Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Not to be confused with The Legend of Hercules, this is the Hercules with The Rock in it. This one has the undeniable advantage of actually having recognizable relationships with the Hercules myths, though the movie does play with expectations.

This is a much better movie than I expected. It is not a great movie, by any measure, but it is fun, and better than it should have been.
In this version of Hercules, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays of the Greek demigod. This is a Hercules whose famous labors are behind him, and who wanders the world as a mercenary, haunted by his past. The matter of what exactly haunts him is part of the story, and ties together the various exploits into something resembling a decent plot.

The movie is sort of narrated by Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), Hercules' much-less-muscled nephew. The hero is also accompanied by a band of adventurers - in fact, the group greatly resembles a Dungeons & Dragons party, with Hercules as the fighter and Iolaus as the bard. Rounding out the cast are Amphiaraus (Ian McShane) as the cleric, Autolycus (Rufus Sewell) as a rogue, Tydeus (Aksel Hennie) as a deranged barbarian, and Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) as the ranger.

Atalanta is an interesting character. On the one hand, she is the token female, and her costume is the sort of ridiculous objectifying thing that one expects from male-targeted fantasy art (such as the D&D manual). On the other hand, she is actually a decent character - capable, and with more depth than expected. On the third hand, her companions outright state that she doesn't count as a woman, as if a strong character can't also be feminine. Those viewers with strong feminist leanings might be offended.

Other than that, the movie suffers from a plot that is at times predictable and at times nonsensical, though at other times it is really quite well done. There is one scene which will infuriate Greek armor aficionados, or anyone with some Greek linguistic awareness, but in the larger scheme of things the gratuitous misuse of a label is not that important. The acting is hardly exceptional, but it suffices for a fun action movie without pretensions to more.

The special effects are really very good, as is the look of the movie in general. The action scenes are excellent. The Rock very much looks the part of the demigod. Speaking of which, the movie deftly plays with reality versus myth, to wonderful effect.

The worst failing of this movie is that they spent $100 million making it. This is a fun movie, but it is more fun than it should have been. If they had made this movie for $60 million, everyone would have been happier. Except, of course, that it might have ended up looking like The Legend of Hercules, and no one wants that.

Performance: 3/5
Plot: 2.5/5
Production: 3/5
Overall: 3/5
Bechdel: Pass
Reverse-Bechdel: Pass
Mako Mori: Pass
What are these?

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
3. Edge of Tomorrow
4. The Fault in Our Stars
5. Lone Survivor
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
7. The Wind Rises
8. The Lego Movie
8. Lust For Love
10. The Grand Budapest Hotel
11. Pompeii
12. Hercules
13. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
14. Maleficent
15. I, Frankenstein
16. Monuments Men
17. Knights of Badassdom
18. Divergent
19. Brick Mansions
20. 300: Rise of an Empire
21. Godzilla
22. RoboCop
23. Winter's Tale
24. Transcendence
25. Noah
26. The Legend of Hercules
27. Need For Speed
28. 3 Days to Kill

No comments:

Post a Comment