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Hercules This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   "Hercules" seems like your average G-rated Disney movie: strikingly illustrated and animated, not too intelligent and wrapped up with a neat little ending. However much it tries, the film never really gets the story totally (or even close to) right, and much of the description of Hercules is degrading.

"Hercules" is about the son of gods, kidnapped from Mt. Olympus, made mortal, yet immensely strong, and how he tries to regain both his place among the gods and his immortality. Doesn't sound bad, right? His evil uncle, Hades, god of the underworld, is trying to overthrow Zeus and, with the Titans, become ruler of the world. Hercules goes into battle with his father, Zeus, against the enemies. Does he defeat them? You'll see, but be warned, there are some flaws ...

The inaccuracies are too many to count, but here is a sampling: Hercules was the son of Zeus and a mortal. In the movie, he was not born and never became a god. Hades, although god of the underworld, was not the evil god the movie makes him out to be. The more things the movie flubs, the less it seems the viewer can really focus on the story.

Hercules, as many know, had to perform twelve major labors. The movie reduces all but two of his labors to a 15-second clip. A little blip of each is shown, such as Hercules facing a charging bull with no background information as to why Hercules came to perform these labors.

The description of Hercules as a gawky but smart and immensely strong teenager-turned-superhero is only half-right. He was powerful in boyhood, yes, but he was not gawky and certainly wasn't smart. He became a hero performing deeds to rectify irresponsible accidents caused by his strength. Many stories actually portray him as a rather dim-witted strongman instead of a lonely outcast with massive force.

Most irritating are the trivializing aspects of the film. It is true that the Greeks sang about their heroes, but never gospel-style. Almost from the beginning, the movie tries to make "Herc," as he is known, into the average kid with issues, and then into the Michael Jordan of Greek mythology. As soon as his talent is discovered, he is sent to a "hero trainer" for insight to becoming a hero. Hercules is not Sugar Ray Leonard. He doesn't need someone named Sonny to wipe him down. In the movie, however, he is merchandised to show how he gained fame and popularity. In short, Hercules is turned into the god that he never really was.

The movie wraps up everything in a neat little package. Hercules defeats the Titans and Hades in battle with his father Zeus, he is offered a spot on Mt. Olympus as a god, and rescues and marries the love of his life. Although this is a children's movie, no Greek myth ever ended that nicely. All in all, I think "Hercules" is a rather poor movie. It is inaccurate, demeaning and watered down. Final rating: 2 stars out of 5.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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