The Legend of Hercules: A Failed Combination of Hollywood, History, and Mythology

     Since the Legend of Hercules is released in theaters today, I figure there might be a few things to be said about it.  As a mythology buff and movie fanatic I know some of these things need to be said.  From the first trailer anyone could tell that instead of giving us a mythologically accurate story, Hollywood would rather shoe horn in a bunch of action-packed scenes into a movie held together by the barest thread of plot- without even a hint of similarity to the great stories from ancient Greece, outside of their names.

     As for the inaccuracies- I can tolerate a fair amount- suspension of disbelief and all, but only so much.  There has to be limits about this kinds of thing.  Why do Hercules and these warriors all appear like the Spartan armies that were supposed descended from him centuries later?  Gladiatorial arenas- from the Roman era?  A lightening whip-sword?  Who keeps thinking these will do well?  They might as well make a sandwich shop where the "sandwiches" are made from other shop's used bread and a piece of meat sliced thinly enough to see through.

     Here's what the trailer shows-
          Awful acting?  Check.
          Bad dialogue?  Check.
          Terrible special effects?  Check.
          Super strength but struggling?  Check.
          Preposterous fighting manoeuvres?  Check.
          Abusing slow mo/speed up moments?  Quadruple check.

Flexing my acting chops is WAY harder than flexing my abs!!!

     The Problem

     Hollywood is trying to capitalize on films such as Thor and 300 by creating a trend of making quick buck with pitiful films, but at least the two mentioned had good stories.  The Hollywood machine is too concerned with churning out giant theatrical spectacles without the driving force of thoughtful or even reasonable narrative.  There's far too much reliance on cheap CGI, and not enough common sense.  You can add to that the notion of doubling ticket prices for suckers that buy 3D.  I'm sure there'll be the quite a few moments where arrows or spears swung towards the viewer just to make use of the forced perspective, but nothing worthwhile.
     It is sad that we can even say what scenes were lifted from video game and other movies- the stones on chains look awfully reminiscent of Kratos' blades from the God of War series.  (Remember the film Immortals?  They have a scene that is damn near an exact copy from God of War 2 with Poseidon diving off of Olympus into the ocean.)

     Just from the commercial it looks like we have clips stolen directly from 300, Ben-HurConan the Barbarian, Spartacus, and Gladiator.  Simply seeing the trailer is enough to tell me this film is more than likely comprised solely of ripped-off segments of other films.
     Honestly- this looks to be worse than Clash/Wrath of the Titans.  It takes truly heroic effort to make things worse than that.  It appears they've created a commercialized demigod.  One made of a blank face and giant pecs.  How can so many sword & sandal movies nowadays copy so much from predecessors and then completely fail to capture the magic of any of them?  Movies cannot be carried on two hours of flexing and swords.

     An Answer

     When will we get a Greek Myth film with all the complex psychology and meaningful depth that are inherent in the old mythic stories?  They have lasted so long for good reason- and that reason isn't special effects- it's the infinitely layered symbolism.  There is always another layer of meaning.  Another interpretation.  Where is the Hercules (Heracles) that willingly accepts dangerous quests of penance for slaying his family in a fit of madness?  The servitude under King Eurystheus- bearing the guilt and striving to do good?  We don't want the brawn over brain meat slab that can't act Hercules, we want the emotive champion- the greatest hero in the Olympian pantheon Hercules.  He needs range and charisma.
     There is a vast wealth of mythological lore to draw from, and if properly tapped- there could be an unmatched blockbuster on par with the likes of Gladiator.  We can't have that until we have a meaningful story.  Give us an adaptation that is written by people that know and care about the legends.

     A side note:  The biggest threat this movie has towards Brett Ratner's Hercules (starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is that this'll probably be available to rent when that hits theaters in July.  I'm genuinely surprised this didn't go straight to DVD.


  1. If I go see this movie it will only be under the intentions of hoping that the movie operator "accidentally" slips a few episodes of Kevin Sorbo into the reel.

  2. That's my new video project. I'll re-cut the movie to contain Kevin Sorbo in the lead.