This is part of my series “Thoughts on Disney movies,” where I’ve gone back to watch all of the animated Disney features, starting with Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, and then share my thoughts on the blog.
Highlights: Hercules is the movie that seems to grow on me more every time I watch it. I wasn’t a huge fan as a kid, but as an adult it’s one of my favorites. My favorite parts about this movie are probably the characters. Hercules himself is pretty endearing, especially since we first see him as a super clumsy kid that no one really likes. He’s your typical, always trying to do what’s right hero, and is unbelievably honest and naive. The more interesting character, however, is Meg, who from the get-go is not particularly likable. Hercules falls for her at first sight, but it’s pretty clear to the audience that she’s playing him. She’s got a bit of an attitude and is by no means the “come rescue me, hero” type of girl – she only pretends to be. She’s jaded in a way that other Disney females are not. She acts super tough but really she has a heart. And Hades is a hilarious, fast talking villain. The music is another big highlight.
Low points: It’s a funny movie, but I think some of the jokes can get just a bit cheesy for my taste – think bad puns based on Greek mythology. On the flip side, there are a lot of very funny jokes so I’m okay with it overall. And I think the animation can get a bit spotty. The scene where Hercules is fighting the hydra stands out a lot as being CGI, and it doesn’t match the rest of the film at all.
The Music: I’m a big fan of the gospel style music we hear in Hercules. The 5-woman “gospel choir” songs are my favorite of the bunch, with Zero to Hero and The Gospel Truth being highlights. I also adore Meg’s song, “(I Won’t Say) I’m in Love.” Phil’s song is okay. Though I do have to admit that I’m just not a big fan of Go the Distance. I know a lot of people love it, but it’s not as powerful for me as I would like it to be.
The Villain: Hades has a lot to live up to, given that he’s already established as an evil villain in mythology. It’s kind of surprising to see Hades as a fast talking comedian rather than the epitome of evil, but I like it. He’s still pretty darn evil, effectively planning to take over the world and not giving a damn about what he has to do to anyone else to get to the top. He is completely ruthless. Who is more evil, Hades or Jafar? I’m not sure, but this guy is definitely up there on the evil meter.
Fun Fact: I learned a ton of interesting things when I attended the D23 panel about the making of Hercules! One of my favorite stories is about the narration done by Charlton Heston at the beginning of the film, while introducing the muses. The narration was supposed to end with the phrase “you go, girl.” However, Heston thought saying “There you go, young lady” would be a more appropriate choice, and initially recorded it with that phrase. After a couple of takes they convinced him to say “you go, girl,” and of course that is what ultimately ended up in the film.
Where in the World: Despite being a somewhat popular movie, Hercules really doesn’t appear anywhere in Disney World. You’ll catch brief glimpses of some of the characters in things like Fantasmic or Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom, but there are no meet and greets, attractions, shows, etc. My first trip to Disney Hercules had just come out, and at that time there was whole Hercules parade in MGM!
Overall: I’ll give Hercules an 8.5 out of 10. I enjoy it every time I watch it and love many of the songs.
What do you think of Hercules?