When I first heard that Dwayne Johnson was Hercules I made a “Urrrrrrrrrh” noise, weary that Hollywood was making a terrible sequel to Clash of the Titans. But then I saw the trailer and saw him fight the Hydra, the Neamean Lion and the Erymanthian boar and I thought “Urrreaurh!” in excitement, as it looked like that the film was the actual 12 labours of Hercules. Then my beloved WIFE ( that’s right baby, my Wife!) told me that the film was based on a graphic novel not the Greek legend and I made an “Awwwww.” noise.
However, I decided to see the movie anyway.
Hercules is a mercenary who, with a band of heroes, travels Ancient Greece fighting pirates and bandits. Iolaus, Hercules’s nephew, is a story teller who tells stories of Hercules' great feats to spread fear amongst their enemies. Hercules is approached by Princess Ergenia of Thrace to save her kingdom from an invading army of monsters and magic. Hercules agrees and embarks on his final battle.
Ensue legendary hiijinx
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the story of Hercules, it was a lot better than I thought it would be. Keven Sorbo was nowhere to be seen, and the blurring of myth and legend was good. The films version of the legend of Hercules was very entertaining rather than offensive. There were a couple of moments that were more harvati cheese than Shakespeare, but then this is Brett Ratner doing Hercules, not Orson Wells.
Mr Johnson was a very good Hercules, and while he was possibly pushed to the limits of his ability, there were a couple of very nice moments in the film where he showed that he is more than muscle.
The rest of the cast were also good; Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell gave solid performances as Hercules' companions, and Joseph Fiennes and John Hurt got to ham it up as King Eurystheus and King Cotys respectively.
Over all it was a fun movie and one that fans of fantasy and action will enjoy.
However, there is some controversy surrounding the film. The script is based on Steve Moore's comics series. Now it appears that Radical Comics who published Moore’s work may have treated the artist pretty horribly. He does not appear to be part of the film nor did he endorse it. It appears that he was grateful not to have his name associated with the work. Moore died in march this this year a respected writer
Following his death the studio appears to have associated Moore with the movie. Moore's friend and colleague Alan Moore (no relation) has called for a boycott of Hercules. As far as I can tell there is no evidence to show that the studio was aware of the issues between Moore and Radical comics. The studio optioned the story in good faith and would want to credit the original work. But who knows?
I liked it and it gets six and a half heroic Monkeys from me.