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A “Hercules” Theory: Was Hercules Better Off Living as a Mortal? (1997 film)

Warning: contains spoilers***

Although the Disney adaptation of “Hercules” differed a lot from the original myth and was probably highly sugarcoated (which should not be surprising), it still pleases me a lot. I honestly like that stuff.

Anyway, onto the topic. Hercules was born a god, but was turned into a mortal by Hades’ assistants, Pain and Panic. The other gods look for him, but when they finally find him, he is mortal and can’t go back to Mount Olympus.

Years later, when Hercules is a teenager, he discovers from his adoptive parents that they actually found him when he was an infant and took him in. They also kept the metal Hercules had worn when he was a baby, and Hercules takes it to the temple of Zeus. That is where he discovers his true heritage and that he was born a god. The Zeus statue (which could be controlled by the actual Zeus in the movie) tells Hercules that he can become a god again if he proves himself a true hero. He tries to achieve that goal throughout the rest of the story and earns his immortality back. But then he realizes that he’d rather live as a mortal with Meg, his love interest.

So, this is where my question comes into place. Only gods can live on Mount Olympus, but can they leave Mount Olympus voluntarily? What if one of them wanted to go to the market, or go for a walk, or make friends? Are the gods allowed to do that?

Because Disney changes a lot from the original source materials, it’s probably a mystery if the gods can leave Mount Olympus and go out in public. But I am leaning toward an unlikely. I could be wrong for the Disney version, though. If I am correct, then I think Hercules would have been better off living as a mortal instead of a god.

If he hadn’t been turned into a mortal and got to grow up with his birth parents, would he have had limited understanding of the human world? Would he have been extra socially awkward from not being exposed to people?

What do you think?

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Review of “Robin Hood” (1973)

There are many adaptations of the “Robin Hood” legend. This one, however, is done with animal characters and even a rooster as the narrator. Although he is telling the story, he sometimes makes appearances in it.

Anyway, there is this evil King John and his wicked, but humorous, snake companion, who wants to steal everyone’s money. Robin Hood and his buddy, Little John, do everything they can to save the citizens from the malicious royalty.

The characters were memorable and likable. Although King John was the villain, he expressed his actions in a very immature way. The most common one was where he’d whine for his mommy and suck his thumb. Robin Hood was compassionate and caring. He showed sympathy to this child rabbit named Skipper when the mayor stole his birthday gift, which was money.

Speaking of which, right before that moment, the siblings sing “Happy Birthday” to Skipper, even though this story is supposed to be set in medieval times. And “Happy Birthday to You” was not written until the 19th century (1800’s). So, that’s Ana chronologic. Clearly, the production studio had enough money to pay that royalty to use the song, but was it really worth it for something set hundreds of years before it gets written? The same goes for the balloons. I’m pretty sure they didn’t exist during the middle ages.  

Okay, I apologize for the obsessing of historically inaccurate moments. But the main pitfall of this movie was that it didn’t engage me a lot. It’s hard to say why. Some movies have that mysterious engaging element, however, this film barely had it.

Aside from the weaknesses I stated, I found this movie to be okay. There were a good number of emotional moments. Yet, I would rate “Robin Hood” 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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I Will Review This… I Can Go the Distance with Disney’s “Hercules” (1997)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

 

Seeing “Hercules” in the movie theater is one of my very earliest (and very faint) memories. I was 3 years old at the time. Then I saw it in 4th grade, during an indoor recess. I watched it again more recently—in March of this year.

In Ancient Greece, the muses start with an opening song. Then it goes to Mount Olympus, where Zeus, Hera, and the other gods are adoring the infant, Hercules. Hades, the god of the underworld, has a plan to harm Hercules. His assistants, Pain and Panic, kidnap Baby Hercules from Mount Olympus and feed him a potion that makes him mortal. They stop when a couple finds Hercules. There is one remaining drop. And Hercules still has his strength. However, since he has become mortal, he cannot return to Mount Olympus. The human couple takes Hercules and raises him.

Years have gone by and Hercules is now a young man going with his adoptive parents to Athens. He accidentally destroys the architecture with his involuntary strength. Hercules feels that something about him is unusual. His adoptive parents reveal to him that he was found and they still have the metal he wore when they found him. The metal has the symbol of the gods. Hercules goes to the temple of Zeus. In order to return to Mount Olympus as a god, Hercules has to prove himself a true hero. He gets help from the faun, Phil, but also falls in love with a young woman named Megara (Meg). Hercules struggles but pushes himself.

I found Hercules’s struggles to make him very believable. The way he acted toward people was done well. The midpoint, where Hercules becomes super famous and popular was great, even if it didn’t satisfy the Zeus statue.

The humor was not slapstick, but used appropriately, such as when Pain and Panic had those sandals with Hercules on them. Hades got mad and Pain and Panic defended themselves with the excuse of the Hercules being a different entity than the one they knew. There were also a lot of 90’s references, such as Air Hercs (like Air-Jordans), Grecian Express, and more. I grew up in the 2000’s, but I still got the references.

The plot points were also done well, especially the deal Hercules made with Hades. It went back and forth. Hercules lost his strength, gained it back, and acknowledged the deal again.

With Meg, I felt her role was only there for romantic element convenience, because hey— shouldn’t Disney movies with protagonists in their teens or over have romance. Not necessarily! I don’t know about the 90’s, but if you’ve seen 2016’s “Moana” or 2012’s “Brave”, neither main characters fell in love. And they were females.

Anyway, back to this film. Although Meg was just okay, I did appreciate how Hercules gave up his return to Mount Olympus at the end to rejoin Meg. I thought that was so sweet. This is one of those movies where the main character does not achieve his or her goal. Yet, the ending is still satisfying. Which leaves me wondering… what if Hercules never met Meg? Hmmm…

Anyhow, the movie is still a 5-star film for me. It isn’t one of the top Disney classics for me. But I still really enjoyed it.

***Update***

After re-watching the movie, I figured out why Meg is important. And that is related to how Hercules has to be a true her and the definition of it. It is not finding danger to defeat, but going out of your way to save someone you love.