Hercules (1997)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Love Greek mythology

Soften and altered mythology for family and kids

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Hercules

Studio:  Walt Disney Feature Animation

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Comedy/Musical/Family

Release Date(s):  June 27, 1997

MPAA Rating:  G


Hercules and Pegasus…the early years

Hercules feels that he doesn’t fit in.  With superhuman strength, the other children see him as a jinx and none of the adults trust him.  When Hercules learns from his parents that he was found as a child, Hercules discovers he’s the son of Zeus.  Now, Hercules is trying to find his way to regain the immortality he lost but is unaware that his uncle Hades is actually the person who tried to kill him.  As Hercules’ legend grows, Hades has to find a way to stop him from ruining his plans for taking over Olympus.  Hercules falls in love with Meg but doesn’t know that Meg has a secret…she is a pawn of Hades, and Hades has just discovered Hercules’ weakness.


Best buds…who secretly want to kill each other

Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, Hercules is the thirty-fifth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classic series and followed The Hunchback of Notre Dame from 1996.  The film was released to mostly positive reviews and like many Disney film did well at the box office.  The movie received both a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for Best Original Song “Go the Distance”.

I grew up loving Greek myths and of course everyone knows the story of Hercules (or Heracles depending on the telling).  Like many Greek and Roman myths in their basic structure they are great stories, but closer looks reveal content that is probably not suitable for kids…and Hercules tale is no different.


Being a hero is hard…

Due to some really rough parts of the Hercules legend, Disney was forced to soften up Hercules.  The movie also was a means to lighten up at Disney with criticism of many of their entries at the time like the very dark Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Unfortunately for Hercules, Disney went for straight up comedy and a lot of the adventure and fun was lost or neutered for families.  It took me a while to warm up to Hercules as a result but a few viewings, my view has softened toward Hercules.

Hercules employs some great voice actors.  Tate Donovan and Susan Egan provided the lead voices as Hercules and Meg.  Danny DeVito is Hercules diminutive trainer Phil and Hercules parents are played by Rip Torn and Samantha Eggar.  Hades was originally voiced by John Lithgow but replaced by James Wood and Bobcat Goldthwait and Matt Frewer play his henchmen Pain and Panic.  Hal Holbrook and Barbara Barrie are Hercules adopted parents.  There were initially some plans to have the Muses played by the Spice Girls who were hot at the time…thankfully that didn’t happen.


I’m totally going to sell this “Hercules” flower on eBay

The visuals of Hercules are much more scaled down than other recent Disney entries.  The movie goes for a very stylized look with a classic Greek style.  It resembles the art you’d expect on vases and murals.  It also happens to resemble Disney’s other Greek adventure in the Greek myth segment of Fantasia (which actually looks better despite its age).

Hercules might not be the animated Greek myth I wanted, but it will due for the time being.  Greek myths are notoriously hard to adapt in a way that is good storytelling since they were primarily told orally and generally have no central story.  Hercules did have a prequel in Hercules;  Zero to Hero and a spin-off series simply titled Hercules:  The Animated Series.  Disney followed Hercules with Mulan in 1998.

[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B00004R99S” locale=”us”]

Related Links:

Hercules (2014)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response