Hercules (1997) — The end of an amazing run for Disney?

“That’s the gospel truth!”

Heather’s rating: So is this an audience or a mosaic?

Heather’s review: This ranks right up there as one of my favorites in the Snarky Disney Movies category. You see, I have two distinct groupings of Disney movies: Sweet, classic Disney (Aristocats, Jungle Book, the psychotropic drug trip that is Alice In Wonderland) and snarky Disney (Lion King, Hercules, The Emperor’s New Groove). Snarky Disney is my favorite, for it is filled with jewels of social commentary, pop culture references and hilarious quotes. I have a soft spot for the saccharine goo that is classic Disney, but the MSTIE in me adores the quiptastic characters of Snarky Disney. Robots trapped in space, misshapen cartoon characters… tomato tomahto.

Charlton Heston was the narrator for this movie. The man really had a great voice, which isn’t something you come across too often these days. Listening to him reminds me of Sumner from Gauntlet.

Nice. I got in an MST3K and a video game reference in the first two paragraphs!

As I was saying… Heston narrates the opening and explains that we’re going to hear about the story of the great Hercules. Heston gets interrupted by some muses who tell him they’ll take over from here, presumably so they can up the SAS-SAY! a notch. As far as Disney movie songs go, these ladies have my vote for talent and fun. They take on some mean harmony, and the energy of “A Star Is Born” really gets the audience pumped up for the movie. On that note (ha!), talk about creative license, pronouncing impossible as “imposple” so it’ll rhyme better with “gospel”. Speaking of that… the phrase “that’s the gospel truth” gets highly annoying. It’s in three of the eight songs.

I’m not crazy about this animation, mostly because of the way Hercules was drawn. Baby Hercules had Popeye arms, but Teenage Hercules was scrawny. Teen Herc’s thighs were tiny and he had humungaloid calves. The worst thing was his ears. The ears REALLY bug me. They’re over sized discs of flesh with swirls. It looks like he has cinnamon buns protruding from the sides of his head.

But hey, it’s a very enjoyable movie. It’s got a few musical numbers, but not as many as others I’ve seen from Disney. There’s superb voice acting by James Woods, Rip Torn (best name ever), Susan Egan (she’s also in Spirited Away!) and Danny Devito. Let’s not forget Jim Cummings, who is probably my favorite current voice actor.

I’ve read a lot of complaints about the inaccuracies between the Disney version and the Greek mythology it’s inspired by. I empathize, really I do. Especially about Hera. But it’s Disney. What did you expect? Wanna make up a list of all their movies that grossly went off the path of the original story? How about making a list of EVERY movie in Hollywood that takes liberties with the source material? Yeah, have fun with that. And making the argument that it’s giving kids incorrect information bugs me. THAT’S why you read to your children and encourage them to actually read and not get all of their education from a TV screen.

That said, you should watch this movie. So go forth all of you and sit in front of your TV screen!

Didja notice?

  • To prove his worth to Philoctetes Hercules tosses a UFO out over the ocean.
  • Gee, Danny Devito. Talk about an awkward song sequence.
  • Ahaha. He got so mad he cooked an egg on his head. Ahahah… never seen that one before.
  • That “I’ve got two words” running joke with Phil got real old. Real fast.
  • Cute play on many popular product names. Herculade, Buns of Bronze, Air-Herc, Grecian Express card.
  • The design of The Hercules Store looks a lot like the outside of The Disney Store. Just sayin…
  • The lion skin Hercules wears while his portrait is being painted is Scar from The Lion King.
  • So the Venus de Milo was created by a rogue skipping rock. Hmmm.
  • How did he reach to pluck that flower out of the tree? It’s not like he’s super tall.
  • The counter for the souls in the Underworld
  • Philoctetes. Wow. Say it fast enough and it sounds like… never mind.

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