Hercules

1997

Hercules

Critics Consensus

Fast-paced and packed with dozens of pop culture references, Hercules might not measure up with the true classics of the Disney pantheon, but it's still plenty of fun.

84%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 55

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 388,690
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Movie Info

Disney's animation team dipped into the rich well of ancient mythology for this musical comedy. The son of Greek gods Zeus (voice of Rip Torn) and Hera (Samantha Eggar), Hercules (voice of Josh Keaton) is stolen as a boy by the minions of Hades (voice of James Woods), lord of the underworld. Forced to live among humans, Hercules is turned into a half-god and half-mortal after drinking a forbidden potion brewed by Hades' right hand men, Pain (voice of Bob Goldthwait) and Panic (voice of Matt Frewer). Now Hercules has the remarkable strength of a god, but is trapped in the body of a human, and before he learns how to use his power properly he goes through a typically adolescent awkward period. In order to become a god and return to his home on Mount Olympus, Hercules must prove himself a true hero on Earth. With the assistance of Philotes (voice of Danny De Vito), a plucky satyr known as "Phil," the grown-up Hercules (voice of Tate Donovan) learns to use his strength to his advantage and becomes a famous and benevolent protector of those around him, successfully battling a variety of gods and monsters. However, Hades, wanting to cut Hercules down to size, sends his secret weapon after him -- Megara (voice of Susan Egan), a seductively beautiful woman under Hades' control, who is to win Hercules' heart and render him helpless against the forces of the underworld. Acclaimed British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe served as production designer for this project, while Alan Menken wrote the musical score. Incidentally, for the Spanish language version of the film, Latin pop singer Ricky Martin provided the singing voice of Hercules, two years before he became a chart-topping sensation in America with his hit single "Livin' la Vida Loca."

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Critic Reviews for Hercules

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (15)

Audience Reviews for Hercules

  • Feb 12, 2015
    "From zero to hero..." In their 35th animated feature Disney kidifies the classic Greek legend of Hercules. The story follows a young Hercules as he discovers that he's the son of Zeus, but in order to take his rightful place on Mount Olympus he will have to prove himself a true hero. The film relies heavily on anachronistic humor and pop-culture parodies, which really dates it and creates an uneven tone. The musical numbers also lack consistency, and aren't that memorable. However, there are some great performance from James Woods, Danny DeVito, and Rip Torn, who all bring a lot of energy to the film. Disney's first foray into old world mythology, Hercules is definitely one of their more interesting adaptations (though not their most successful).
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 01, 2014
    As an adaptation of Greek myths it fails (Disney forces modern Christian notions of good and evil into a story they have no business being in) but as a musical/romantic comedy it's really enjoyable.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 01, 2014
    For some time the animated Disney films didn't really hit me with much inspiration, by that I mean none of their outings grabbed my attention, the ideas just didn't excite me. Then along came this adventure based around the magic of Greek mythology and I was hooked. An animated Disney version of Harryhausen's mythic visions? count me in. So off I went on the day of release back in 1997, Swiss Cottage Odeon, North London (for some reason I remember, probably because this Odeon was unusually HUGE!). A simple tale of Hercules life from birth up to his teenage years. The loss of his immortality and God status at the hands of Hades, his young life as a mortal and how he manages to become a God again with the help of various friends in typical wide eyed Disney manner. The two things that attracted me to this kiddie flick were 1. the Greek mythology as already said, and 2. the visuals on display. Disney seem to go through different styles over time and this films style is really nice in its stark angled way. It comes across like a Geddy Tartakovsky project, reminiscent of his 'Star Wars: Clone Wars' series but with less CGI and generally a bit softer in tone. The colour palette is really vibrant too, so rich and alive, its really beautiful to watch going from the warm pastel golds, yellows and beige of Mount Olympus and Thebes to dark shades of blues, purples and black of the underworld. Loved the underworld!, wanted more time down there. Apart from the animation the characters are a big part of any film like this and would it be any surprise if I told you the bad guy was the best?. Yep its true, once again the villain shines through and in this case James Woods makes Hades a very likeable guy. Not only does he look really cool with a brilliant design and a virtually monochromatic colour scheme, he also has a really awesome flaming blue hairdo which is such a sweet touch. It is of course the deadpan sarcastic fiery verbal from Woods that he's famous for and he doesn't disappoint here...minus the profanity of course. The only other character that stood out for me was Philoctetes perfectly voiced by De Vito, casting genius. In general the Gods all looked quite good visually but I was unsure about that heavenly glow they all had, I see what they were going for but it kinda looked tacky. The Titans were a tad cliche looking (dunno what I expected) and didn't blow me away, also a shame they used full CGI for the Hydra which looked awful. Not sure why Hercules was drawn the way he was because he looked a bit pug ugly to me, anyone notice how big his ears were?!. Also I didn't really like the little imp minions of Hades, typical stereotypical Disney sidekicks purely in there for silly laughs, oh wait its a kids flick isn't it...dang!. Talking about the Hydra, not sure how that worked, Hercules was cutting off its heads one after another yet it kept on coming back for more. In the end some falling rocks killed it? even though it had its heads cut off multiple times?. On the same note, Hercules is suppose to have retained his super strength BUT he's mortal (watch the film), yet in the film he's still comes across as immortal even after that was drained from him. All in all I did enjoy this Greek outing as I expected I would. Yeah sure its not perfect by any means, the animation is a wee bit dated now naturally but I can't complain about that really. The CGI moments were obvious and terrible...down to age again. I didn't like the soppy songs throughout, yeah I know its Disney but they really felt unnecessary and jammed in...plus they sucked!. I really think these lovey-dovey songs are no longer required for these type of films, its a very old fashioned concept which to be honest I'm glad is fading out...call me uncultured I guess. But I did quite like the little montage showing Hercules victories and his merchandise taking off, Air-Herc hehe nice touch.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • May 15, 2013
    Hercules is a sweet and charming version of the immortal (and often brutal and hardcore) Greek mythology. It's not among my favorite classic Disney films but Go the Distance gave me goosebumps.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer

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