Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Hercules (Movie Review)

By Freda Cooper 24.07.2014 3

Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Hercules (Movie Review)

Hercules (UK Rating: 12A)

The first few minutes of a film can be crucial. Cimino's Heaven's Gate (1980) was a notorious flop simply because the audience couldn't hear the opening dialogue. Not that Brett Ratner's Hercules is in the same league, nor is there any doubt about what the characters are saying early on - and that turns out to be something of a curse.
Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Hercules (Movie Review)

The film starts by filling in Hercules' back-story, aka his twelve labours. His nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) is the narrator, and his reason for relating his uncle's heroics is that he's in a life-and-death situation with some pirates. The likelihood of Hercules turning up to save his bacon should scare them witless, he thinks. The verdict on his story? "What a load of cr*p!" It reverberates around the film for the next ninety minutes.

With his labours behind him, Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) has become a mercenary. He and his four trusted followers sell their services to the highest bidder, do the job, get paid and then walk away. This time they're hired by the King of Thrace (John Hurt) whose kingdom is threatened with destruction by a deadly enemy. He needs an army and it's down to Hercules and his merry men - and woman - to create a fighting force out of the country's male population. There's a sub-plot involving the death of Hercules' wife and daughter and the King responsible, Eurystheus (Joseph Fiennes), but it isn't worth worrying about.


 
Based on Radical Comics' Hercules: The Thracian War, its origins mean that anything resembling historical accuracy is unlikely, and, indeed, there's little that passes for it. The film's air of outlandish unreality extends further, though, so that simple actions become ludicrous. The female archer, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) is ruthlessly efficient with her bow and arrows.  Like anybody, she can only fire one arrow at a time - yet, as they rain down on her enemies, every single arrow seems to turn into ten mid-flight, so that the opposition bites the dust in their hundreds.

Could this simply be the result of effective CGI? Hardly, because the special effects in Hercules are nothing to write home about. Compared to more recent offerings like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the lower budget T S Spivet, they are, at times, risible. The mountain in Thrace looks like it's been painted on canvas on the studio back lot and the baby Hercules at the very start of the film is obviously computer generated.

There's action a-plenty - battles, mainly - and they're done adequately, but it's the scenes in between where the film really comes unstuck. They're meant to move the plot forward and give the audience some insight into the characters. In fact, they take the story along at a snail's pace, the characters just stagnate and the dialogue is leaden to the point of embarrassment. Thankfully, experienced thesps like John Hurt and Ian McShane know exactly how to handle that: they simply ham it up to the max, providing some of the film's light relief. Indeed, what laughs there are come mainly from McShane as the mercenary/soothsayer who is constantly trying to predict his own death.

Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Hercules (Movie Review)

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Demi-god he may be, but Hercules is looking cursed cinematically. This second film about him falls down on all fronts - sub-standard special effects, creaky dialogue and obvious plot. It's way short of the other blockbusters that have burst into cinemas so far this summer, and there are plenty more to come. They can't fail to be an improvement on Hercules.

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Comments

That's a real shame! I was really looking forward to this...especially after some wishy washy nonsense with Legend of Hercules earlier this year!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Naw, Nope, Im sorry, I doint agree....I saw the movie this past weekend starring The Roc It was Incredible. The action ,the tranning , the sense of family....not only was The Roc incredible, his team was as well. I feel it even conected with HERCULESES original story line. I did have one hang up though the move felt unfinished like they could have done more. My feelings is they may make a part 2. Because of that I gave the movie an 8/ out of /10......what do you think????   

( Edited 28.07.2014 17:46 by curtiscdragon )

Thanks for the extra feedback and different opinion, curtiscdragon! I'm still looking forward to this, even if it's mindless action Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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