Daily Archives: November 20, 2015

Hercules (2014)


*. Have we had enough yet? The CGI-comic book revolution seems to be going backward now. These films, never any good to begin with, are actually getting worse.
*. I mean, even the CGI fails to impress, and that right from the start. Those snakes coming out of the statue of Hera’s eyes don’t look remotely real (or threatening). And all of these overhead shots of massed armies that are just so many animated icons on a computer screen are getting tiring. Even the feral army of hill people may as well be more zombies or orcs.
*. The source, naturally, was a comic book (or graphic novel, as they’re now sometimes called). The single twist on the story is that Hercules is no longer a mythological demigod but a sword for hire, leader of a gang of mercenaries.
*. And . . . that’s it. Aside from that the whole thing is so clichéd, predictable, and just downright old that you have to wonder what the attraction was. Why even bother making such a movie? Money yes, but creatively what was the inspiration?
*. As noted, the basic concept is pure CGI-comic book. It’s 300 crossed with the X-Men or The Avengers (and all of those movies/franchises were/are terrible). Each member of the team has their own distinctive super power or weapon. A sexy girl is included who is just as tough and capable as the boys. We start off with a Seven Samurai-style plot that has Herc and his team saving a village from a band of bandits. Then there’s a twist to the plot because they just couldn’t milk 90 minutes out of that idea
*. The dialogue is beyond bad, sounding stilted even for a comic book (the British accents don’t help), and not always making sense. We are told that “Man cannot escape his fate.” Hercules explains to his green recruits that “When a shield wall is strong, nothing can ever defeat it. You must learn to work together, react together. When you do, each individual will become a link in a chain that will be stronger than iron.” But isn’t a chain made of iron? What exactly does he mean?
*. Then there’s his brief pre-battle pep talk: “In this moment, on this day, become the man you were born to be! You have it within yourselves to write your own legends! Let it be to death or victory!” How do we read this? They are writing legends “to” death or victory? Does that make sense?
*. I wonder who thought giving the (temporary) bad guy the name Rhesus was a good idea. Yes, it is a classical name, but it’s a type of monkey for heaven’s sake.
*. Dwayne Johnson is shaggy, bloated, and charismatic. John Hurt must have been embarrassed as hell reciting the lines he’s given.
*. The moral of the story? “You don’t need to be a demigod to be a hero. You just need to believe that you’re a hero.” Hm. The old power of positive thinking. Become the man you were born to be! So if you just believe you can suplex a charging horse, or pull chains out of blocks of stone, or topple a statue weighing thousands of tons, you can do it? I suppose so.
*. It’s a terrible movie and I don’t want to waste any more time on it. I do want to say something about the critical reception, which was generally quite favourable, with reviewers saying it was all good fun and better than you might think. I can’t explain this. Perhaps given the avalanche of this kind of action film we are currently being crushed by reviewers have given up. Or perhaps given how familiar it all is, and how millions of people were going to see it anyway, they think that any criticism would be superfluous. I don’t know. I just don’t know any more.