Baddie – Blind ambition?
Lesson – Stop impulsively making Greek myth movies. Stahp.
Well would you look at that – I’m actually reviewing a movie that’s -in- theaters! It’s my first (2014) movie!
Oh…oh, The Legend of Hercules….where do we begin? This movie was such a mess. And I mean, really, even more of a mess than Clash of the Titans. That movie was hilarious. This movie was just painful. Alright, well, let’s tackle this sucker in an orderly fashion, from good to bad to just plain awful.
The Soundtrack: Not the worst part of the movie, but, forgettable. The film opens with a shot from underwater, bodies and horses and debris falling in. A high soprano sings all ethereal-like. It’s pretty typical stuff.
The Wardrobe: Excessive at times, but mostly pretty and well done. There were a lot of influences from all over the map, like, the literal world map, and the biggest issue I had was with the Egyptian armor. The Egyptian army looked like a bunch of hieroglyphics threw up all over them, with Anubis helmets, Eye of Horus shields and jeweled scarabs everywhere. There is brief mention of some…other European allies, and I take it to mean that the ‘Vikings’ who showed up, with their horned helmets, were them. This is a petty thing, but a lot of things had trim on them, like, sewn-on-bought-at-JoAnn’s-looking-trim. Weird.
The Acting: Kellan Lutz doesn’t mess it up. It almost felt like he knew everyone else around him was hamming it up and his acting whispers, “Guys, take a chill pill”. I was not impressed with the lady-du-jour, Gaia Weiss, mostly because she went cross-eyed every time she looked lovingly at Hercules and that was distracting. The other cast, all men, had varying degrees of accents and seriousness. A lot of the gravitas from 300 was attempted, and none of it succeeded.
The Plot: Alright, here’s my main issue with the movie. The plot is janky. I admit freely that the Feats/Labors of Hercules are a weak spot in my knowledge of Greek myths, and I will consent to a few things that the movie changed for other reasons. For example, Zeus has consensual sex with permission from Hera and the target. Alright, fine. If you want to take the rape out, that’s actually cool with me. I’m less cool with you taking the Nemean lion and throwing it in the story as an afterthought, poor CGI and all, that Hercules literally just stumbles across in the forest and straight up murders in the first 20 minutes of the movie. He then somehow skins and tans the hide in less than 2 hours (stated in the dialogue) and his brother wears it. Hercules gets it back, but it doesn’t really serve a purpose other than to look decently cool.
HOWEVER – if you’re going to make an origin story about Hercules, as this movie was billed, than take a note from Disney and have it be a story about a man who needs to discover his hidden strength to get stuff done. This is a movie about how a man who’s already strong and handsome has to escape slavery to win his bride back, but, since he’s so awesome he doesn’t really need Dad’s help. And, when the time comes to need help, he simply looks up to the heavens and says, “I believe in you!” (I wish I was joking) and gets super strength. So, yeah. This is at the end of the movie, by the way. Later, he abuses being Zeus’ son again by doing something totally bizarre –he raises his sword to the sky and, a la Thor or He-Man, summons lightning bolts, makes a huge whip and whips the life out of the opposing armies.
Yeah, I don’t know whose idea it was to take a hero whose main job in life is to be strong and give him a lightning whip, but there it is.
Now, in regards to the love plot, it was dumb. It was dumb the whole time, and the amount of weirdness that goes on to keep it dumb was also dumb. Hercules is given an amulet, which he manages to keep through his slavery. She asks how. He answers “Hope.” Okay…now, in the end of the movie, she’s held at dagger point, and decides to just stab herself to avoid messy complications with morals. So she does. The dagger grows long enough to stab her assailant through the heart also, and then shorter again so she can lie flat on the ground and die.
Oh, except for the part where she doesn’t die because I don’t know they just flash to a shot of her having Hercules’ baby THE END.
My mind, she is boggled.
Further mind-boggling happened when I looked up the director, Renny Harlin. Of Deep Blue Sea. Which is one of my favorite shark movies, because, how could it not be? You know what else he directed? Devil’s Pass, the movie I reviewed a few weeks ago. Hollywood, you’re a small world.
Oh, and before I go, here’s something else kinda odd about this movie: It’s clean. I mean, no blood, no nudity, barely any cursing, no on-screen death. Which is fine, but, odd. Really just very odd. For such a violent-themed movie, the lack of evidence is just really disconcerting.