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This article is about the film. For other uses, see Hercules (disambiguation).
Hercules
Hercules
Film information
Directed by: Ron Clements
John Musker
Produced by: Ron Clements
John Musker
Written by: Ron Clements
John Musker
Barry Johnson
Music by: Alan Menken
David Zippel
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date(s): June 27, 1997
Running time: 93 minutes
Language: English
Budget: $85 million[1]
Gross Revenue: $252,712,101

Hercules is the thirty-fifth full-length animated feature film in the Disney canon., and the 8th entry of the Disney Renaissance. It is produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 27, 1997. The thirty-fifth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, the film was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. The movie is an American fantasy tale very loosely based on Ancient Greco-Roman mythology, more specifically the adventures of Heracles (known in the movie by his Roman name, Hercules), the son of Zeus.

Though Hercules did not match its predecessors (even receiving an overwhelmingly negative reception in Greece, where the myth originated), it still took over $99 million in domestic revenues and over $252,700,000 worldwide. The movie was later followed by Hercules: The Animated Series, focusing on Hercules during his time at the Prometheus academy and Hercules: Zero to Hero, a direct-to-video movie.

Plot

Warning, contains spoilers.

The film begins with the five muses "Goddesses of the arts and proclaimers of heroes" telling the story of how Zeus came to power and prevented the monstrous Titans from ruling the world. This leads to the day Hercules is born to Zeus and Hera, much to the pleasure of the other gods except Hades, who receives word from the Fates that Hercules will one day rise to power and prevent him from taking control of the world. He sends his minions, Pain and Panic (a duo reminiscent of Ares's mythological sons, Deimos (dread) and Phobos (fear)), to kidnap Hercules and feed him a potion that will strip him of his immortality; however, they are interrupted and, while Hercules becomes mortal, he retains his god-like strength (for the potion to fully work, Hercules had to drink every last drop, but missed one when they were interrupted).

Hercules grows up to be a misfit, challenged by his incredible strength and unable to fit in with other people. His adoptive parents finally tell him that he is adopted and they found a medal with his name on it when they found abandon on a road as a baby. Hercules then decides to travel to the temple of Zeus. Zeus comes down to Hercules and tells Hercules that he is his father and someone stole him from his parents (Hera and Zeus). Zeus tells him that he must prove himself a true hero before he can join the other gods on Mount Olympus. Along with his flying horse Pegasus, Hercules goes to Philoctetes, an unhappy satyr who has failed to train a true hero yet; he decides to take on Hercules as his final attempt.

After training with Phil, the three of them attempt to save the beautiful Megara, a damsel in distress, from a centaur named Nessus. A smitten Hercules barely succeeds and Meg returns to the forest, where she is revealed to have sold her soul to Hades in order to save her lover's life; her lover abandoned her and now Meg must do favors for Hades in order to avoid an eternity in the underworld. When Hades learns that Hercules is alive, he is enraged and plots to murder him again.

When Hercules tries to prove himself a hero at Thebes, Hades sends the Hydra to kill him. Hercules tries to kill the Hydra by slicing off its heads, but more heads grow in their place. After a lengthy battle, he prevails by using his strength to cause a landslide. He soon becomes a national, multi-million-dollar celebrity as a result. Realizing that his plans are jeopardized, Hades sends Meg out to discover Hercules' weakness, promising her freedom in return. Hercules is disappointed to learn from his father Zeus that he has yet to become a true hero, and then spends the time and day with Meg, who finds herself falling deeply romantically in love again. When Hades intervenes, she turns against him, as she accepts her recently surfaced deep and strong romantic feelings and love for Hercules, much to Hades' dismay.

Phil learns of Meg's involvement with Hades and, thinking she is willingly desires to work for him, tries to warn Hercules, who ignores Phil and knocks him to the ground in an outrage. Discouraged, Phil leaves for home. Unfortunately, through this, Hades realizes that Meg is 'Hercules' weakness. Hades arrives, interrupting Hercules' training, talks a lot then snaps his fingers, making Meg appear. Before she can finish her sentence, Hades snaps his fingers and she disappears, tied up and gagged by smoke, then reappears with another snap of Hades fingers. He uses Meg to try to get Hercules to give up his God-like superhuman strength for twenty-four hours, though Hercules adds the condition that Meg doesn't get hurt in any way. Meg shakes her head frantically, trying to convince Hercules not to make the deal, but he does not listen. When Hades sets Meg free, Hades spitefully reveals that she was working for him all along. Deeply heartbroken and crushed, the now-weakened Hercules loses the will to fight the Cyclops that Hades unleashes upon him. Meg finds and unties Pegasus and battles her fear of heights to find Phil, persuading him to come back and help Hercules regain his confidence. He finishes off the cyclops but just as a pillar is about to crush Hercules. Meg pushes him out of the way saving him because "people always do crazy things when they're in love".

As a result, the deal is broken and Hercules' god-like superhuman strength is returned. Hercules, along with Pegasus and Phil, saves Olympus from certain doom and Hades returns to the underworld. Meanwhile, Meg dies of her injuries, her thread of life having been cut by the Fates. Hercules arrives and demands for Meg to be revived, but Hades shows him that she is currently trapped in the River Styx, a river of souls where all the dead go. Hades allows Hercules to trade his own spirit for Meg's, hoping to return Meg's body to the surface of the river before he is killed. Hercules jumps in and as his lifeline is about to be cut by the Fates, his amazing courage and willingness to ultimately sacrifice his life for others prove him a true hero, restoring all of his godly powers and rendering him immortal. As he successfully returns Meg to the surface, Hades tries to talk his way out of the situation. Hercules punches him, knocking him into the River Styx. The other souls grab Hades and pull him down into the stream. Hercules revives Meg and they both head to Olympus, but when Meg's entrance is denied, Hercules chooses to become mortal and stay on Earth with her. Hercules is acclaimed a hero on both Earth and Olympus alike, Zeus creates a constellation in his image, and Phil is remembered for being the one to train him.

Spoilers end here.

Production

In the film, Hercules is the son of Zeus and Hera. In the Greek myth, Heracles (or Herakles) is the son of Zeus and a mortal, earth-born woman, Alcmene. Alcmene and her husband, Amphitryon, appear in the Disney's Hercules version, as Hercules's "foster parents".

Hades, voiced by James Woods, is cast as the villain. This idea is similar to that of the Hades of the Marvel Universe, who wanted to overthrow Zeus and was an ambitious, scheming god. In the movie Hades is a fast-talking, manipulative deal maker with a fiery (literally) temper, who hates his job as lord of the underworld and plots to overthrow Zeus.

Disney took considerable liberties with the "Hercules" myths, since some of the original material and characters were deemed inappropriate for younger viewers by the Disney studios moral standards, such as Hercules being conceived through a god posing as a mortal woman's husband, and of his stepmother Hera's attempts to kill him. Disney also made use of stereotypes when designing the look of the characters, such as depicting Hercules as a more of a crime-fighting superhero than a god, the gods as laid-back American types, the Moirae as demonic hags (merging them with the Graeae), the Muses as five gospel-singing divas, and the Titans as brutish giants.

Due to the name's prominence in Western culture, they went with the Latin Hercules rather than the actual Greek Herakles. In the series, the god Dionysus was also portrayed with his Roman name, Bacchus.

The Disney version of Hercules has little relation to the Heracles myths, and should not be regarded as the actual stories about the mythological hero; rather, it is a spin on the character and the culture of ancient Greece. (The film does contain a brief reference to The Twelve Labors and other myths pertaining to the character, however, such as the Erymanthian Boar. In the movie, Hades sends these monsters to him, rather than their being encountered as they are in the myths). Some other Greek myths are appropriated, as well. One is the myth of Bellerophon, from which was taken the winged horse Pegasus and the scene where Hercules is swallowed by the Hydra (for Perseus it was the dragon Cetus) and cuts his way out. Another is the myth of Orpheus, who goes to the underworld to try to bring back his love, Eurydice. The most obvious is when Hercules is fighting a titanic battle with the Hydra, a lizard-like monster who regrows three heads for every one severed. According to Apollodorus it regrows two heads instead of three. Many other myths are mentioned, like the ones of the Argonauts, Pandora's box, the Trojan War and the Gorgons (which Hercules says he had slayed).

Because noted British caricaturist Gerald Scarfe (who contributed the animated segments for the film adaptation of Pink Floyd's album "The Wall") designed the characters, the film has a quirky visual style unusual in recent Disney films. CGI was also used to create the Hydra and the clouds in Olympus.

Cast

Character English voice actor French voice actor Quebec voice actor German voice actor Spanish voice actor Latin American voice actor Italian voice actor Japanese voice actor
Hercules Tate Donovan Emmanuel Garijo Antoine Durand Til Schweiger Sergio Zamora Ricky Martin Raoul Bova Masahiro Matsuoka
Phil Danny DeVito Patrick Timsit Luis De Cespedes Mogens von Gadow Jordi Vila Marcos Valdés Giancarlo Magalli Ichirō Nagai
Hades James Woods Dominique Collignon-Maurin Jean-Luc Montminy Arne Elsholtz Pep Antón Muñóz Rubén Trujillo Massimo Venturiello Kyūsaku Shimada
Megara Susan Egan Mimi Félixine Céline Bonnier
Dominique Faure (singing)
Jasmin Tabatabai Nuria Mediavilla Tatiana Veronica Pivetti Shizuka Kudō
Zeus Rip Torn Benoît Allemane Marcel Sabourin Wolfgang Dehler Claudio Rodríguez Guillermo Romano Gianni Musy Genzō Wakayama
Hera Samantha Eggar Sophie Deschaumes Élise Bertrand Viktoria Brams María Luisa Solá Beatriz Aguirre Aurora Cancian
Pain Bobcat Goldthwait Éric Métayer Bernard Fortin Mirco Nontschew Juan Fernández Javier Rivero Andrea Brambilla Chappu
Panic Matt Frewer Éric Métayer François Sasseville Stefan Jürgens Pep Sais Gabriel Cobayassi Nino Formicola Pagu
Young Hercules Josh Keaton
Roger Bart (singing)
Emmanuel Garijo
Emmanuel Dahl (singing)
Hugolin Chevrette
Joël Legendre (singing)
Dominik Auer Rafael Alonso Naranjo, Jr.


Ferrán González (singing)

Víctor Mares, Jr.


Antonio Benavides (singing)

Stefano Crescentini Jun Akiyama
Nessus Jim Cummings Marc Alfos Jean Fontaine Oliver Stritzel Juan Carlos Gustems Octavio Rojas
Hermes Paul Shaffer Patrice Dozier Sébastien Dhavernas Joan Pera Moisés Palacios
Amphytryon Hal Holbrook Jean Lescaut Aubert Pallascio Goffredo Matassi
Alcmene Barbara Barrie Rosine Cadoret Élizabeth Lesieur Franca Lumachi
Clotho Amanda Plummer Colette Venhard Élisabeth Chouvalidzé
Lachesis Carole Shelley Jacqueline Staup Lenie Scoffié
Atropos Paddi Edwards Perrette Pradier Arlette Sanders
Apollo Keith David Jacques Lavallée
Calliope, Muse of Epics Lillias White Mimi Félixine Sylvie Boucher
Julie Massicotte
Julie Leblanc
Linda Benoy
Lina Boudreau
Lana Carbonneau
Mercedes Montalá
Susan Martín (singing)
Rebeca Manríquez
Vicky Gutiérrez (singing)
Emanuela Cortesi
Melpomene, Muse of Tragedy Cheryl Freeman Jessica Parkers Paula Bas Ruth Howard Paola Repere
Thalia, Muse of Comedy Roz Ryan Assitan Dembele Helen Quiroga María del Sol Lalla Francia
Clio, Muse of History Vaneese Thomas Norma Ray María Caneda Blanca Flores Paola Folli
Terpsichore, Muse of Dance LaChanze Debbie Davis Mary Lou Gauthier Cani González Mirna Garza Lola Feghaly
Demetrius the Pottery Salesman Wayne Knight Said Amadis André Montmorency
Cyclops Patrick Pinney Benoît Marleau
Narrator Charlton Heston Jean Davy Vincent Davy Paco Hernández Carlos Magaña Hisaya Morishige

Crew

Crew Position
Directed by John Musker

Ron Clements

Produced by John Musker

Ron Clements
Alice Dewey

Written by John Musker

Ron Clements
Bob Shaw
Don McEnery
Irene Mecchi

Songs by Alan Menken

David Zippel

Original Score by Alan Menken
Associate Producer

Kendra Haaland

Art Director Andy Gaskill
Production Designer Gerald Scarfe
Film Editor Tom Finan
Artistic Supervisors Barry Johnson (Story supervisor)
Rasoul Azadani (Layout supervisor)
Thomas Cardone (Background supervisor)
Nancy Kniep (Clean-up supervisor)
Mauro Maressa (Effects supervisor)
Roger L. Gould (Computer Graphics supervisor)
Artistic Coordinator Dan Hansen
Supervising Animator Andreas Deja (Adult Hercules)
Randy Haycock (Young & Baby Hercules)
Eric Goldberg (Phil)
Nik Ranieri (Hades)
Ken Duncan (Meg)
Ellen Woodbury (Pegasus)
Anthony DeRosa (Zeus & Hera)
James Lopez (Pain)
Brian Ferguson (Panic)
Michael Show (The Muses)
Dominique Monfrey (Titans & Cyclops)
Richard Bazley (Alcmene & Amphitryon)
Nancy Beiman (The Fates/Thebans)
Oskar Urretabizkaia (Hydra)
Production Manager Peter Del Vecho

Soundtrack

Awards and nominations

  • "Go the Distance" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, but lost both to Titanic's "My Heart Will Go On."

Annie Awards

Result Award Winner/Nominee Recipient(s)
Nominated Animated Theatrical Feature
Won Individual Achievement in Producing Alice Dewey (Producer)
John Musker (Producer)
Ron Clements (Producer)
Won Individual Achievement in Directing John Musker (Director)
Ron Clements (Director)
Nominated Individual Achievement in Character Animation Ken Duncan (Supervising Animator - Meg)
Won Individual Achievement in Character Animation Nik Ranieri (Supervising Animator - Hades)
Won Individual Achievement in Effects Animation Mauro Maressa (Effects Supervisor)

Anachronisms

Many events of Greek mythology are mentioned by the various deific characters within the film in the past tense, either explaining the events to Hercules or referencing an example. However, several of the events mentioned occurred either during or after the life of the mythological Hercules. These include:

  • Golden Fleece: The quest for the Golden Fleece, featuring Jason and the Argonauts, took place during the life of Hercules and featured him as a member of the Argonauts. However, the Argo itself has apparently been disassembled and Hercules has no first-person knowledge of its adventures.
  • Orpheus: In the beginning of the movie, Hermes flies in and says that Orpheus made the floral arrangement in the bouquet he is carrying. However, Orpheus was a renowned artisan who was a contemporary of Hercules.
  • Trojan War: The war occurred a generation after the life of Hercules, and in fact featured his son as a participant, but Hades makes a reference to the defeat of the Trojans with the Trojan Horse.
  • Achilles: In addition to referencing the Trojan War, several characters mention the mythological figure of Achilles, who lived a generation after Hercules and took part in the Trojan War. This is also true of Odysseus, who is mentioned as having lived before Hercules, and, as is additionally implied, dying after Achilles.
  • Gorgons: Hercules says to Zeus that he slew a Gorgon, although only one of the Gorgons could be killed (Medusa), and she was already slain by Perseus at about the same time as Hercules' Twelve Labors.
  • Titans: In the movie, the Titans were demons that embodied forces of nature (earth, ice, lava, and wind) and had no relation to the gods. In the original, the Titans were the parents of several of the gods and had similar powers to them.
  • Hydra: In the original myth the Hydra was actually a large water snake that lived in a swamp that grew two heads when one was severed. In the film, the Hydra is a gargantuan, dragon-like monster that grew three heads when one was severed. It was also seen apparently sealed under a boulder, which was actually the place Hercules hid the Hydra's immortal head.
  • Hippolyta: Phil references Hippolyta while briefing Hercules of his duties, by saying that he had to get "some girdle from some Amazons". In mythology, Hippolyta was an Amazonian queen who possessed an enchanted girdle which Hercules was ordered to retrieve as part of his labors.
  • Augeas: Phil also references King Augeas, by saying that he had "a problem with his stables". This refers to the Augean stables, which housed a herd of immortal cattle that produced an enormous quantity of dung. Hercules was ordered to clean the structure as part of his labors.
  • Pandora: Hades mentions Pandora during a conversation with Meg, in which he references her weakness as being a box. In mythology, Pandora was the first woman created by the gods, who inadvertently unleashed every evil in the world by opening a jar out of curiosity.

Trivia

  • When Hercules walks into Phil's house on the island, he hits his head on the mast of the Argo. Phil tells him to be careful. This is a reference to Jason of the legends of Jason and the Argonauts, who died when the mast of the Argo fell on him.
Hercules training

The Karate Kid reference

  • During Hercules's training, he practices a form of karate. This is a reference to the 1984 film, The Karate Kid.
  • The animators spent 6 to 14 hours to render a frame of the Hydra depending on how many heads it had.
  • After Hercules defeats Nessus and saves Meg, Phil tells him "Next time, don't let your guard down because of a pair of big goo-goo eyes". Phil's original line was "Next time, don't let your guard down because of a pair of big blue eyes", which was heard in the teaser trailer on the 1996 VHS of Toy Story. However, by the time the scene was in color, Meg's eyes were purple.
  • The movie is featured as a world, Olympus Coliseum, in the Kingdom Hearts video game series. Hades, while trying to take over Olympus, uses several Final Fantasy characters (Cloud, Auron and Zack) to aid him by controlling them to kill Hercules or the series protagonists (such as Sora and Terra).
  • Hercules, Megara, Philoctetes, Pegasus, Zeus, Hera, Hermes and the Fates were featured as guests on House of Mouse, and Hades was one of the villains in Mickey's House of Villains.
  • The Wilhelm Scream is heard.
  • Susan Egan would later go on to do the singing voice for Angel in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Roger Bart would go on to do the singing voice for Scamp in the same movie.
  • Even though Susan Egan and Roger Bart both worked on Hercules, they did not meet each other until working together in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure by providing the singing voices for the two main characters.
  • Unlike The Origianal version, where Hera was the main antagonist, Hera is actually nice to Zeus and Hercules.
  • Hercules is so far one of two movies from the Disney renaissance that doesn't have a chonological sequel that takes place after the events of the first movie. However Disney did have plans for one.

Allusions

External links

Gallery

References

  1. IMDb: Hercules Box Office/Business


Hercules
Hercules
Media: Hercules | Hercules: Zero to Hero | Hercules (official soundtrack) | Video game | TV series (Aladdin crossover) | Kingdom Hearts | Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories | Kingdom Hearts II | Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days | Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep | Kingdom Hearts coded

Characters: Hercules | Hades | Pegasus | Philoctetes | Megara | Pain and Panic | Fates | Muses | Zeus | Hera | Hermes | Hephaestus | Athena | Ares | Poseidon | Aphrodite | Demeter | Artemis | Apollo | Dionysus | Titans | Cyclops | Cerberus | Hydra | Nessus | Nymphs | Amphytryon and Alcmene | Icarus | Cassandra | Adonis | Helen of Troy | Tempest | Circe | Triton | Galatea | Pandora | Medusa | Echidna | Typhon | Echidna's Children | Hecate | Nemesis | Mr. Parentheses | Homer | Fear and Terror | Ibid | Minor characters | Minor Gods | Minor villains | Antaeus | Prometheus | Daedalus | Morpheus | Kronos | Atlas | Gaia | Persephone | Amphitrite

Objects: Skull Pacifier| Armageddon Bow | Trident | Mortal Potion

Locations: Ancient Greece | Mount Olympus | Underworld | Phil's Island | Thebes | Prometheus Academy | Atlantis City

Songs: The Gospel Truth I | The Gospel Truth II | The Gospel Truth III | Go the Distance | Go the Distance (Reprise) | One Last Hope | Zero to Hero | I Won't Say (I'm in Love) | A Star Is Born | My Town | Promethean Ditty | The Agora | The Bacchanal | The Man That I Love | Pucker Up or Let Him Snooze | That's How the Story Goes | Aphrodesia Dance | Love Is In The Air | Since the Light Went Away | Ain't Life a Beach | Can-Do King | Kronos Stone| What's a Mother To Do? | Screamin' Grecian Teenage Blues | Lethe Water on the Brain! | One Good Man

Other: Disney Sing Along Songs: From Hercules


Disney Adventurers
Dav

Disney Adventurers: Peter Pan | Captain Hook | Aladdin | Hercules | Tarzan

Movies: Peter Pan | Aladdin | The Return of Jafar | Aladdin and the King of Theives | Hercules | Hercules: Zero to Hero | Tarzan | Return to Never Land | Tarzan & Jane | Tarzan II

TV Shows: Aladdin (TV series) | Hercules: The Animated Series | House of Mouse | The Legend of Tarzan | Jake and the Never Land Pirates

TV Specials: Hercules and the Arabian Night | Peter Pan Returns

Video Games: Aladdin | Nasira's Revenge | Disney's MathQuest With Aladdin | Hercules Action Game | Tarzan Action Game | Tarzan: Untamed | Kingdom Hearts | Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure | Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories | Kingdom Hearts II | Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days | Kingdom Hearts coded | Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep | Kingdom Hearts χ | Peter Pan: Adventures in Never Land | Peter Pan: The Legend of Never Land Disney Universe | Kinect Disneyland Adventures | Epic Mickey series | Disney's Villains' Revenge



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