Hercules, son of the Greek God, Zeus, is turned into a half-god, half-mortal by evil Hades, God of the Underworld, who plans to overthrow Zeus. Hercules is raised on Earth and retains his god-like strength, but when he discovers his immortal heritage Zeus tells him that to return to Mount Olympus he must become a true hero. Hercules becomes a famous hero with the help of his friend Pegasus and his personal trainer, Phil the satyr. Hercules battles monsters, Hades and the Titans, but it is his self-sacrifice to rescue his love Meg which makes him a true hero. Written by
Kristi Connolly <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Leaving aside the 'Pastoral' segment of Fantasia (1940), this was the first Disney animated feature to be completely inspired by mythology rather than a fairy tale. See more »
When Hades is in the boat on the river Styx at the beginning of the movie, he throws a small steak to the huge three headed dog as he passes it. In the next shot, the steak is much bigger. See more »
Long ago, in the faraway land of ancient Greece, there was a golden age of powerful gods and extraordinary heroes. And the greatest and strongest of all these heroes was the mighty Hercules. But what is the measure of a true hero? Ah, that is what our story is...
Will you listen to him? He's makin' the story sound like some Greek tragedy.
Lighten up, dude.
We'll take it from here, darling.
You go, girl.
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Hades (James Woods) says: "What d'ya say? It's happy ending time! Everybody's got a little taste of somethin' but me. I got nothin'. I'm-- I'm here with nothin'. Anybody listenin'? It's like I'm-- What am I, an echo or something? Hello? Hello? Am I talking to, what, hyperspace? Hello, it's me. Nobody listens. See more »
This is possibly my favorite Disney movie ever. With a razor-sharp wit, perfect comic timing and a fresh plot that transcends most other Disney fairy tales, this one's definitely a keeper.
You'll be enchanted right from the first number, in which the five Muses (from Greek mythology) set the stage of ancient Greece in a powerhouse gospel number which gives a whole new meaning to a Greek chorus. Recalling the three ladies in Little Shop of Horrors or Motown groups like the Supremes, the Muses appear randomly throughout the movie to narrate the story of Hercules with jazzy musical numbers that you'll be humming for days. The songs (by Alan Menken) are certainly a twist from the classic Disney musical, but there's enough variety to create a great, well-rounded musical. The writing is the wittiest in any Disney movie ever, with constant in-jokes and hilarious references to Greek mythology to reward the amateur scholar. The lyrics, too, are witty and full of tricky rhyme schemes that must have been a doozy to write but play out perfectly on screen. (You'll be flat-out awed by how many things rhyme with the phrase "gospel truth".)
Another of the highlights is the heroine, Megara or Meg. She's in no way a typical Disney princess. She's sassy, sexy, cynical and dangerous
and more winning by far than any warbling Cinderella or whiny little
mermaid. The villain, Hades, is also a fun, witty character, although plenty dangerous in his own right.
Of course liberties have been taken with Greek mythology. The dysfunctional Olympian family has been cleaned up (No more Zeus having affairs or Hera trying to kill people) and the story has little in it of the original Greek legend. Instead, it's really an archetype, a modern retelling of all the Greek legends at once. Appearances are made by the Muses, the Hydra, satyrs, the Fates, Pegasus, the Titans, Narcissus, and of course all of the Olympian gods. Scholars may take offense, but since legends evolve and are to be taken with a grain of salt anyway, I didn't have a problem with it.
Yes, it's cheesy, just like other Disneys. But when nobody else is around, there's no resisting the corn. The third act is absolutely heart-wrenching, and even if it's over-the-top, it never truly goes over the top, and the constant bombarding of wit keeps things from getting too touchy-feely. Besides, tied together with a golden Disney score, who couldn't resist a dose of adventure, heartache, redeeming love, and most of all, heroism? Just let yourself be carried away to ancient Greece and you'll forget the movie's problems in a Pelyponnesian minute. As the Muses would say, that's the gospel truth.
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