HerculesHercules (1997) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film by Dave Koch
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- Walt Disney Studios
- Animated Characters: Hercules, Philoctetes, Pegasus, Hades, Megara, Pain, Panic, Zeus, Hera, Alcmene, Amphitryon, Hermes, The Fates, Cyclops, Calliope, Clio, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Thalia.
- Awards: Academy Award Nominee, Best Music, Song, "Go The Distance", 1998.
Golden Globe Nominee, Best Original Song- Motion Picture, "Go The Distance", Alan Menken (Music), David Zippel (Lyrics), 1997.
- Originally Released in 1997.
- Production Number: 4347-999
- Running Time: 93 minutes.
Cartoon Production Information:
In most versions of the Greek mythology, Hera is the antagonist while Hades is a neutral character. Here, it's the other way around.
This was the 35th film in the official Disney list of animated films.
Their Greek-chorus-as-soul-singers idea is straight out of Little Shop of Horrors- one of whose composers, Alan Menken, worked on Hercules' score. And why are they so proud that the movie is not as somber as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as though a Disney cartoon never had any dark moments? Anyone remember Bambi's mom?
The movie's best joke is how it has taken the one-dimensional perspective of ancient Greek drawings and brought it to full animated life. Everything from a chest hair to a horse's head ends in a curlicue and looks as though it was flattened by Silly Putty, just like on every Greek vase you've ever seen. In TV animation, this baroque style would be used to make up for the lack of movement, and yet in Hercules, the figures bounce all over the screen with the zest of Bugs Bunny.
The plot is more traditional, but in the best Disney sense, drawing you in despite your best defenses. Hercules is stolen from his godly parents on Mount Olympus and grows up as a mortal on Earth, even though he has superhuman strength--he manages to move an entire building just to pick up something stuck under its wall. When this sort of thing happened in Superman, everyone stared at the kid in awe. Here, everyone shies away from the kid and brands him an outcast. And who among us didn't feel like some gawky outsider when we were growing up?
As usual in Disney cartoons, though, the best characters are the supporting ones. There's underworld god Hades (voiced to a T by James Woods), Hercules's satyr/coach Phil (Danny DeVito), and love interest Meg (Susan Egan), whose "I Won't Say ("I'm in Love)" is probably the movie's best number.
At its best, Hercules recalls the subversive nuttiness of Robin Williams's riffs in Aladdin. After the political correctness of The Lion King and Pocahontas, that alone makes it worth seeing.
Review By: Steve Bailey
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