Hercules (1997) voices Tate Donovan, Josh Keaton, Roger Bart, Danny DeVito, James Woods Movie Review

Hercules (1997)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Hercules (1997)

A Most Oridnary of Efforts

As the son of Zeus and Hera, Hercules is blessed with many things from physical strength to the gift of a flying horse called Pegasus. But the evil Hades, the God of the Underworld, has his eyes set on taking over Mount Olympus and so turns Hercules into a half God with his minions dispatching him to Earth to grow up where his Herculean strength makes him a curiosity and someone to be scared of. When Hercules discovers the truth as to who he is he must prove himself with the aid of Pegasus and his personal trainer Phil to be worthy of being allowed back up on Mount Olympus which means doing battle with Hades and his minions.

I've mentioned before that during the 90s I barely bothered with animations having not so much outgrown them but having tired off their factory line style where despite different stories it felt like they had used the same characters and voice actors in one animated movie after another. This was most certainly the case when it came to the animations which Walt Disney Pictures were churning out and so I didn't watch "Hercules" at the time of release and it was a good 10 years later when I finally encountered it. But unfortunately whilst a solid animation it has that feel of being made on a factory line.

What I mean is that to start with Disney have taken a classic tale and then ripped it apart and turned it into something which fits their family friendly formula. That formula includes various musical numbers including one where are hero wanders up the side of a mountain singing a Broadway style show tune about discovering who they are. The formula goes on from animal friends to comedy sidekicks and sadly it makes "Hercules" just another Disney animation which delivered exactly the sort of things which had worked for the studio in the past, including the jokes, but was becoming boring for audiences who had watched those previous animations always hoping for something different from the latest one.

The familiarity extends to the characters as with the exception of the recognizable tones of Danny DeVito as Phil the rest of them are forgettable. Part of the reason for that is that the characters are drawn the same and Hercules has that blue eyed, protruding chin look of several previous Walt Disney animated characters making him forgettable.

What this all boils down to is that "Hercules" probably worked and probably still does for a young audience who have barely seen any other Walt Disney animations. But for those who had watched more than a handful of Walt Disney animations from the 90s will find it all too familiar to be anything more than just okay.