Tag Archives: Hercules

Movie Review: Hercules (4 *’s) (2014)

Hercules is the latest reimagining of the amazing Greek hero of antiquity of the same name. Finally, it is played by an actor who actually looks the part (although that could be said of The Legend of Hercules, too). I mean, I loved Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys but he’s just not quite as buffed up as I would have preferred. After all, Hercules was known for his great strength. Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock of wrestling fame, is so ripped, it’s ridiculous. He looks the part. Dwayne Johnson is supported by a small cast of actors who make up Hercules’ traveling company. Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize anyone else except Ian McShane, who I’ve seen somewhere else, but I couldn’t quite place. Going by the credits, it could be Pirates of the Caribbean, or a few other things. Also, there was John Hurt who played Lord Cotys (spoiler alert), the true villain of the movie. I’ve seen John Hurt in a number of things and like him as an actor.

Anyway, the movie tells the story of a single adventure of Hercules’. There are references to his twelve labors, but this is not one of them. In actuality, the movie takes a “realistic” perspective of Hercules. He is a man of great strength, with a number of companions. One of them is the bard-in-training, Iolaus, who has the task of magnifying and spreading the Hercules legend. It’s kind of funny, tongue-in-cheek type stuff. Basically, Iolaus exaggerates the events that occurred, building up Hercules’ legend to demoralize enemies. It’s a different, and refreshing take on the legend. I think I prefer the Hercules as semi-divine hero story, to the Hercules as just a really strong man story, but I’ve always been biased toward fantasy. Anyway, the story revolves around Hercules’ encounter with Lord Cotys, a man who originally hires Hercules to train his army and bring to justice a rival warlord. Little does he know, that the warlord is really an honorable rebel, and Cotys is the diabolical tyrant.

Strengths: the acting was fine, the special effects were good, and the plot, although predictable to a certain extent, was still enjoyable and coherent. Weaknesses: if you are looking for magic and sorcery, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Like I said, the story plays up the realism angle. You are never convinced that Hercules really is the son of Zeus or not. The feats he performs, though, are sufficient to give you cause to believe such if you so choose. I kind of like that theory, so I’m sticking to it.

Overall, the movie was quite good and I’ll give it four out of five stars.

Movie Review: The Legend of Hercules (2014) (2 1/2 *’s)

My niece warned me that The Legend of Hercules was a terrible movie with bad acting, bad special effects, and an uninteresting story. I went to see it anyway just so I could review it for my blog. Because of my niece’s warning, though, I went into it with rather low expectations. It tells the story of the origin of Hercules. The circumstances of his conception and birth and how he came to be the greatest hero of the Greek mythos.

 

The story begins with the young King Tyrannis (I believe that was the name used) attacking and conquering the city-state of Argos, a nation allied to his own. The assault goes well and culminates in a final one-on-one battle between King Tyrannis and the king of Argos. Of course, King Tyrannis wins and claims Argos as his own. Amidst the celebration, Tyrannis’ wife, upset and sick of war and all its attendant death prays desperately to Hera for divine aid. Hera hears her prayer and answers her communicating her wishes through one of her priestesses. A deal is made. Zeus wants to sleep with the mortal queen (Greek gods were like that) and the mortal queen is in need of a hero. For the sake of peace, the mortal queen and Hera agree to let it happen. Thus, Hercules is conceived. He is born and is raised a prince, though one of lower stature than his elder brother because his stepfather believes he was sired by a mortal lover to the queen not Zeus, the king of the gods. So, from the get go, Hercules finds himself antagonized by his stepfather and his older brother as he grows into manhood.

 

Strengths: um, nothing really sticks out. There were a few good lines, but a good movie is more than the occasional one-liner. The story told was logical and complete, I guess, there were no glaring flaws that I caught on to. Weaknesses: I think my biggest complaint was that the movie seemed to rush through things. It covered a lot of material and squeezed it down into an hour and a half. Hercules’ life as a slave could have been fleshed out more, as could several other important details like the character of Iphicles among others. The special effects were substandard, but I usually don’t try to judge a movie solely on special effects. Those are a product of budget, and not everyone has a 100 million dollar budget. And the part where Hercules was swinging around a couple hunks of rock on chains, I thought, was silly.

 

Anyway, I’ll give The Legend of Hercules two and a half stars out of five.