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

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of the people around them.  Psyblog described the study, which s

posted 3:56:33pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies
Happy September!  There isn't much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here's the best of what's coming in theaters this month: September 12: "Dolphin Tale 2"  This sequel to the endearing fact-based "Dolphin Tale" brings back stars Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Fr

posted 8:00:52am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Labor Day 2014: Movies About Unions
Today we pay tribute to workers, especially those who worked for better conditions for everyone. Sally Field won an Oscar for this real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45CX8W9peTs[/youtube] Doris Day plays

posted 7:00:42am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Summer Summer-y: The Summer Movies of 2014
A few concluding thoughts on the summer movies of 2014: A good summer for food movies: "The Chef," "The 100-Foot Journey," and "The Trip to Italy" had some big-time actors but the real stars were the luscious meals. Special mention of the delicious French comedy "Le Chef," starring Jean Reno, as

posted 3:46:47pm Aug. 31, 2014 | read full post »

The Last Leonard Maltin Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin was only 17 years old when he was offered the chance to create his guide to movies on television. For many years, I kept the latest copy on my desk and anyone who came into my office could pick a page number at random. If I had not seen any of the movies on that page, I had to buy t

posted 8:00:33am Aug. 31, 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.