Saturday, October 16, 2010

Walt Disney Animation Studios Part 35: Hercules

Series Intro: This is Part 35 of a multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors.

Official Title: Hercules
Release: June 27, 1997
Running Time: 93 minutes
Estimated Cost: $85 million
Estimated Revenue: $252.71 million (big loss from Hunchback)
Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Plot Summary:
Hercules, son of Zeus and Hera, is kidnapped by Hades (God of the underworld). Hades is in the process of overthrowing Zeus but according to the fates, Hercules is the only one who will be able to stop it. So Hades has his henchmen Pain and Panic kidnap the child and remove his immortality to kill him. Pain and Panic blunder and leave a mortal child with super strength. Herc is then adopted by a mortal family.

As a young teen, Herc has a lot of trouble fitting in and soon discovers he is the son of Zeus and wants to take his place among the Gods, but he has to prove himself worthy. With his old pal Pegasus in tow, he goes to satyr Phil, the hero trainer.

After several years, Phil takes Herc out to start “heroing.” He saves Meg from a centaur and heads to Thebes to be the town hero. After several false starts, Herc becomes the almighty hero of Thebes despite Hades attempts to kill him.

Meg turns out to be just another pawn used by Hades until both she and Herc reveal their feelings towards one another and Herc gives up his super strength to save Meg from a lifetime of servitude.

Hades plans backfire and Herc saves Olympus from the Titans and rescues Meg. He turns down God-hood to be with Meg.


Long Ago
The Gospel Truth/Main
Go the Distance
One Last Hope
I Won't Say (I'm in Love)
A Star Is Born

Some fun pop songs, but nothing too powerful.

Plot Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Straying from the original Hercules myths, this was a fun movie to watch, but not one of the best. Again, I was very happy as a child to have another Hero movie, and am still happy to have this one in the cannon. I found the score a bit too pop and gospel for the movie, and I didn’t enjoy some of the jokes that were out of place (like the Hercules action figures).

Animation Rating: 4 out of 5

WDAS’ over reliance on CGI didn’t show too much for this movie. It was subtle and more enjoyable to only see the Titans as CG characters while the rest of the movie was clean and clear. It was interesting how bright the colors were verses the previous movies. The colors harkened back to the brightness (and style) of the movies between Cinderella and Lady and the Tramp.

The Test of Time:

Again we see that another renaissance movie doesn’t quite stand the test of time. As one of my favorite as a child I love this movie, but it has easily fallen to the wayside in my memories.

Where is Herc’s presence in the parks? And outside of the short lived “Heroes” line of merchandising, Herc hasn’t had much play.

Through the Modern Lens

A coming of age story, where one person has to pretend to be something they are not in order to get their mate! Wait a second, doesn’t that sound like most of the WDAS movies of the past ten years? Not that I would ever get tired of musicals, I can see how audiences are about to wane away from the Disney musical. They’ve truly started to just rehash the same archetypes over and over again.

Next Up:

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