FORUMS: list search recent posts

Hercules (2014)

COW Forums : TV & Movie Appreciation

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Scott Roberts
Hercules (2014)
on Jul 25, 2014 at 2:51:16 pm







Premise:  In the first instance of Hercules being played by a guy named Dwayne, the legendary hero joins forces with the king of Athens to take down the army of Rhesus, the evil Lord of Peanut Butter Cups, who is doing something to someone, that makes the king angry or something.  But is the king himself evil?  Did Hercules murder his family?  Probably not?  Yeah, I assumed he didn't either.  That was a dumb side story of manufactured suspense that no one fell for.  Does anyone even care?  Oh...  wait...  Oh my god...  I didn't realize this was a Brett Ratner film until the credits started rolling.  It all makes so much sense now!  The incompetence makes so much sense now!


Pros:

-That one shot with the big lion was kinda cool.  The rest of the good imagery was few and far between.

-I like that John Hurt isn't dead.  Remember Midnight Express?  Maybe I should rewatch that this weekend?

-In probably the greatest moment of unintentional hilariousness, Hercules basically Tokyo Drifts a chariot through a battlefield.

-I like the font they used on the posters.



Cons:

-Seriously, Brett Ratner?  I mean, I like Rush Hour, and Rush Hour 2 is watchable.  But Paramount wanted to create a new, modern, cool version of Hercules and they hire the director of Tower Heist?  Haha, the Rotten Tomatoes consensus actually made me laugh:  "Hercules has Brett Ratner behind the cameras and Dwayne Johnson rocking the loincloth -- and delivers exactly what any reasonable person reading that description might expect."  I honestly didn't realize Ratner directed it until it was over, but had I gone in with those expectations, I might have been a little more lenient on it as I watched it.  Because I know Ratner sucks.  I just didn't know what the hell I was watching, or why it was of this quality before that bit of info.

-In the first 10 minutes, five guys come running towards Hercules and he just swings a club through the air, clearly missing all of them, and they all fall down like bowling pins.  That's when I first asked myself, "Is this movie supposed to be THIS cheesy?"

-So many bad, embarrassing line reads.  You want to see something you've never seen before?  Go see Hercules and see Dwayne Johnson phone in a performance for the first time in his career.  I almost felt bad for him.

-The editing is abrupt and disjointed.  It's one of those movies where you start to notice when they cut to bad shots at inappropriate times, and that's never a good thing.

-All those big, cool looking animals that Hercules fights in all the marketing materials, ya know, the ones that are implied that Hercules would be fighting throughout the movie...  Those scenes are all within the first 5 minutes of the film.  Then the next 93 minutes are Hercules *not* fighting cool animals.

Now it's time for a Con Section Cliche Sidekick Roll Call, y'all!  Some details in this might be considered spoilers if 1) you plan on seeing this movie, which I wouldn't advise you to, or 2) YOU'VE NEVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE.

-First up, the tall amazon lady sidekick.  She's badass and she don't take no guff from dudes, y'all!  The king is all like, "I don't think this quest is for a girls, bro", then she shoots TWO arrows at once between the dude guards' legs, narrowly missing their junk.  Then the king is like "Whoa, nevermind, this girl is like as tough as a man, and whatnot!"  Then in another scene she's like teaching all the army dudes how to shoot arrows because she's better than them and like girls rule and boys drool, amirite?  Then she hits one of them in the junk and it makes him shoot straight.  Then later she shoots an arrow at a bad guy's junk and then nods at Hercules approvingly.  WE GET IT.  SHE'S BETTER THAN DUDES, AND SHE KNOWS WE DON'T LIKE GETTING SHOT IN THE JUNK.  I'm just happy she empowered all the women in the audience by wearing a sweaty, armor bikini throughout the entire film.  Totally not a misogynistic object of sexual desire, you guys.

-Next, the smart-ass right hand man, who is in it for the money, and after getting paid is all like "I'm out, Hercules, you can fight without me from now on" and rides away.  Does he come back out of nowhere at a crucial point of conflict to save Hercules in the final battle?  Just ask yourself:  HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE?

-Movin' on down, the crazy sidekick guy who never talks and acts like an animal.  He screams a lot and provides a lot of the film's unnecessary physical humor.  Do you think he'll say his first word to Hercules at the end of the film?  Just ask yourself:  HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE?

-The little guy, he's all talk, and he's too small to fight.  But he WANTS to fight!  But Hercules is all like "You're too small, you can't fight."  Do you think he'll pick up a weapon and save Hercules' life when no one else could?  Just ask yourself:  HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE?

Finally, Ian McShane, playing the old guy comic relief sidekick who constantly reminds the audience that he's seen a vision of when he's going to die.  Do you think when that moment finally happens, something will prevent that death and then he'll make a witty joke?  Just ask yourself:  HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE?

ROLL CALL OVER, Y'ALL

-The battle scenes had some of the most boring, uninspiring fight choreography I've ever seen.  Just people running around, swinging things.  Falling down.  No tension build up.  No moments of turning the tide.  Everything is so inconsequential, because Hercules and his bros are basically indestructible for most of the movie.  Fighting 50 guys by themselves without a scratch.  There was even one part where Lady Junkshot is shooting arrows, and a bad guy is creeping up behind her, and she does two karate moves on him without ever turning around.  Whoever thought that was a cool idea, or a new idea, deserves to be- oh right.  Ratner.

-Awful music score.

-None of the characters have any motivation.

-It's probably the most boring way to tell the Hercules story.  The whole cutesy gimmick of the movie is that he's not actually the son of Zeus, he's just a badass mortal dude who fights really good.  And they use his "legend" to inspire the troops of Athens to rally behind him and trust him.  But then he has unfathomable superhuman strength anyway; where he can flip horses upside down with one arm, jump 30 feet in the air, and push over 10,000 pound statues by himself.  So, like, IS he a god?  Or is he a-  Uhhhg, I don't even care at this point.  Not worth the brain cells to think about it.


Final Thoughts:  I'm a little shocked that this is at 66% on Rotten Tomatoes.  It's only 40 reviews though, so I assume that will go down drastically by the end of the weekend.  Frankly, I'm confused whether this movie was supposed to be a comedy or an action movie?  There were parts of it so dumb that it bordered on spoof territory (yelling "I.  Am.  HERCULES!" in the same speed and cadence as "This.  Is.  SPARTA!" being a prime example).  But then *most* of it was loud and overly serious.  There were many definite attempts at creating "cool" action shots, most of which were either failures, or things I've seen before.  It wasn't cool.  It wasn't funny.  It wasn't crazy enough to be considered fun.  If you thought this was an "over-the-top" silly action movie, you probably haven't seen very many good action movies.  Dredd, now there's a recent silly, over-the-top action movie.  Hercules is about on-par with Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.  Eh, just don't go see it, alright?

3.5 out of 10


Return to posts index

Stephen Smith
Re: Hercules (2014)
on Jul 25, 2014 at 4:07:47 pm

Wait a second....does the right hand man come and save the day at that crucial moment? :-)

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


Return to posts index

Tim Wilson
Re: Hercules (2014)
on Jul 25, 2014 at 7:13:46 pm

Sigh. I was hoping for goofy fun. The fact that I'd round your score down for liking Snowpiercer isn't going to help me. LOL


[Scott Roberts] "I'm a little shocked that this is at 66% on Rotten Tomatoes.  It's only 40 reviews though, so I assume that will go down drastically by the end of the weekend.  "

The number that jumped out at me was a Top Critics score of 89! Variety, Hollywood Reporter, and New York Magazine are among the people reviewing it positively.

Do note that even though Variety and THR are entertainment trade rags, neither is known as a soft-touch reviewer. Quite the contrary. I've wondered if they're needlessly harsh sometimes, just to maintain their objectivity cred...which they'll never have, so whatevs.

In any case, it's pretty rare for the Top Critics to run so much more positive than the group as a whole...but I also see fewer reviews than I'd expect by now, so yeah, too early to consider this a final score.



[Scott Roberts] "Seriously, Brett Ratner?  I mean, I like Rush Hour, and Rush Hour 2 is watchable.  But Paramount wanted to create a new, modern, cool version of Hercules and they hire the director of Tower Heist?"

I think they were thinking more "Ratner the director of X-Men: The Last Stand" and....and...uhm...Rush Hour 3. Never mind.




[Scott Roberts] "So, like, IS he a god?  Or is he a-  Uhhhg, I don't even care at this point.  "

There's a very specific name for this. Demi-god. Mixed god-human parentage. Other mythologies, including Hindu, include the concept, but on the Greek side, along with Hercules, some other demi-gods you may have heard of include Achilles, Helen of Troy, Perseus and Orpheus.

Rhesus may be something similar. Son of a god and a muse in some tellings, and in others, the son of a human and I don't remember his mother.

I am assuming from his name that he is also a monkey.

Not intended to make you care. Just to further your classical education. I'm all about furthering the classical education.



[Scott Roberts] " Frankly, I'm confused whether this movie was supposed to be a comedy or an action movie?"

You've heard of action comedies, right? LOL I know you have of course. So I'm guessing you don't think this one found the right mix...

....but I see why they went this route. Yes, The Rock is an action star, but he's made most of his money in comedies. There's the whole set of Disney family comedies -- Tooth Fairy, The Game Plan and such. I actually like them just fine. I like Race to Witch Mountain a LOT.

There are a number of more adult-ish comedies too. Get Smart (which I actually watched to SEE Dwayne, but stopped watching because I couldn't stand the rest), Be Cool (the sequel to Get Shorty - neither the book nor the movie were even close to the first, but he's a lot of fun in this), and The Other Guys.

He's a supporting player in all those, but they start to trend into action. I've mentioned my fondness for The Rundown before, and it's worth mentioning again: a no-apologies-required action comedy.

I don't think the "Fast" movies are comedies, although they have a lot of intentional comedy built in. Feel free to make a wry observation about unintentional comedy, but you know I like these too. And audiences did too -- $1.5b worldwide for these two, and make no mistake, fondness for Dwayne helped make this already massive franchise (the biggest in Universal history) even bigger.

His straight action stuff hasn't been generally as well received -- Walking Tall, Snitch, etc. -- and I think partly because he's an innately funny guy. I like that about him. I also like that he's in on his own joke, but he (generally) tries to keep it a smart joke.

Even his wrestling gig was played with a wink...or, more precisely, a raised eyebrow, as signature a move as there has ever been. I've never seen his wrestling stuff (not really my thing), but long before I knew his real name, I knew about The Eyebrow.

Now, obviously, his two BIG pictures as a lead were the first two, the Scorpion King movies, a combined $700 worldwide. There, he was in a an ancient myth franchise, mostly action, with a sprinkling of comedy via Brendan Fraser...golly. I'm not sure I've ever typed his name before. LOL Where's HE been?

Anyway, that's the gist. Comedy, action, myth. He's shown he can pull in high nine figures in all of these, with the thought being that he can at least get into the mid-nines with this. The budget is "only" $100 million, so this should be a short hop to profitability.

Looking up the numbers on his earlier pictures, I was struck that the Mummy pictures tended slightly domestic, but the Fast pictures did two-thirds of their money outside the US. I think that's the other thing they're banking on: building on his proven strengths in comedy, action, and myth-y stuff, with a new global audience that he didn't have the last time around.

Two last notes:

-- Lucy is on track to kicking Hercules' ass at the box office. I want that movie to be so good! The writer-director of The Fifth Element turns Scarlett J into his Perfect Being? Sold!

(Please don't suck. Please don't suck.)


-- Hmmm...hardcore beatdown muscular hero sidekick woman in exploitative costume?








Where

So that's the


Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: Hercules (2014)
on Jul 26, 2014 at 3:31:36 am

Dwayne gets a pass from me, eternally, because he was so terrific in "The Rundown".

Just like Stallone gets a free pass ever since "Rocky".


Return to posts index

Tim Wilson
Re: Hercules (2014)
on Jul 26, 2014 at 4:49:30 am

Good call on both. Fortunately, both have done enough other dandy work that it's pretty easy to keep the pass passing.....


Return to posts index

Stephen Smith
Re: Hercules (2014)
on Jul 28, 2014 at 3:41:15 pm







Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: Hercules (2014)
on Jul 28, 2014 at 9:11:41 pm


-- Lucy is on track to kicking Hercules' ass at the box office. I want that movie to be so good! The writer-director of The Fifth Element turns Scarlett J into his Perfect Being? Sold!

(Please don't suck. Please don't suck.)



I saw "Lucy", and loved it. Echoes some of the best parts of Fifth Element, in a simple comic-book-like SF action movie. Scarjo's gone for the Summer SF trifecta this year, and so far I'm loving everything she's done. Haven't yet seen her in "Under the Skin". There might have to be a restraining order written against me after that one.


Return to posts index

Scott Roberts
Re: Hercules (2014)
on Jul 29, 2014 at 3:10:45 am

[Tim Wilson] "You've heard of action comedies, right? LOL I know you have of course. So I'm guessing you don't think this one found the right mix..."

That's exactly what I was thinkin'! You can be an action comedy, but you can't be like a 75/25 mix when both sides are poorly written to begin with. That's just a dumb action movie with bad jokes.



[Tim Wilson] "Even his wrestling gig was played with a wink...or, more precisely, a raised eyebrow, as signature a move as there has ever been. I've never seen his wrestling stuff (not really my thing), but long before I knew his real name, I knew about The Eyebrow."

Being a teenager in the late 1990s, I in fact *did* watch his wrestling stuff and was a huge fan. He was often times the heel (i.e. bad guy), but still won the crowd over anyway. He was a well-liked villain. The eyebrow didn't hurt. (but the elbow did!)

His "cameo" with Sam Jackson in The Other Guys is probably my favorite joke in the entire movie. But I also like the running gag with Eva Mendes being ugly to Will Ferrell. Close second.

Want another terrible movie you forgot to list that he still put all of his effort into? Doom. Hercules was honestly the first movie of his I've ever seen where it looked like Dwayne phoned it in. He put his heart into *DOOM*!!


[Tim Wilson] "There's a very specific name for this. Demi-god. Mixed god-human parentage. Other mythologies, including Hindu, include the concept, but on the Greek side, along with Hercules, some other demi-gods you may have heard of include Achilles, Helen of Troy, Perseus and Orpheus. "

But I was saying that the entire premise of the 2014 Hercules is that he is *not* a demi-god, they go out of their way to be cute about dispelling his god-like myths. BUT THEN he goes ahead and punches someone 40 feet through the air as if he has god fist. I assume that's more just Brett Ratner being like "WOULDN'T IT BE COOL IF HERCULES DID THIS?!?!" Then the script supervisor is like "Uh, well, you see Mr. Ratner, he's not supposed to do that, that undermines the entire premise of the film, and-" "BUT IT WILL LOOK COOL! DO IT!"


Lastly, that picture that Stephen's video link is referencing (which I'm sure the entire internet has seen by this point, but I'll post again JUST IN CASE) is nothing short of amazing:



Return to posts index

Tim Wilson
Re: Hercules (2014)
on Jul 29, 2014 at 5:52:06 pm

[Scott Roberts] "But I was saying that the entire premise of the 2014 Hercules is that he is *not* a demi-god, they go out of their way to be cute about dispelling his god-like myths. "

I completely missed this until I read a review pointing out that the source material is the Radical Comics graphic novels by Steve Moore. The New York Times, of all people, laid it out really well, and concluded much the same you did: "It's half-slog, half-Mel Brooks."

If nothing else, I'm happy to hear so many people say that Dwayne Johnson deserves better, rather than blaming him for the movie's misfires.

FWIW, I'm working an article on some of the VFX. They traditionally want these articles held for at least a week after the movie opens, so look for it early next week...


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]