Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Legend of Hercules

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality
Profanity:Some sexual references
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and somewhat explicit situations
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Extensive and graphic violence including battles, swords, gladiator combat, arrows, attempted suicide, murder
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 29, 2014

Legend-of-HerculesDirector Renny Harlin has made a Hercules epic with drab, washed-out cinematography, poorly staged action scenes, incompetent acting, bad hair, terrible computer effects, and dialogue that lands more heavily than the title character’s punch. Even at just over 90 minutes it feels much too long. Harlin is way too fond of halting the acting with a slo-mo pause or freeze frame. By the last half hour it was worse than repetitive; it was an infuriating tactic for prolonging the end of the film. Talk about adding insult to injury.

In the first of two 3D Hercules movies scheduled for 2014, “Twilight” hottie Kellan Lutz plays the legendary strong man.  Instead of sticking with the perfectly good Labors of Hercules storyline that has captivated audiences for thousands of years, this movie goes straight for the generic sword and sandal epic — there’s the Tessarakonteres with galley slaves whipped to row harder, the battle scenes with soldiers wielding swords and shields, the combat to the death in an arena with thousands of the least persuasive computer-generated audience members ever.  There’s some argle bargle about whether our hero will accept his destiny and there’s a love story.  There’s even, heaven help us, a going into battle pep talk so beyond Lutz’s capacity that he sounds less like a demigod than like he’s ordering a round of beers for the fellows.

Hercules is the son of Queen Alcmene and Zeus, the leader of the gods. Alcmene has already had a son with her husband, the cruel despot King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins). She prays to Hera for help, and the goddess gives her permission for her husband, Zeus, to give Alcmene another son, who will be half-god and will bring peace back to the kingdom. Amphitryon knows the boy is not his.

We skip ahead 20 years to see Hercules (Lutz) frolicking with the beautiful blonde Princess Hebe (Gaia Weiss). They are in love, but she is pledged to his angry and jealous half-brother, the heir to the throne. Soon, Hercules is sent away on a mission that will turn out to be a trap. He is taken prisoner, sold into slavery, and forced into gladiator-style combat to the death.

The actors were cast for their muscles and fighting skills rather than their acting.  That would not be so bad except that they are called upon to spout clunky dialogue in fake — and highly variable — English theater-style accents.  But what really takes all the air out of this balloon is its very premise.  If Hercules has super-powers and the protection of his Olympian father, it dissipates any dramatic tension or sense of genuine peril.  And when the crowd goes wild and starts yelling “Hercules!  Hercules!” it is impossible not to think of Eddie Murphy, and wish he would show up to pick up the pace.

Parents should know that this movie includes sword and sandal-style epic action with a extensive fighting and battles, characters injured and killed, also murder and attempted suicide, sexual situation and some sexual references.

Family discussion: Why did Hercules resist his destiny?  Why did he give up his special powers for the final battle?

If you like this, try: the original “Clash of the Titans” and Russell Crowe’s “Gladiator”



Previous Posts

Trailer: Effie Gray, Starring Dakota Fanning and Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her "Sense and Sensibility" screenplay. She wrote and stars in "Effie Gray," with Dakota Fanning, the real-life story of the Victorian art critic, John Ruskin (David Suchet), and his much-younger bride, Effie Gray. Tom Sturridge plays John Millais, the artist she mar

posted 3:30:30pm Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

New MacArthur Genius Award Winners Include Alison Bechdel and Joshua Oppenheimer
It is always a treat to see the worthy awardees of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants." The foundations awards are unique because you cannot apply for them and there are no restrictions on the use of the money given to the recipients. The awards committee reviews the work of people making ex

posted 9:53:29am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Happy Birthday US Constitution!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzAJyK0ovo8[/youtube] It was on September 17, 1789 that the US Constitution was approved. The Bill of Rights was not added until later, but let's celebrate that, too. How many can you name? This will help you remember them. [youtube]https://www.youtu

posted 8:00:21am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Days and Nights With Katie Holmes and Allison Janney
Inspired by Chekhov's "The Seagull," this is the story of a weekend at a country house that includes a famous actress, her discontented son, and people who love the wrong people and are angry at each other -- sometimes at the same time. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEs6vXztmBM[/youtub

posted 8:00:41am Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in "Serena"
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence re-team in "Serena," which looks very intriguing but does not yet have a US release date. Stay tuned. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-wFHiZHZVaU?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:35am Sep. 16, 2014 | 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.