Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Disney's "Hercules"

I already wrote a post about Disney's Pocahontas, so here's one on Hercules.

Growing up, I was always fascinated by the stories of Greek/Roman gods. In middle school I took Latin, and along with learning the language we also learned about these historic myths. I thought it was cool how each one represented something, like the sun or wisdom or war or what-have-you. I also found it interesting that the gods were used to explain natural phenomena, like seasons and thunder storms. So of course I like this movie!

Watching it again recently, I realized how many modern references there are. In the beginning, Hermes brings Hera flowers, which refers to the FTD logo; FTD would have chosen Hermes as their symbol because he is the god of speed. Later on, Philoctetes, played by Danny Devito, refers to the city of Thebes as "the Big Olive itself," just like New York City is "the Big Apple." That comparison continues as the movie shows Thebes' busy streets, the man on the street selling sun dials (rather than watches), the crazy man claiming the end is near, and Phil telling Hercules not to make eye contact with anyone.  Once he's famous, there are Air-Herc shoes, just like Air-Jordans, and when his portrait is being painted, he is wearing a lion fur that is Scar from The Lion King. When Hercules is in training, there's even a Karate Kid moment:

I also picked up on a few details I had never noticed before. At the beginning of the movie, Narcissus is wearing a medallion that says "ME" on it, and Athena is holding an owl (since she's the goddess of wisdom).  When Hercules saves Meg for the first time, she says, "I'm a big girl. I can tie my own sandals and everything" which I think is pretty cute. When Pain and Panic are disguised as little boys caught in a rock slide, they call out, "Somebody call IXII", which are the Roman numerals for 911. As Hercules becomes famous, he sends money to his parents, which you can tell from the short clip showing their huge new house behind their tiny hut, and a golden chariot sits in the front yard. Hades does skeet shooting with Hercules urns, and when Hercules is trying to get away from the mob of groupies, he uses "Escape Plan Beta," or Plan B. I don't know how I never caught these things before!

And since this is a Disney movie, I can't write about it without mentioning the soundtrack. The Muses who are telling the story are like The Supremes (although for accuracy's sake, there were 9 Muses, not 5), and I love their Gospel sound. Their "Zero to Hero" song is pretty catch, as is Meg's "I won't say I'm in love". But of course the star of the show when it comes to songs is  "I can go the distance" by Michael Bolton. I could write an entire blog post about this song, but it would be similar to my previous posts: it's inspirational, it tells you to go after your dreams, that anything's possible, blah blah blah. So you see why I like it so much. 

Yes, Hercules is one of my favorite Disney movies. And any time I think of bunnies, this quote comes into my mind:

"I'm a bunny...And I'm his gopher!"

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