Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"Hercules movie for TV keeps monsters but cuts gods

Well, I tried to stay awake for the three-hour movie "Hercules" on NBC last night but couldn't quite make it. Despite its length, the effort suffered from some inadequate story background. To set the stage for the animosity between Hercules father Amphitryon and his mother Alcmene, I think it would have been better to begin the film a little earlier with a few scenes of their relationship or that of their families. Also, I think the film gives the uninitiated an erroneous understanding of the conflict between Zeus and Hera. It portrayed the events as a rivalry between them for ultimate control of the universe when Hera's actions were, once again, merely reaction to Zeus' eternal philandering. Someone who knew nothing about Greek mythology wouldn't even know they were actually husband and wife from the ravings of the characters in the film.

The young actor selected to portray Hercules had a decent physique but still resembled a "pretty" surfer boy instead of the mature Hercules portrayed in all the sculptures I saw on my trip to Rome. He was obviously chosen to appeal to the younger demographic with exposure to the Kevin Sorbo television series.

My favorite character was Chiron but in this tale, Chiron was not immortal and was killed in battle. I was also dissatisfied with the apparent lack of blame Hercules expressed when he learned that he had been affected by a potion when he killed his sons. Throughout the film we are given glimpses of Hercules problem with his temper and the deadly results but somehow he never seems to comes to terms with his own shortcomings in any meaningful way. I would hate to think that children would come away from this movie with an assumption that when you do something inappropriate it really isn't your fault. I also thought the villification of Alcmene and Megara was a poor method to use to avoid the depiction of the interventions by Olympic gods and goddesses. Much like the movie "Troy", the Olympians are mentioned by main characters, but they are given no substance so viewers can simply discredit their existence.

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