volume on this story soon.
17:02: Jerkules, hmm. Now it’s like X-Men. People don’t like the mutant. At least fuck up his perfect face a little, make him an ugly duckling. Even if you make him hot later.
24:33: The Go the Distance song was boring. I feel like the plot keeps getting re-told to me, hopefully the key of the movie is Philoctetes and Danny DeVito.
31:44: Yeah, he’s good. But that was one quick transition and training montage. How many more genres can they go through?
39:01: Noir. Vixen in trouble with the wrong people. Megara might be the key to the movie. I like the chemistry of the three of them. On Meg’s romance troubles “He’ll explain it to you later.” Reminds me of Marilyn Monroe in “Bus Stop.” Actually, this whole movie does, oddly.
46:12: Him cutting off the monster head is disturbing. But I have the feeling the movie doesn’t think so, which is more disturbing.
46:59: It was necessary for multiple heads. This is kind of even more scary. But still, not visceral Maleficent dragon-type fear.
58:05: Hercules is cute and goofy around Meg, but he’s no Aladdin. Hard not to compare with other Disney movies. But they invite it when they make him almost look and sound exactly the same with the same mannerisms. Stay off by bedsheets, bub.
1:03:55: Meg is in love after one off-screen date. At least she was set up to have jumped the gun before with her ex, so it’s in character. But damn. Eh, I guess I identify.
1:10:32: OK this movie is falling apart. Everything is happening so fast. Please tell me Hades’ plan that took 18 years to enact isn’t just to release the Titans.
1:16:16: Yep, it is. And Hercules loses his strength in less time than it takes for me to finish my bag of Munchos (2 minutes).
1:21:18: SO. MANY. PROBLEMS. What happened here? Hercules defeats Hades with his strength, and now we have to suffer through an anti-climax? And now he’s going to become a god because he sacrifices his life for Meg? Which he does on the daily? He needed to beat Hades without his strength for this movie to make any kind of sense BLAHHHHHHHHHH.
1:27:19: Shaking my head at the credits.
Well, I feel like I just lost my innocence all over again. It wasn’t even the playing with Greek mythology that ended up being the killer. It was mostly a villain that in the beginning of the movie is fine with ordering the DEATH of his NEPHEW, but then throughout the rest of the movie is constantly honoring ridiculous deals he can and should clearly be taking advantage of. Then pretty much shrugging his shoulders when his “plans” don’t work out.
As my friend said, the music was fine, I liked Meg’s song. I like that it’s about vulnerability and how people can actually hurt each other. Important information for the kiddies!
Ironically, though, that’s what happened with me and this movie. I gave it a chance to get close, and I got slapped down. I was right, the movie made it real. It made the shittiness of Disney real. And it was sad. But aren’t superhero movies usually formulaic and disappointing when it comes right down to it? I think TV does the genre so much better. Shows like Buffy, Xena, Batman: The Animated Series… this is where we can see our idols really struggle, not just in a montage.
And this is where we can actually hear the Aphrodite song.
Hm, at least one thing hasn’t changed… I’m still a nerdy kid.
(And I like Victor Hugo, too; so Hunchback, you stay the fuck back.)