Fridge / Hercules

Fridge Brilliance
  • Genius Bonus: In Ancient Greece, bards would typically recite epic poems orally. At the beginning of epic poems, the bard would usually request that a muse sing for him in order to tell a more "accurate" story. Examples of such a request is seen at the beginnings of The Iliad and The Odyssey; muses were considered the true speakers of the tale and the bard just the mouthpiece. At the beginning of Hercules the narrator is interrupted by the muses who proceed to sing the tale in his place.
    • The changing of the Titans' beings doesn't make much sense at first; until you look at them as the stages that the Earth went through before civilization popped up.
    • The thunderstorm during Hercules' battle with the Hydra seems really random and conveniently thematic; then you remember that Zeus controls thunder and lightning, which means he must be watching from 'upstairs' and is worried for Herc's safety.
    • "That's the gospel truth!" It certainly is.
    • The prophecy told by the Fates was that, "should Hercules fight," Hades would fail. When Pain and Panic are interrupted while they're poisoning Hercules as a baby, Hercules fights them off and survives - Hades' fate had already been decided in the first few minutes of the movie!
  • The Muses are likely Unreliable Narrators.
  • For all the changes they made, Disney kept all of Herc's central character traits— Hair-Trigger Temper, impulsive nature, tendency to devote himself utterly—and they're what drives the plot in the end.
    • Hercules' abilities were surprising cunning for someone you wouldn't expect it from (just see how he cleaned the Augean Stables or made a fool of Atlas) and being so strong to go Beyond the Impossible and defeat death. We see him proving his cunning against the Hydra (how do you kill a monster that regenerates every time you cut its head? You squash it) and the Cyclops (Herc had been Brought Down to Normal, yet he managed to win by outsmarting him), he proves the ability to defeat death when he survives what should have killed him and revives Megara, and for the ability to go Beyond the Impossible... The Titans were gods, thus immortal (hence why Zeus imprisoned them), yet Hercules killed them. And that's without going with the whole thing of writing his own fate...
    • Hercules killing the Titans actually has a root in Greek mythology: the war against the Giants established that gods (such as the Giants) can be killed if attacked by mortals and gods at the same time... And Hercules, being a god who was turned into mortal but still has a spark of divinity, counts as both, even without being helped by Zeus in the fight. Bonus point for the mythological Herakles being the leader of the army of mortals that assisted the Olympians against the Giants.
  • A Running Gag in the animated movie is that Phil always says more or less words than he counts. The first instance of this: "Two words! I am retired!" Except in Greek, it is two words (Είμαι συνταξιούχος).
  • Restoring Megara's soul might not have fixed her broken body—lucky for her that Heracles was a Greek god of health!
  • During the song "I won't say I'm in Love", there is a line "That's ancient history, been there, done that!" But ancient history is the period the movie is set in! It implies she's not entirely over what happened yet.
    • The song does suggest she's not entirely over it, seeing as it's making her reluctant to let herself be in love with another person again, but "ancient history" is a very vague term. Its meaning changes with time. Nowadays "ancient history" could include the civil war/world war between Octavian (Augustus) and the Marc Antony and Cleopatra team-up. For the people living under Nero or even Hadrian that would still be considered relatively recent history (Think WWI to now for comparison).
  • A common subject of Greek comedies were parodies of classic myths and one particular sub-genre known as satyr plays would insert drunken satyr shenanigans into the story to create humor or conflict. This is possibly why they chose to portray Phil as a comical nymph-chasing satyr instead of the human he originally was.
  • The Fates' Prophecy - "Should Hercules fight, you will fail". Consider how Hercules ends up saving Mt Olympus in the first place; he's desperate to prove himself worthy of being a God, he's gone through all the Hero training necessary for such a task, he's motivated to stop Hades for revenge, he wants to hurry it up so he can save Meg, etc. If he hadn't been depowered, it's likely he might not have been able to save Olympus. Hercules would have been the most obvious threat to the Titans so they might have done careful planning so he was quickly neutralized. And Hades would have had the element of surprise as well. In the film he wasn't expecting Hercules at all and the Titans were unprepared. So the Fates set Hades out on a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
    • Similarly, the prophecy warns about what will happen if Hercules fights. It doesn't say he needs his strength for Hades to fail.
  • In Phil's song "One Last Hope", at least a couple lyrics are foreshadow-y. He says "It takes more than sinew/comes down to what's in you", and what does Zeus tell Herc when he finally ascends? "A hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart." Phil was right, but even he forgot to teach Hercules that lesson and reinforce it.
  • During Phil's song about how every hero he's trained has died, he jumps on to a stump and is about to say "No way" until he's struck by lightning and suddenly agrees by saying "Okay". At first it looks like it's for comedic effect, until you realize that Zeus is the God of lightning, and therefore Zeus is threatening/ordering Phil to train Herc. Phil isn't just talking to Hercules when he agrees, he's talking to Zeus.

Fridge Horror
  • Besides Nessus' assault on Meg, she's probably been forced into similar situations to help Hades make deals before...
  • We're never told just how long Meg's been working for Hades. She could have been his slave for decades or even centuries, since he controls her soul, including whether or not it can pass to the Underworld.
  • When watching Disney's Hercules as a child, it looks like that centaur-monster was just hassling Meg, right? But try watching the same scene with a better knowledge of the mythology, listen closely to the dialogue, and... squick. Yeah, he's trying to rape her. And just to add more horror on top of that... he's not only half horse, he's half giant horse.
  • In the usual Happy Ending, Hercules renounces his immortality in order to live with Meg. Now, this may be a good way to end a Disney classic. But...did we forget he became a *MORTAL* again? Unless he and Meg will spend the rest of eternity in the Elysian Fields, they will age, die, and descend in the river of death as everyone else did earlier (thereby, Herc was stuck in a Morton's Fork, as he had to decide about entering into Mount Olympus and leave Meg alone, or abandoning it once again and spend the rest of his life as a mortal). I wonder if this time Zeus will tolerate an exception to the rule, for his son already experienced a breath-taking dive in that place. And let's not forget Hades is still stuck there (yeah, he somehow could think about this Fridge Horror thread as a Taking You with Me). This may also explain why Zeus agreed to forge a new constellation: although Hercules, who was born as a GOD, would have spent his eternity in the Underworld, his legend would have lived on with him...on the sky whence it came from.
  • In Hercules, Hades' afterlife is a deep whirlpool where souls are condemned to swirl around forever under the watch of an apathetic death god. While the Elysian Fields exists, only the souls of heroes go there. In the world of Hercules the majority of mankind is condemned to eternally drift in a vortex or splash around in the River Styx (and even if Hades ended up being booted off, that still means a billion souls have suffered for centuries). At least in the actual Hades you can wander...
    • It's not clearly established what slice of humanity is in that whirlpool, or where, if anywhere, it leads to.
  • Even though the ending of this movie was treated as a Happy Ending, no good can really come out of it. Hercules will eventually die, and poor Zeus and Hera will have to watch and then suffer with it for all of eternity. Keep in mind that those two already missed out on his whole childhood, and now this! Even if he does ascend to Mt. Olympus after his death (since he did earn his godhood, he simply chose to give it up), there's no way Meg will be allowed up there, meaning Herc will have to live for eternity alone, while the love of his life is stuck floating in a river. Even if he was able to save her from the face of death before, I doubt he can do anything about her dying of old age.