Monday, February 4, 2008
I bought this for my son (age 10) before I realized it was had a rating of MA15+ and so thought I needed to watch it before he did and see if was suitable for his viewing. (Its not!)
The story is of course based on Hercules, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, a priestess of Hera. It starts with a bit of a warm up into the ‘time of the gods’ before seeing how Alcemene became pregnant with twins – one of which was Hercules. Alcemene hated Zeus and so hates his probable offspring, Hercules, therefore he is never shown any love or affection by her, but rather by his ‘father’ Amphitryon.
He leaves the his home in semi-exile after he thought he had killed a poet, Linus, and after many years becomes stronger - though little wiser. He has an interlude with Megara, who he has had a crush on for many years and she delivers triplet boys. After a daring fight with a monster and saving the king, he is allowed to marry Megara which he does. Megara, however is also a priestess of Hera and under Alcmene’s guidance drugs Hercules who in his drugged stupor believes he is being attacked by demons and kills his sons.
Although he tries to kill himself, Zeus does not allow it and instead Hercules serves Alcemene and her new husband, by completing six tasks set by them. Naturally they are not small tasks, but of course he succeeds and gains much wisdom in their completion. In the meantime he is surprised but pleased to learn that his friend, the nymph Deianeira, loves him and they already have a son.
Basically there is much fighting, quite a bit of maiming and killing and some broad hints in the “mature themes” department.
Quite a few of the characters are quite disagreeable eg. Alcmene (Elizabeth Perkins), King Eurystheus (Kristian Schmid) and Iphicles (Luke Ford), but they are balanced by the nicer ones eg. Linus (Sean Astin), Deianeira (Leelee Sobieski) and Amphitryon (Timothy Dalton). Balance is a theme running through this movie – male/female Zeus/Hera good/bad, belief/reality and so on.
Overall, the acting is pretty average. Timothy Dalton gives quite a good performance and is believable (in as much as you can believe a myth!). The adult Hercules (Paul Telfer) is suitably built for the part and whilst not brilliant, carries off his part well enough. By the end he seems to have embraced his part and is showing more feeling. Elizabeth Perkins seems to enjoy her role and Sean Astin plays his part agreeably. Leelee Sobieski was a little stitled, but seeing as she was a nymph and covered in bronze makeup, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt! I think a number of the actors may have been limited by the script/direction as I believe they are capable of more.
It would probably be accurate to say that I won’t watch it again – it’s mindless watching for those days when you’re unwell and lying on the couch, brain in a fog and unable to think.