Opinionated Guide to Disney's Hercules
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Greek MythologyBefore we begin, I'd like to talk about my personal connection to Greek Mythology. I love it. I love the various Greek creation myths. Gaia and Uranus, Kronos and Rhea, Zues and Hera, all that good stuff. I love the Greek style of looking at natural forces as beings that aren't particularly nice or moral. I really don't know much about Hercules's tale. It's odd, but while I'm a fan of the general mythos, I just never spent much time with that particular tale. I was much more into the Iliad and the Odyssey. I was really annoyed with Troy because they took out the involvement of the gods, which pretty much got rid of the good part of the Iliad. I'm supposed to believe that Helen decided to go with Paris just because he's Orlando Bloom? ... OK, I can see where they're coming from there, but still. Oh, and guess what one of my pet peeve tropes is? Yep: making Hades evil, just because he's in charge of dead people. Because taking care of the dead is obviously something that only an evil person would be responsible for. But you know what? That doesn't matter. I went into this movie knowing all that. I knew about the villain Hades. I knew about how they retroactively made Hercules into Zues and Hera's son. I knew full well that Disney was going to be about as respectful to Greek Mythology in this film as they were to the Native Americans in Pocahontas. So it's not like any of this was a big surprise or something. Therefore, I am going to restrain my rage at the liberties taken with my favorite mythos in this film. However, I do reserve the right to exactly one extended monologue on this subject. Note that this promise does not extend to spontaneous snark; I freely reserve the right to snark about it. Just no long holding forth on how they ruined Greek Mythology forever or anything. Well, except for the previously mentioned once.
"The former is something of a cult favorite for its dark imagery and excellent villain song. And the latter is a favorite for being awesome and involving a woman who actually does stuff." You say that like Esmeralda didn't.
Well, I loved the Hunchback of Notre Dame because of the excellent characters (Except the Gargoyles), memorable villain, wonderful animation and cinematography, great plot and very strong themes and emotions. But yeah, the darkness and STELLAR villain song help. I actually got into Greek Mythology thanks to Age Of Mythology (The game made it clear the devs did a TON of research into Mythology, and I loved reading the bios for each Myth unit), and I still like it alot. For other works based on Greek mythology, The Percy Jackson series is very promising to me, because even though I have only read the first book, it had a very clever and well written take on Greek Mythology in the modern era, and did keep to accurate conventions, even making Hades into a Neutral Party. It sure would suck if that got undermined by any adaptation! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha HA HA HA HA HAURGGG.
Here's a bizarre connection: The movie's art direction is credited to Gerald Scarfe, who provided the deranged animation for Pink Floyd's The Wall. I found a "music direction" credit for Erdal Kızılšay of all people, a David Bowie collaborator who worked on Never Let Me Down, The Buddha of Suburbia, Outside, and played all the instruments on "When the Wind Blows". The When The Wind Blows soundtrack is mostly recorded by Roger Waters and the Bleeding Heart Band. Talk about Pink Floyd-David Bowie connections! And now I can't stop thinking how much better the soundtrack would've been if it was written by Bowie, Kızılšay, Reeves Gabrels and Gail Ann Dorsey. Or even better, Bowie, Kızılšay, Gabrels, Dorsey AND Waters!
Produced by Brian Eno and Tony Visconti!
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