on 8 July 2002
For the young, or simply the young at heart, the coming of Disney classics to DVD is something that is eagerly anticipated - and in this respect Hercules is no exception. In the spirit of Disney, the typical inaccuracies can be overlooked during an action-packed adventure. This movie is worth it alone for the hilarious antics of Pain and Panic, along with the stylish villany of Hades. A not-your-typical Disney heroine is also to be celebrated in the form of Meg. All this coupled with the usual Disney package of great tunes and brilliant animation makes this a classic to make any Disney fans' collection complete!
on 21 April 2002
The suspect animation in this Disney movie is soon forgotten as you start to believe that slapstick is the order of the day - or so critics would have you believe.
Having produced film after film of 'classics' like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, Disney dared to be different with this installment and it has clearly paid off. The film launches into song, in a colourful introduction by the feisty Fates, who guide you throughout the story, providing helpful and sardonically amusing recaps at times when you're just about to lose the plot.
The villian, Hades, is a sarcastic, Hollywood-style baddie, a role that would be out of place in Disney films normally but which fits in a treat here.
The story is a touch optimistic, stretching to the boundaries of credibility to accommodate a group of nasty giants to add a punch at the end, and a family of pink and purple Gods living on Mount Olympus.
The music is the movie's jewel in the crown - every song is a winner, every lyric is memorable, and they carry an energy to them that propels the film along and makes the characters even more interesting.
Where Disney really pulls no punches, however, is in the heart of this film. The story, from start to finish, is a touching, often moving one, a mixture of fantasy action and love, which never becomes too sentimental or sickly sweet...though they might try and paint over it with trendy animation and upbeat characters, Disney's well earned success is still with the kind of stories which touch the heart, and this one does just that.
And That's The Gospel Truth.
I'm a big fan of all the Disney movies. The Disney Corporation has for just under a century, entertained generations with their loveable, funny and downright memorable characters and films. Historically, most people will prefer the old Disney film to the modern movies, but there's no doubting they still have their place.
Hercules was released during the rebirth of Disney ignited by the entirely computer animated Toy Story thanks to its collaboration with Pixar. You will be forgiven for thinking that Disney may have taken a bit of a step back reverting to the traditional hand drawn animation, but I'm sure there's a reason for that and it isn't entirely in 2D drawn animation. This particular movie was part of the Disney renaissance in which Disney reverted back to its classic ways of making movies based on classic characters and stories. Along with Hercules, other films in the Disney Renaissance were The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Mulan amongst others.
The plot tells of the ancient Greek myth of son of Zeus, Hercules, half God and half mortal. On his birth, the bitter and evil brother of Zeus, Hades lord of the Underworld is forging a plan to become ruler of all the Gods. He is approached by the fates who tell him that he will win in his plan as long as Hercules does not interfere. Because of this, Hades sends his stupid minions, pain and panic, to kidnap baby Hercules and feed him a potion that will turn him mortal, once he's mortal the plan is then to kill him. All does not go according to plan as Hercules doesn't drink every last drop of the potion and playfully disposes of pain and panic. Alone and stranded on Earth, Hercules is adopted to be brought up as a mortal.
We fast forward to his teenage years and Hercules is a klutz struggling with his own sense of identity and due to his god like strength, he simply doesn't fit in. He is told by his adoptive parents about his relation to the Gods and Hercules goes on a quest to find his true calling and become a true hero. Along the way, he meets his trainer, Philoctetes, a feisty girl by the name of Megara and fights the harrowing Hydra. These people all shape the man he eventually becomes to create a magnificent Disney classic about self discovery.
The animation is very unique in terms of drawing style and the flowing of lines and the brightness of the colours. It is drawn in the style of the paintings on the side of an Ancient Greek vase. The introduction of the Muses to sing in particular scenes add a musical individuality not seen before in a Disney movie. There is a combination of CG animation and 2D animation to make the experience more realistic and immersive, especially in the case of the fight between Hercules and the Hydra. The voice casting is absolutely perfect, with the exception of Hercules himself as I wasn't crazy about whoever voiced him. James Woods as Hades is almost perfect in him putting across the touchy lord of the Underworld prone to unpredictable outbursts of anger. Susan Egan as Megara is also a perfect match even though I'm not familiar with Egan's past or even current work. Of course, the real voicing legend is Danny DeVito is perfect for the touchy, down on his luck Philoctetes.
It's overall an absolutely amazing film and I was 11 years old when I first saw it. I'm now 22 and I reminisce about the first time I saw it and how much I appreciate it. If you're a parent, then this is a good film to introduce to your kids as although it's not in the slightest bit historically accurate, it's still a great way to introduce a new generation to Greek Mythology. The messages conveyed within are that of discovering ones own identity and remaining true to yourself and those you care about. It conveys this message with such subtlety that an adult can watch it and just enjoy the odd sly adult joke without feeling a bit patronised.
on 3 June 2001
Hades - in my opinion one of the better disney villans of late. Evil, yet hilariously funny at times. At the end, you kind of feel sorry for the poor guy. James Woods voices him perfectly. And besides, how can you resist someone who has flames for hair! The rest of the cast are just as good. Hercules isn't quite as annoying as most Disney heros, and neither is Meg (the female lead, who has a very refreshing attitude - especially when dealing with Hades) In all, this movie is great, and I recommend it to everyone! It's just a shame that it's so under-rated.
on 1 August 2003
As a family of five, there are few films which we all really enjoy, but this is one of them. It has excellent songs & music throughout, a good storyline & excellent humour (from slapstick for the little ones, to more subtle lines for the sophisticated amongst us). Our 8 year old daughter hates most Disney films on the basis that they are far too girly & slushy, but loves Hercules. Our 5 year old daughter lives in a pink haze of Disney princess magic, and loves Meg & the muses & laughs a lot while watching this film. Our 2 year old daughter loves Lord of the Rings, Monsters inc & this ! I have to say, my husband & I are always very happy when this film is selected, as we particulaly love both the humour & the music. All in all, I can't fault it - we think it's GREAT !!!!!!
on 16 July 2009
Disney's foray into the gods and legends of Ancient Greece sees the vindictive Hades (a superbly arch James Woods) hatch a nefarious plot to remove Zeus newborn son Hercules from Olympia and render him human, consequently releasing the monstrous Titans and usurping Zeus' position as ruler of the gods.
Told via a `Greek chorus' of comely maidens, the 35th Disney animated feature follows Hercules (from the Greek Heracles) rise from super-strong village reject to his rightful place as Zeus' son and heir. With voices by the likes of Woods, Danny DeVito as the satyr `Phil' whose task is to train Hercules to be a champion, Rip Torn as Zeus and Susan Egan as the wily love interest Megara, and Charlton Heston as the opening narrator, the film is stacked with quality and Disney's usual fine animation.
The makers of the film have edited the original story of Hercules - too dark for Disney's liking, but have used many of the original names and occurrences. Critics of the film have described it as being too `hip' and reliant on cultural references and celebrity cameos, however the 1997 film marked the beginning of a Disney renaissance that lasted over a decade and is a winning combination of old-style Disney musical dialogue and contemporary knowingness. Although not as successful as the likes of Aladdin, The Lion King or Pocahontas, the movie has garnered a large positive following since its DVD release, and although the story is a little more lightweight than some of its peers, this is still an immensely enjoyable family feature.
on 24 October 2013
Considering buying the blu-ray? DO IT! This is a brilliant restoration for blu-ray. The picture and sound are both incredible and the film has never looked this good.
Extras: Making of (approx. 9 mins) and Ricky Martin's 'Go the Distance' Music video (in Spanish).
English DTS-HD Master 5.1
French and German DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1
Dutch, Portuguese, Castilian Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Catalan Spanish Dolby 2.0
Subtitles: English, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Spanish and French
on 31 July 2005
Hercules is a brill disney film for all ages, my friends and I are all 17 and we all love singing along to the groovy songs from this film. Also as classics students we love the greek mythological undertones present throughout the film! A must have in any disney collection
on 21 October 2003
The Greeks are responsible for some of the most heroic and magical stories ever made, and who better than one of the greatest storytellers ever to help bring their most famous hero back to life...
According to the film, Hercules is the new born son of Zeus and Hera (king and queen of the Gods), he gets kidnapped by order of his uncle who plans to overthrow Zeus and thus rule all… Why? Because according to a prophecy, Hercules is the only person that could ruin his plan, so after he is brought to earth, he was supposed to be eliminated… obviously he wasn’t…
The catchiest gospel tunes will hook you to the screen from beginning to end, during which you will see not the mighty hero performing his twelve famous tasks, but Hercules behind the scenes of the public eye… the insecure teenager who’s left out because he can’t control his freakish strength, the painstaking training he had to go through and his climb to fame. Keeping with tradition with the Lion King, Disney also provides yet another perfect villain: Voiced by James Woods, the hilarious God of the Underworld ‘Hades’ provides a brilliant counterweight to mister goody two shoes Herc. (P.S. Scar actually makes a cameo appearance in the film, see if you can spot him…)
Of course the film doesn’t come without a variety of sidekicks, each contributing their own bit of comedy to the film. In other words, their will be laughs galore when watching this feature.
The film doesn’t come without it’s soft spots either, due mostly to the beautiful and seducing female heroine Megara, the warm relationship between trainer Philoctetes and apprentice and the desire for a young boy to find out where he belongs.
Of course you’ll have loads of inaccuracies concerning the true mythology, and practically all the creatures from the other famous stories are thrown into the mix, but as far as cocktails go, this is one of the most delicious of all. I wouldn’t recommend this feature as a documentary for your history lessons, but certainly as good all-round family entertainment, well done again Disney!!
Extra’s are quite good, some behind the scenes stuff and the usual variety of games and picture books for the kids.
on 20 September 2014
DVD copy is 16:9 in ratio yet has black borders at both top and bottom of the screen.
So in effect the image is encased in a big fat black frame.
The problem can be solved by zooming in by 2x.
However inevitably this involves a 50% reduction in the image quality.
Better to pay an extra £3 for the blu ray so have requested refund and will order that instead.