Last night I went to see an advanced screening of the story of the mythical Greek hero Hercules. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules was forced to embrace his real father and use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful role in the kingdom.
The latest version of Hercules is devoid of hydras, minotaurs, and other fantastical beasts commonplace to previous incarnations of the son of Zeus. Still it’s a unique take on a story told countless times, but with such minimal adherence to Greek mythology, there’s very little that relates it to Hercules. Instead, the film seems to mimic the adventures of “Gladiator” and “300” in hopes of capturing their style and box-office success.
That said, Hercules, is a perfectly acceptable action extravaganza, complete with a heroic underdog, dictatorial villains, and thousands of miles of barbarism, betrayal, and jealousy to impede an epic quest to reunite lovers. (aww how predictable) The filmmakers don’t seem to care that they’ve implanted absurd overuse of slow motion, wildly circling cameras, and objects unaffected by gravity. I guess they feel all the extra computer graphics and image manipulation was necessary to make their 3D movie work. But that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. In fact, the audience was laughing out loud at the graphics.
Although the film sometimes resembles mixed martial arts movie and Hercules momentarily takes on the role of Robin Hood, and the politically correct world of filmmaking demands that one of the six undefeated gladiatorial champions of Greece is a woman, “The Legend of Hercules” is a movie that can be enjoyed until the very end – even if it’s forgotten mere minutes after that. Rent the 1997 Disney version if you want Greek mythology done better.