240 of 250 people found the following review helpful
Nine Things about the Film "Hercules" [USA, 2014]
1. This is a very interesting version of the Hercules legend. But you need to know, the legend has been reinvented. The trailer for the movie is kind of misleading. This is not the Hercules you are used to..
2. The birth of Hercules, his childhood, and his legendary 12 labors are all pretty much done before the opening credits.
3. In this movie, Hercules is really just a human mercenary, with a team of warriors helping him out. His nephew has the sole job of making up the legends of Hercules and spreading them around to give Hercules a badass reputation.
4. It is set in a time when people are starting to doubt the existence of gods and magic, but still need something to believe in.
5. This movie has some really impressive, epic battle scenes.
6. Hercules's companions are a diverse and entertaining group. Ian McShane is especially good as Amphiaraus, who does drugs and gets "visions from the gods". Some of these visions come true, and some don't.
7. The movie does a good job of illustrating that some monsters you have to battle are psychological ones.
8. There are a few moments that contradict the movie's attempt to stay grounded in reality. That's annoying. But there aren't very many of them.
9. If you want a movie full of gods and monsters, you will leave the theater angry. If you like to see military battles, and a reflection on how heroes are made, you may appreciate it. This movie is certainly smarter and more layered than most movies of this type.
92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
Renny Harlin's "Legend of Hercules" that was released earlier this year wasn't very good. Maybe that's why Brett Ratner's "Hercules" is coming out now, in the middle of the summer when there's a fresh new audience of people that no longer remember "Legend". The two movies, while about the same thing, are like night and day. "Legend" was more mythological and true to the legend of the strongman and "Hercules" is more grounded in reality; focusing upon how legends are created and exaggerated.
I found this aspect of "Herclues" really rewarding because I like things grounded in reality. Even when things get ridiculous, I like when they play it off as ridiculous, rather than normalcy. Ratner took all the mythological aspects of Hercules and made them stories or possible exaggerations to be believed or not. On the surface, Hercules (Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock) is just a man with great size and strength, but his legend has spread and he is worshipped as something more than just a man.
"Hercules" did a lot of things right but that depends upon what you're looking for. If you're looking for something along the lines of "300" or "Clash of the Titans", look elsewhere. As I said, this is Hercules grounded in reality. There will be nothing portrayed here that is beyond possibility. Ratner makes sure that you have a strong emotional contact with Hercules and his band of warriors; again, something I really like.
This was a role that Dwayne Johnson was seemingly born to play and it is probably one of his best movies to date. Surprisingly enough, along with the machismo, the movie is written with some pretty good comedy as well; which adds to the personal connection you feel with the characters. "Hercules" is a step up from "Legend of Hercules" due to its character development and story, but not a huge step up. It still lacks in importance and it still had a conclusion you could see a mile away. The outstanding 3D, fight sequences, character development and comedy saved the day though, making "Hercules" a passable summer movie that should have grand success on video.
82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2014
This year of 2014, there have been two Hercules movies. The first, The Legend of Hercules, was decent, though it offered nothing unique. This one starring Dwayne Johnson has more development of the theme of courage and more unexpected plot twists. I approach most movies without a lot of expectations, knowing I’ll find a movie somewhat rewarding if the values, writing, and editing are good. This one gave me more enjoyment than I expected. Hercules is the natural choice for an ancient superhero. When you add themes of justice and the rights of the people and make that Hercules’ cause to fight for, he becomes as relatable as Superman, Batman, or Spiderman. One of the strengths of this superhero movie is that it’s not primarily about supernatural powers but about the meaning of courage. Hercules does have superhuman strength in this, but his victory always depends on triumphing over internal struggles first. His powers don’t come very naturally, so he’s easier to relate to. Hercules in this movie is more like John Henry, the American railroad worker superhero, than like a demigod. In fact, the movie goes to extra lengths to convince you he’s just a man, not a god. I feel like it developed the internal struggles of a superhero better than most superhero movies, and that made it more rewarding when he succeeds.
When Hercules is in action on this movie, it feels truly awesome because he has to work so hard to produce that superhuman strength. The movie does a great job with the pitched battle scenes. It is as rewarding to watch them as some of the great battles on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The movie’s intensity level is a bit stronger than I like, but it really helps that the movie stays PG-13 instead of indulging in graphic gore.
I like the casting also, of John Hurt as the king who hires Hercules to fight his enemy, and Hercules’ several friends, and Hercules, played by Dwayne Johnson. His personality is such that he doesn't need to express much in order to reveal his character's mood or attitude. There are some touches of humor that add a lot, yet not so much that the movie gets silly.
The lasting satisfaction for me is how the Greek value of physique gets fused with the Biblical value of servant leadership, exerting courage to protect those who are weak. Hercules has a strong moral code on this. Sometimes it works well to have an antihero like Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) be the center of a story, but that usually makes the movie more silly. There’s no blurry gray line between good and evil in this movie, but that’s not a weakness; it’s the natural way to present a character with such brute force as Hercules.
(The intensity is the only reason I rated it 4 stars instead of 5.)
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2014
My father really wanted to see Hercules so i mustered up the energy and brought him. I saw this film expecting a load of CGI and ancient greek "explosions". The Trailer led me to believe this film was about Dwayne Johnson battling a bunch of over the top creatures from the 12 labors.
The movie actual turned out to be a more "grounded" version of Hercules. although the trailer was misleading it was sort of in tune with the theme of the movie- Tall tales/ Legends can be spun from great accomplishment. The supporting cast is great especially Ian McShane. There were great battle scenes and I look forward to buying this when it is released on Bluray. it's a shame this wasn't more of a commercial success. I think the advertisements/ trailers are to blame.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2014
When I first heard that they were casting Dwayne Johnson as Hercules, I thought of course he would want to do that. What more could The Rock want to show how much he loves himself than being cast as the invincible Greek hero and demigod? Needless to say I went in with rock bottom expectations, thinking that the movie would bring me two hours of mindless action and sex appeal.
But the director and producers took a Christopher Nolan approach to this tale, bringing us the real man behind the impossible legend and showing his weaknesses and flaws. The legend of Hercules is spun by his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), a boy with a silver tongue who tells of the grand feats his uncle Hercules has accomplished, how he slayed the hydra and defeated the lion whose hide could not be pierced. The rest of his party, Tydeus (Askel Hennie), a tortured and mangled feral man who has lost the ability to speak, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) a deadly accurate Amazon sniper, Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), a spear-wielding prophet who gains wisdom and foresight from the Gods and Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), a scoundrel with a quick wit and an eye for profit, all work together to ensure that the tall tales told about Hercules ring true.
At its worst, Hercules is another Dwayne Johnson movie, fast paced and rife with action that glorifies his own legend. At its best, it's witty, funny, well-written and isn't bogged down by other superstar talent. My only hope is that this movie helps boost the careers of its other actors, particularly Reece Ritchie and Tamina Snuka, as Johnson and John Hurt (who plays a king desperate enough to hire Hercules and his band to save his kingdom) already have all the fame and glory they could want.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2014
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Last summer saw a rebirth of the Hercules legend with its genesis in Hollywood with Mr. America/Pro. Universe, Steve Reeves (the muscle man who was featured in comic books that created a generation of bullied youths who took up the sport with the view of payback) which later featured Arnold Schwarzenegger's role model as an aspiring bodybuilder in Austria, the next major champion to defeat Steve Reeves as Mr. Pro. Universe, U.K.'s Reg Park (who was given first class travel arrangements and accommodations for his role), which will later be played by Lou Ferrigno (who had the most successful run of Hercules movies and whom most cinema audiences associate with the Hercules franchise), a role which Arnold will later assume in the box office flop Hercules in New York; given the fact that the last Hercules movie featuring Arnold was in the seventies, Renny Harlin figured it was time to reboot the entire franchise with a box office flop entitled, The Legend of Hercules, in the same manner that Rupert Wyatt deemed necessary to reboot the critically acclaimed Planet of the Apes franchise that was based on Pierre Boulle's Ape Planet, which had a successful run in the seventies as a box office trilogy and was serialized for TV - given its unsuccessful reboot as a franchise by Tim Burton, resulting in a similar reboot to the Hercules franchise this summer in a phenomenal box office hit by Brett Ratner, featuring awesome CGI by Double Negative, and the most awesome physique since Arnold and Lou - with Dwayne Johnson, playing Hercules and the handsome Ingrid Bolso Berdal playing Atalanta, the only female heroine, with Hercules being commissioned by King Eurystheus to serve as protector of Rome to defeat twelve mythical creatures that was threatening the empire, which was supposedly sent by his father, Zeus' wife, Hera, to task Hercules owing to jealousy over her husband having mated with a mortal woman, Hercules' mother, Alcmene, following which he butchered Hercules's family and spread rumors to the effect that Hercules had butchered his wife, Megara, and their children, and, having done so, banished Hercules from Rome, following which Hercules transforms into a mercenary for hire and finds himself being commissioned by Lord Coty to train an army of peasant to rise against Rhesus (which gave birth to Obama and John Kerry's strategy in Syria and Iraq) - who was the only one who rose in protest against Lord Cotys after he has poisoned Ergenia's husband to claim the throne, with Hercules, eventually, uncovering the truth from Ergenia and turning against Lord Cotys, who was colluding with King Eurystheus in an attempt at world conquest, and, having done so, discovering Hercules defying him, and unearthing the truth about what King Eurystheus did to his family, and, thereby, turning against the invincible army he had trained and successfully defeating them, defying the prediction of his oracle, Amphiaraus - who had prophesized Hercules' and his own death, thereby, claiming his rightful place as the legend of a true hero, which resides in each and everyone one of us as Mariah Carey implied in her song, Hero.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I'm primarily interested in the storyline differences between extended cuts and their theatrical counterparts, so here are the differences between the two (NOTE: SPOILERS FOLLOW).
The extended cut runs approximately 3 minutes longer longer than the theatrical cut. The new scenes are pretty minor, although there is significantly more CGI blood in the first battle.
1) The first battle against the Bessi is a lot bloodier in the Extended Cut. Throats are slit, combatants are impaled, and people are stabbed in bloody manners by various bladed weapons.
2) General Sitacles makes unwanted romantic advances towards Atalanta.
3) General Sitacles threatens to execute Phineas for failing to detect the Bessi ambush, but Phineas is saved by Autolycus's intervention.
4) Hercules has a flashback to King Eurystheus condemning him for the alleged murder of his family.
Sure Hercules isn't going to win any Oscars anytime soon, but I found it an entertaining popcorn flick. The Rock was fun to watch and I liked the script's tongue-in-cheek approach to general Greek mythology. Definitely better than the Kellan Lutz version!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I've always been fond of the story of Hercules, the son of Zeus and a human woman. In search of the quintessential version, I decided to check out this newest movie, directed by Brett Ratner ("X-Men: The Last Stand"). The main draw is Dwayne Johnson, who seems perfect for the role, especially in his bulked up state in this film. He doesn't disappoint although the film is a paint-by-numbers affair.
I knew what I was going to get going in and that's what I got, although I thought the final scenes were actually pretty well done. The film opens with sort of a backstory about how Herc had to perform 12 dangerous missions insisted upon by Zeus's wife Hera as payback for hubby's affair. Most of these are shown in part in the numerous trailers that preceded the film's release in the summer of '14.
Over the years Herc grew into a family man and warrior, serving King Eurystheus (Joseph Fiennes having a good time). One night Hercules awakens to find his wife and children slain. He has no memory of what happened but is presumed to have committed the killings and is banished from the kingdom. As the years pass, Hercules assembles a nefarious cast of associates played by Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie and Ingrid Boso Berdal. The later plays Atalanta, a short in stature and skirt Amazon archer. This band of mercenaries are asked by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to help him defeat an army of baddies led by Rhesus (Tobias Santelmann). But all is not what it appears to be.
The film runs its course with bits of humor, bits of Ms. Boso Berhal, and bits of dislodged PG-13 body parts. In short, the film is what you would expect with perhaps a hint of credibility due to the casting. Still, don't look for any Oscars.
If there are awards due, it should go to the look and feel of the Blu ray transfer. It's a doozy. The video is 1080p resolution with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. In a word it looks spectacular. Robust colors, excellent detail shows off the fine work of the film's craftsmen (armor, shields, makeup, and clothing). There are no abnormalities or defects in the picture. Likewise the killer DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (hello!) soundtrack really stands out. The sound effects which range from stampeding horses and chariots to swamp creatures are mixed to perfection. The perfect musical score resonates throughout the speakers. The dialog is clear and perfectly placed. This is demo quality stuff. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French and Spanish. Here are the extras:
*The Bessi Battle (HD, 12 min)
*The Effects of Hercules (HD, 12 min) -- Interviews.
*Hercules and His Mercenaries (HD, 11 min)
*Introduction (HD, 6 min)
*Weapons! (HD, 5 min)
*Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2015
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is a much better film than most of the movie critics rated it to be. It takes the myth of Hercules and grounds it in reality. Dwayne Johnson once again proves that he has flashes of depth in his acting that a lot of action movie stars do not, and he leads a very nice ensemble cast of characters. While Johnson and Ian McShane get to go a bit further with their characters than the rest, all are very good. And the main point of a movie like this is the action, which there is plenty of. But what a lot of the critics overlooked was the message the movie makes about heroes, how heroes are created, how they are perceived, and the potential in anyone to be one. This is an action sword and sandal that goes a little bit deeper. It is a fuller story than the old Steve Reeves movies. And, in a way, reminded me of the original "Magnificent Seven".
On the technical side, the costumes and sets are beautiful, and the battle scenes are very well staged. The script has a few twists,but nothing that is overly surprising. But I found it a very enjoyable film, and so am writing one of the very few reviews I have written on Amazon.
Would love to see this cast reunite for a sequel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This movie is a somewhat novel take on the legend of Hercules, which is to be appreciated.
Most movies based on Greek Legends tend to aim for the "classical" feel. A larger than life hero, Gods themselves battling, Titans clashing and all of that. That's usually all well and good but it's... well... overplayed at this point. I think the film makers recognized this.
In this version of Hercules, the story is about the legendary Hercules being hired as a mercenary to fight a mythic army of centaurs. The story is somewhat straight forward with some twists here and there that are sometimes mildly expected.
All in all, it's enjoyable and entertaining. The production quality is very high and it's altogether well done. On the downside, it sometimes seems a little awkward in its pacing. (Also, much better than the other hercules movie)