Hercules Blu-ray Review
Disney’s HERCULES debuted in theaters in 1997. After the lackluster performances of POCAHONTAS and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, it was time for the studio to hit the same stride as it did in the early ‘90s. Instead of taking the traditional route and basing their next animated film on a fairytale, the creators decided to go big and write a story depicting the the many players of Greek mythology. Naturally result was an epic success.
Hercules (Tate Donovan) is taken from the gods on Mount Olympus as a baby and raised on earth. Although he is immortal, Hercules still retains his god-like strength. When he is older, he is sent to half man, half goat Philoctetes (Danny DeVito) who just happens to be the best trainer of heroes ever. In no time flat, Hercules is slaying monsters, swimming in money and even has his own action figure. (You know you’ve made it when you have a merchandizing department.) Plus, he has a crush on a girl!
Unbeknownst to Hercules, his girl Meg (Susan Egan) just happens to be in cahoots with the hot headed Lord of the Underworld, Hades (James Woods). Hades only chance to rule the entire world (Olympus included) is to destroy Hercules. And Meg’s affection for Boy Wonder turns out to be the perfect weapon for Hades. Hercules must learn how to help others without expecting glitz and glamor. Because being famous isn’t the same as being a true hero.
Two things make this animated feature truly enjoyable to watch. The first is James Woods’ delicious depiction of Hades. His sleazy used car salesman persona and fast talking articulation was on point. I enjoyed how most of the comic relief came from the movie’s villain. I can honestly say that any time Hades was on the screen, I found myself smiling goofily at my television.
The other reason I enjoy HERCULES so much is because of the music. I think I purchased the soundtrack the minute I saw the movie in 1997 and still love it today. In my book, Alan Menken can do no wrong. He is the brains behind THE LITTLE MERMAID and ALADDIN, but he took things to another level with this film. In fact, he took us to church! The entire movie is narrated by five muses who take us on a journey through the vocal stylings of gospel and R&B. The opening number, “I Won’t Say I’m in Love,” and “Zero to Hero” are definitely worth purchasing on iTunes, even if you aren’t a Disney fan.
HERCULES is an epic tale of hopes and dreams. It’s about figuring out where you really belong. Once you discover who you are, hero or no hero, it’s about going the distance to be the best you can be. That’s a message I can certainly endorse!
HERCULES BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The video was rich and dreamy. Olympus was gorgeous and the CGI animation of the many-headed monster was well done.
Audio: The swelling music helps make this film. I can’t recommend the soundtrack enough.
The Making of Hercules (9:29): This featurette showcases the animators, voice talent and directors behind HERCULES. The most interesting fact I learned was that the man who drew Hercules traditionally drew villainous characters. He was excited to draw the hero this time. Other than that, it’s standard behind the scenes footage from the ‘90s. That means really bad outfits and big hair.
“No Importa La Distancia” (4:47): This is the Spanish “Go the Distance” music video sung by Ricky Martin.
“Zero to Hero” Sing-ALong (2:47): The same footage from the movie with sing-along bouncing ball at the bottom of the screen.