Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1997. Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation. Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker. Story by Kaan Kalyon, Kelly Wightman, Randy Cartwright, John Ramirez, Jeff Snow, Vance Gerry, Kirk Hanson, Francis Glebas, Mark Kennedy, Bruce Morris, Don Dougherty, Thom Enriquez, Animation screenplay by Ron Clements, John Musker, Don McEnery, Bob Shaw, Irene Mecchi. Produced by Ron Clements, Alice Dewey Goldstone, John Musker. Music by Alan Menken. Production Design by Gerald Scarfe. Film Editing by Tom Finan, Robert W. Hedland. Academy Awards 1997. Golden Globe Awards 1997. Toronto International Film Festival 1997.
Fun-filled musical from Disney animation has the Greek legend of Hercules retold in Motown style, with a fabulous chorus of singers and a cast of infectiously adorable characters. Hercules (Tate Donovan) is a mighty muscleman with exceptional powers who becomes every kid’s favourite hero, a Michael Jordan-like celebrity who endorses all kinds of sandals and vases without realizing that his destiny is so much greater than to just be a big star. What he doesn’t know is that he is actually the child of the great god Zeus, but was taken away from his home on Mount Olympus by the evil Hades (James Woods), who still makes it his mission to do away with him. Though the story has been rounded off to make it easier to aim at its young audience, the story actually follows Greek mythology faithfully for the most part. The rest is a combination of trademark Disney sidekick characters and beautifully colourful animation, plus Alan Menken and David Zippel’s main theme ‘Go The Distance’ is lovely.