Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Hercules' is another underrated Disney gem


Story

Hercules, the son of Zeus and Hera has his immortality and god-hood taken away by Hades in a plan to try and take over the cosmos. He must learn what it means to be a true hero in order to restore it.

Although this isn't a traditional interpretation of the story, it really works because it is pretty simple with themes that ring true for everyone regardless of their status.

Voice Acting

The voice acting in this movie is stellar especially from Tate Donovan who plays the titular character as well as Danny Devito as Philoctetes and Susan Egan as Megara.

James Wood as Hades is a standout and scene-stealer. He plays my favourite Disney villain. Hades is incredibly charismatic and likeable he became even more likeable when I found out that a lot of his lines were ad-libbed. I'm going to admit that I've rooted for him on more than one occasion.

At no point do you see anyone other than the characters you're meant to see, which makes the movie feel immersive. Each of the voice actors brings something unique to each of the characters, be it humor, sarcasm, righteouness or a combination of all three.

Writing/Direction

The writing in this movie is very witty, a lot of the jokes actually went over my head as a kid and I only realised when I was older. Case in point/...

There are references to Greek myths and classical art that make me enjoy the film a lot more, now that I have actually studied in in school.

Ron  Clements and John Musker were Disney powerhouses at this point after directing The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin before this. One thing those movies have in common is the main character being somewhat of an oddball or fish out of water (literally!!) and even though all those stories have different backdrops they're able to relay a lot of heart and that is what makes this movie special. It covers themes of self -worth and what it means to be a true hero, something that most people deal with at some point (the part about self-worth although if you're struggling with what being a true hero is, then this movie could be very helpful)

I do have to mention the factual inaccuracies, as someone who studied Classics I have to mention it but it isn't something that changes how I see the film. The fact that the movie actually uses Hercules' Roman name (shocking I know) is something I refuse to get over. The movie also reworks mythology to fit its narrative. That's more of a personal nitpick than anything else

 Animation

The animation is by no means bad, however, when you compare it to what came before, you can see a barely noticeable dip in the quality. It still looks very very good however the use of CGI isn't as seamless as with other animated movies. The discrepancies aren't very noticeable and it doesn't take away from the beautiful art direction. It only occurs in a few scenes. The overall animation quality is very high, especially as the film blends in traditional Greek vase techniques with more modern interpretations of art and the juxtaposition of the two work very very well.
Here's an example

And another
Mount Olympus | Disney Wiki | Fandom

You get my drift. 

Score/Soundtrack

The soundtrack is perfect. I give it a 10/10, it's easily one of, if not the best aspect of the entire movie. The muses make the movie 10 times more entertaining, the movie would fall flat without them and I would like them to narrate my life, please and thank you. Each song perfectly fits the accompanying scene and was worked organically into the movie so it doesn't feel jarring when they come in.

I'm just going to leave this here.

And this

And of course this<
I could easily list all the songs in this movie because they are all good. What I'm saying is go and listen to the soundtrack.

Overall Thoughts

This is one of my favourite Disney movies for multiple reasons. It has a simple but effective story, stunning animation, a soundtrack that should have won an Oscar and a Grammy. This is one of those movies where it is acknowledged by a lot of people but is still underrated. When we talk about the Disney Renaissance this film always seems to left out and I'm not sure why. It may not have the emotional weight as Beauty and the Beast or Hunchback of Notre Dame but it is one of the most fun. It does have its more serious moments that come with tonal shifts but the overall tone is never compromised.

This movie falls on a very specific list of movies that I rewatch at least once a year and never get tired of. I can almost quote it word-for-word and know all the songs by heart. Whenever I review a film from my childhood, I get a little apprehensive because I worry it won't age well but I didn't have to worry about that with this because I enjoyed it as much now as I did the first time, over 15 years ago. If you haven't seen this movie, first of all, I'm judging you and second of all go and see it. Right after you finish reading this. I can guarantee that you will enjoy this regardless if your age

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