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Blu-ray Review: Disney's Hercules Special Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)


My wife and I went to see Hercules at the local theater a couple weeks ago. We both enjoyed it, unlike the terrible The Legend of Hercules which we had seen earlier in the year. And now Disney has just released their version of Hercules on blu-ray a couple days ago, so we figured might as well check that one out too. Honestly, I had completely forgotten that Disney had made a Hercules movie. They also released 4 other classic titles on blu-ray along with it: Tarzan, The Three Musketeers, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. But I'll get to those later.

Disney's Hercules is of course nothing like the original story of Hercules, which is horrific and would never make it into a Disney film! I think that'd be hard to make into even a rated-R movie. So I didn't go into this having an idea of the story, which was nice. This story starts with Hercules as a newborn baby of the gods Zeus and Hera, but he is kidnapped by minions of Hades, Zeus's evil brother. They give him a potion to make him mortal, but he doesn't drink it all and so retains his super strength.

As a teen this makes him an outcast since he never learned how to control his strength... which seems kinda weird. He's had what, like 17-18 years? You'd think he would have learned by then. I mean, Clark Kent did. Anyway, one day he visits one of Zeus' temples and learns the truth of his heritage. He sets out to train to become a true hero so he can become a god once again. It could be considered an action flick, but there's also a lot of humor here, especially one-liners and pop culture references. This was originally released back in 1997, so some of those references are definitely dated, and yet they're still usually funny.

The artwork in Hercules wasn't bad, but it also didn't seem like anything special. I wasn't amazed or in awe. There was some 3D animation included which was blended really well with the 2D artwork, but overall this just wasn't a standout visual movie. Like many Disney movies, this also featured music numbers, though these were more like narrations than the character just bursting out in song. There was really nothing that stood out about the characters, either, except for Hades who was voiced by James Woods. Even though he was playing the typical movie villain, I loved his performance and would smile every time Hades came on screen. Oh, and I wanted to mention about designs the female characters because most were drawn with real skinny waists, and I mean unrealistically skinny, which I know was supposed to look sexy but to me it just didn't.

For extra features on the blu-ray we get From zero to Hero Sing Along, "Not Importa La Distancia" music video with Ricky Martin, and The Making of Hercules. I've seen more in-depth making-of featurettes, but for being just under 10 minutes this one wasn't bad. The music video and sing-along held no interest from me. My copy also came with a DVD and digital copy, which is good since not everyone has blu-ray players in every room. We sure don't.

It was an entertaining movie, though it won't be making my list of top 10 Disney films. Still worth a watch if you haven't seen it, or if it's been so long that you don't remember.

Disney's Hercules Special Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD), released by Walt Disney Video, is available starting August 12, 2014.

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