Hercules

  • Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Producers: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Writers: Ron Clements, John Musker, Barry Johnson
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Tate Donovan, Danny DeVito, James Woods, Susan Egan, Rip Torn

The film begins in ancient Greece with a mock-epic spoken narration (Heston), but dissolves into the musical narration by the five Muses (consisting of Calliope (White), Clio (Thomas), Melpomene (Freeman), Terpsichore (LaChanze), and Thalia (Ryan)). The Muses tell the tale (“The Gospel Truth”) of how Zeus (Torn) came to power and prevented the monstrous Titans from ruling the world. This leads to the day Hercules is born to Zeus and Hera (Eggar), much to the pleasure of all the other gods except Hades (Woods), Zeus’ brother, who receives word from the Fates (consisting of Clotho (Plummer), Lachesis (Shelley), and Atropos (Edwards)) that though he will release the Titans in eighteen years, Hercules will one day rise to power and prevent him from taking control of the world. Hades sends his minions, Pain (Goldthwait) and Panic (Frewer), 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 because he didn’t drink the last drop.

Hercules (Keaton) grows up to be a misfit, challenged by his incredible strength and inability to fit in with other people. His adoptive parents Amphitryon (Holbrook) and Alcmene (Barrie) finally tell him they found him with the symbol of the gods around his neck. Hercules believes the gods may have the answers behind his past and decides to go to the Temple of Zeus (“Go the Distance”). Zeus manifests as his statue and tells him that he is Hercules’ father, and that he must prove himself a true hero before he can rejoin the other gods on Mount Olympus. Hercules rides on Pegasus (Welker) and leaves the temple to seek out Philoctetes (“Phil” for short), an unhappy satyr and trainer of heroes. Phil (DeVito) has failed to train a true hero yet; but after some “persuasion” from Zeus, Phil decides to take on Hercules as his final attempt (“One Last Hope”).

Hercules and Pegasus get back to Phil and Meg too late and Hercules heads to the Underworld and demands for Meg to be revived, but Hades shows him that she is trapped in the River Styx. Hercules trades his soul for Meg’s, and Hades agrees on the condition that Hercules must get her soul out himself. Hercules jumps into the river, but given that one must be dead to enter the river, he ages rapidly as he swims toward Meg. The Fates try to cut Hercules’ lifeline, but they find that they couldn’t, for Hercules has become a true hero through his selfless actions, thereby restoring his godhood and immortality. As Hercules successfully returns Meg to the surface, Hades tries to talk his way out of the situation, but Hercules punches him, knocking him into the River Styx. The other souls grab Hades and pull him down into the river. Pain and Panic then worry about what Hades is going to do to them, until they realize they’re free from his wrath. Hercules revives Meg and returns to Olympus. Meg’s entrance is denied because she is mortal, but Hercules chooses to become mortal again and stay with her. Hercules is acclaimed a hero on Earth and Olympus alike. Zeus creates a constellation in his image, and Phil is remembered for being the one to train him. Hercules and his mortal friends and family are all shown happily together on earth, while Zeus and the other Olympians rejoice above. (“A Star is Born”)

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