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Hercules (1997)


Disney’s Hercules is one of the last traditionally animated Disney features. It also features one of the best Disney villains of all time, Hades, voiced by James Woods. Tate Donovan voices Hercules. Matt Frewer is Panic and Bobcat Goldthwait is Pain, Hades’ two henchmen. They are both wonderful voice actors that are perfect for two bumbling idiot henchmen who are terrified of their boss. Danny DeVito is Hercules’ trainer Phil. Susan Eagen rounds out the main cast as Meg, the love interest/temptress.

Classic animation allows for entertaining visual gags that elevate scenes. The use of blue and red flame from Hades based on his moods is a nice touch that kids and adults can appreciate. Tossing physics out the window for a story about Greek gods is the right call. The movie is filled with physical comedy that will get laughs from mom and dad and the children. The movie is written in such a way that you won’t mind watching it with your children.

The story is classic, Meg must deceive Hercules for her self-preservation but she falls for Hercules. When her intentions have changed to save Hercules, he finds out what her original intentions were and does not allow her to explain herself. It is only slightly frustrating, like all similar movies, that a simple conversation and a little understanding could rectify the situation. Eventually, good triumphs over evil and everyone lives happily ever after. It isn’t saccharine sweet, but it should leave a nice smile on your face.

As I work my way through the Disney+ back catalog I have been disappointed more often than not. A fair number of the films just have not stood up to time or me entering my mid-30s. Hercules is an exception. I can’t recall seeing the movie when it was originally released, but I do remember the McDonalds tie-in promotion. There was a Hercules branded triple cheeseburger for $0.99 released alongside the movie. I have fond memories of getting them with my parents throughout the summer of 1997. I did get a bit of a craving while watching the movie, so you may want to grab a burger or two to accompany your watching.

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