Hercules, son of Zeus, must become a hero to the people of Ancient Greece
in order to regain his godhood and join his family on Mount Olympus.
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker
Written by Ron Clements, John Musker, Don McEnery,
Bob Shaw, Irene Mecchi
Starring Tate Donovan, James Woods, Danny DeVito, Susan Egan, Rip Torn, Bobcat Goldthwait, Matt Frewer, Paul Shaffer
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Song (Go the Distance)
Hercules is one of Disney's most underrated efforts. It's got some of their catchiest, most upbeat songs and a terrific voice cast, particularly James Woods's iconic turn as god of the underworld, Hades. Hercules is a film that teaches kids that true meaning of heroism. It's not about how strong you are, it's about what you're willing to do for others. That's a great lesson, and it's one adults could use a reminder of from time to time. This one is a fun watch for the whole family and a decent retelling of classic Greek mythology, even if Zeus gets one hell of a watering down.
In this retelling, Hercules is born to Zeus and Hera, but is kidnapped as a baby by Hades's minions and turned mortal. Now, young Hercules grows up insanely strong but unaware of his lineage. When he learns who he really is, he trains with the satyr Philoctetes (DeVito, in a great performance) to become a hero so he can regain his godhood and be with his real family. Over the course of the movie, he falls in love with the down-to-earth Megara (Egan) and proves his worth to the people of Greece, but not in the way he expected. It's an engaging plot with vibrant, beautifully animated characters.
Hercules is a fan-favorite among a certain generation, but I don't think it ever reached the status of films like Aladdin and The Lion King, among others. For me, it's a great movie that gets better with each viewing and deserves to be counted among Disney's most entertaining animated movies.