I’ve skipped the last two Disney animated films because of a lack of motivation to see them. And I would have missed Hercules also if it were not for the fact that the guys who did Aladdin are the ones who made Hercules.
Hercules starts off well; I never thought that Greek mythology could be set to gospel soul music. The story of Hercules is not true to the myth, but it is entertaining enough that one can put that aside. And the kids wouldn’t know the difference. In Hercules, Zeus (Rip Torn) and Hera (Samantha Eggar) have a little child, Hercules (Tate Donovan). Because of a prediction that Hercules will stop evil Hades' (James Woods) plan to take over Mount Olympus and the world, one night Hercules is taken away from Mount Olympus by helpers of Hades. The two helpers, Pain (Bob Goldthwait) and Panic (Matt Frewer) take Little Hercules to Earth and feed him formula to make him a mere mortal. But, they don’t feed him all of it, by accident, and Hercules becomes a mortal who retains hid godly power.
Hercules is raised by a couple who discover him after Pain and Panic abandon him. As a teen Hercules gets outcast because of his amazing strength and clumsiness. He discovers that he is the son of Zeus after becoming depressed. He wants to be a god and join his father on Mount Olympus. In order for this though he needs to be a hero. On his quest to be a hero, he meets Meg (Susan Egan), a strong self-reliant woman, for whom he falls in love with. But, Meg has other motives, at least that’s how it seems.
Hercules is an above average Disney film. It does not rise above Disney’s earlier films, Aladdin, Lion King, or Beauty and The Beast. For me the biggest thing that defines an animate Disney film is the music. And though some of the music is highly entertaining, none of it is memorable. The soundtrack to the film, by Alan Menken is just plain boring and uninteresting.
The film itself moves along quickly, and takes chances in places. It takes, for instance, the chance to poke fun at the merchandising blitz that Disney films create. The animation is well done; I especially enjoyed the animation for Hades and the (computer generated) multi-headed beast that Hercules battles.
The person who seems to be having the most fun is James Woods as Hades. His Woods is all over the places and comes close to Robin Williams as the Genie in Aladdin. Woods does don’t hold back, and is one of two people in Hercules that is memorable. Susan Egan as Meg also memorable. Her strong and sexy Meg is pure entertainment. She is the exact opposite of being the typical damsel-in-distress.
Hercules is an entertaining but flawed film. If you’r a parent and have children wanting to go see it in the theatres, you don’t need to worry, Hercules is entertaining on two levels. You won’t be bored. I am recommending Hercules but not with too much conviction, there and better animated Disney films.