Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Hercules

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Some scary scenes, characters in peril, references to the underworld
Diversity Issues:All-white characters (except the muses)
Movie Release Date:June 14, 1997

According to Disney, Hercules was the adored son of gods Zeus and Hera, stolen by Hades, ruler of the underworld, and made mortal. He must become a true hero to become a god again, so he can live with his parents on Mount Olympus. To do this, he seeks out a grouchy satyr (voice of Danny DeVito), who trains him in fighting techniques and strategy. When he saves some children (so he thinks) and defeats the hydra (its many heads masterfully provided by computer animation), he becomes an instant celebrity, with action figures and “Air Hercules” sandals. He goes on to his other labors, but finds that is not enough to be a real hero — that comes from the heart, not the muscles.

Kids will need some preparation for this movie. What little exposition there is is provided by Spice Girl-style “muses” as a sort of gospel Greek chorus, fun to watch, but hard to follow. The role of the three fates, who share one eye between them and cut a thread when a human’s life is ended, is particularly confusing.

The love interest in this movie is Meg, who sold her soul to Hades to save the life of her boyfriend, and must now try to find Hercules’ weakness, so that Hades can take over Olympus. She is tougher and braver than the traditional DID (as damsels in distress are referred to in the movie), but still very much on the sidelines in the big moments. Parents may want to talk to both boys and girls about her choices. They may also want to talk about the absence of people of color (other than the muses).

The movie’s other weakness is its lackluster score. As in “Aladdin,” this movie’s white-bread, “aw, shucks” teen-age protagonist is utterly outshone by a star turn of astonishing verve — this time, James Woods as bad guy Hades, who will join Cruella DeVille in the pantheon of unforgetable villains. Sidekicks Pain and Panic (Bobcat Goldthwait and Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer) are wickedly funny as well.

Families who watch this movie should talk about who the real heroes are, and how society treats its heroes. Why do we buy products endorsed by athletes (or movie tie-ins)? It is also worth talking with them about Hercules’ motivation — is wanting to be a god a good reason to want to be a hero? Do we see any evidence that he (or anyone else in the movie) has much concern for the well-being of the community?

NOTE: While the tone of the movie is light-hearted, parts of it may be too scary and intense for smaller children. Some may also be confused or even upset about the underworld and what happens when people die.



  • Allison

    Movie Mom, thank you for all the great reviews. I also loved Hercules, but I would just like to remind you that it was released in 1997, not 1999.

  • Dominic

    Released after All Dogs Go To Heaven 2.

  • Pingback: List: Hercules Movies - Movie Mom

Previous Posts

Home
"Home" is a cute and colorful movie about an alien invasion with an important safety tip concerning one of the most destructive forces in the universe, something devastating to every known life form.

posted 5:59:44pm Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Ebertfest 2015
Passes are on sale for Ebertfest 2015!  I'll be there!  From Chaz Ebert's blog: We are opening with Jean-Luc Godard's silent opus in 3D, "Adieu Au Langage" ("Goodbye To Language"). Some have complained that you were against 3D films, but we know that you were against 3D when it was used onl

posted 3:49:39pm Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Apps for Movie Fans
Geek Dad has a great list of apps for movie lovers, including MoviePass, which gives you unlimited movie tickets for one set fee.  I'd add Flixter from Rotten Tomatoes and of course my favorite, IMDB.

posted 12:15:35pm Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Pretty Woman -- 25 Years Later
The cast and director of "Pretty Woman" reunited on the Today Show to reminisce about the movie that, improbably, made us root for a predatory finance guy and a prostitute to live happily ever after. They d

posted 1:33:04pm Mar. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Supercut: Gangsters
Movies have been fascinated by gangsters from the beginning, and this stylishly compiled supercut shows us some of the best well worth appreciating not just the art of the actor but also of the director, cinematographer, and production and costume designers.  Don't you think it's time to bring back

posted 8:00:38am Mar. 25, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.