Translate this page

The Movie Review: ĎHerculesí

Friday, August 1st, 2014
Issue 31, Volume 18.
Robert T. Nickerson
Special to the Valley News
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

By the gods! The mighty Hercules in ancient Greece was the then equivalent to todayís superheroes. Itís been debated for a while on whether or not a real Hercules existed, but the legend certainly kept him alive. The story is that Hercules was the son of the king of the gods, Zeus. He lived as a mortal as he slayed many beasts that gave him his reputation as a half god. Heís been the subject of many artifacts found by archeologists and has appeared on many works of art related to the Greeks.

Now what I know about Hercules I learned from school. I have not seen any of the Italian adaptations nor did I catch The Legend of Hercules from earlier this year. When I think of Hercules, I think about the Disney animated adaption from 1997. This is the only version Iíve seen and I liked it, even if it was artistically misguided. That said, the movie Iím reviewing is based off of the graphic novel "Hercules: The Thracian Wars," which gave the legend a full personality and his own journey of exploration to find his place on Earth. The adaptation by Brett Rather (the Rush Hour trilogy) translates it to a high action-packed Hercules.

If you think that our Greek hero will be fighting monsters and magical creatures, think again. This is a revisionist Hercules that tries to dispel everything that heís done. This Hercules (played by Dwayne Johnson) fights along with a fellow group of hunters including a prophet (played by Ian McShane). Theyíre joined by a thief, Autolycus; a warrior, Tydeus; a female archer, Atalanta; and a storyteller/P.R. guy, Iolaus. The team helps establish Herculesí reputation as the son of Zeus by playing up the factor that he fought mighty creatures that were actually ordinary animals or nonexistant. But Hercules is still powerful enough of a fighter that he can be no match for another person.

One day, Hercules is approached by Ergenia (played by Rebecca Ferguson) representing her father Lord Cotys, (played by John Hurt) who wants the legend to train his army for an upcoming battle. The group accepts the offer in exchange for their weight in gold as a reward. Hercules does his best to build up the strength of the men and wages war with an enemy general Rheseus. The battle proves victorious for Hercules, but heís told later that this might have been a trick from Lord Cotys who has intentions on becoming an emperor of the Ancient World. The legend needs to prove the truth behind the name.

When you see the posters of a loin-clothed Dwayne Johnson fighting warriors, "Hercules" delivers exactly what you would expect out of that. The more movies I see Dwayne Johnson in, the more convinced I am that heís the modern day Arnold Schwarzenegger. Heís very charismatic and is a lot of fun to watch when he battles his enemies. Hercules reminded me of "Conan the Barbarian" minus the fantasy elements and campy performances.

Is the film as memorable as Conan? Unfortunately, what "Hercules" lacks is two things; interesting side characters and an exciting first act. I cannot remember the personalities of the sidekicks other than that they were good fighters. I donít even think that they go through any kind of change. Ian McShane is the only one I liked as he got some good lines and of course John Hurt works great as the villain (any movie that guy touches turns to gold). Part of me felt that much of the first hour was filler for the second act. Not that it was bad, but when compared to the battles and climax finale, youíd wish that the whole project worked together.

Iíll give this three and a half paintings of Hercules out of five. Itís mindless entertainment, but something like this could have been a lot worse.



arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!

Add your Comment


Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.


The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter

Advertisement for Dan's Got Crabs


Most Commented

Reach Local Customers

The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2015
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds