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Hercules (2014)

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It was an interesting deconstruction of the myth. The Hydra was some guys in masks, Cerberus was three wolves, Centaurs are just guys on horseback. Hercules was a little subdued for my taste, but I suppose he was still grieving his family. As usual, McShane chewed the scenery, but Askel Hennie as the mute Tydeus stole the movie.

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I think I would have liked it better if they had the courage to stick to that more realistic approach to the myth all the way to the end. But overall I quite enjoyed it. John Hurt and Ian McShane in particular did a great job with their characters.

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Tydeus ended up my favorite. It was in the way he did The Broken Man in this story that just really worked.


As for keeping to a more 'realistic' approach, I could give the movie a pass as they kept the more fantastical feats of strength to two and near the end of the movie.


I actually wanted Hera to manifest and smite those double-talking male leaders for subverting her area- marriage!- in the name of more power for them! (Hercules kept his marriage vows, per this movie, and his wife and family were killed for a political power play. Ergenia's husband was killed and her son used as a pawn. Hera would not go for that if the movie wanted to go fantastical and have a grudging truce between Hercules and his stepmom, Queen of The Gods. I was happy enough with the statue's head doing what it did.)


I did like that Atalanta's status was mostly not remarked upon. She proved that she was a skilled fighter and archer, so the army respected her skills. Not that she didn't need help from time to time, but that she wasn't some Action Damsel who only kicks ass until it's time for her to not so the hero can rescue her. In this movie the hero had to rescue everyone, so Atalanta did not read as a damsel in that situation.


I enjoyed the entire cast! The heroes were heroic. The bad guys were hissable. The fights and stunts were amazing and cool. It was a fun time!

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As always with these sword-and-sandals epics, I found myself wishing TPTB had stuck more closely to the Greek source material. Hercules is one of those characters that can either be funny (with a huge appetite for food, booze, and sex) or tragic, and I thought the movie Hercules was neither. Why cut out the role of the gods? And why, when we have the technology to make convincing-looking monsters, rationalize them away? Now that we're OK with letting heroes be flawed, or troubled, or even indistinguishable from the villains at times, I wish the movie had dared to show Hercules' episodes of madness (wherein he killed his first wife and children) and/or infidelity (which led to his death at the hands of his second wife). That group of fellow fighters, interesting though it was, would have been more at home in a "Jason and the Argonauts" reboot. And the "believe in yourself and you can be a hero too" message at the end was silly in the context. Sure, everyone has the potential for heroic action, but mythical heroes wouldn't be mythical if they weren't unique in some way.

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