Hercules is a pretty polarizing film in the Disney canon; you either love it or hate it. Unfortunately, Disney treats Hercules like the red-headed stepchild, so this Blu-ray isn’t much to write home about.
The Film ✮✮✮✮
Hercules is the son of the Greek god Zeus who, thanks to the lord of the underworld Hades, is turned half mortal when he is a baby. As a result, Hercules must live a mortal life on Earth. Unfortunately, there is nothing Zeus of the other gods of Mount Olympus can do to bring Hercules back, so it’s up to Hercules, with the help of his trainer Phil, to prove that he’s a “true hero” to regain his godhood. Seems easy enough, except that Hades and his minions are always lurking in the shadows trying to trip him up for good.
I have always been a big fan of Hercules. The art style is stylized and introduced a more modern character design for a Disney animated character. The story is based off the Greek mythology of Hercules, although it takes quite a few liberties with the source material. Nonetheless, I find Disney’s adaptation to be a real delight and pleasure.
Rarely do Disney films have a male lead, so it was pertinent that Disney got the character of Hercules right. Some think he is flat, but I think his awkwardness and insecurities make him more real. Especially since on the outside he is this big brute with rippling pectorals, so looks are deceiving. At the same time, Disney also gave us a new Disney heroine, who was headstrong, capable and feisty. At the time, Meg was heralded for breaking the “princess” mold. But today, she is all but forgotten like the ancient Greek ruins.
The film was one of the first Disney animated films to be very self-referential and filled to the brim with pop-culture references. I personally find the jokes to be hilarious, as they are paired with a talented comedic cast of Danny DeVito, James Woods, and others.
The music, while not as classic as some of those from the early Disney Renaissance, is still very Disney and memorable. Alan did a wonderful job repurposing the classic Greek chorus as a Gospel chorus. The Muses songs are fun and progress the story along at appropriate times.
Again, Disney gives Hercules the shaft as there’s nothing heroic about these bonus features. Disney put no effort into creating new ones and just reused a few old ones from the prior DVD release.
The Making of Hercules (9 minutes) sounded good on paper. Unfortunately, it’s just too short to amount to anything. You do get a few behind-the-scenes clips, but it’s not a meaty making-of that we’re used to from Disney.
Next up is a music video (5 minutes) by Ricky Martin singing “No Importa la Distancia”. Yep, you read that correctly. We get the Spanish music video. Not the epic and iconic Michael Bolton version of “Go the Distance”, but the Spanish version. I could understand the Spanish version being there if we had the English version. Lastly, we get a “Zero to Hero” Sing-Along (3 minutes). This is a standard definition short that was copied over, which is a bit of a shame because it really wouldn’t have taken that much effort to make a new sing-along track for the Blu-ray.
Fans have been waiting years for Hercules to land on Blu-ray. While the bonus features are a zero, the movie itself is a hero. Hercules is a fun film that show be apart of anyone’s collection.