Thursday, 24 July 2014

Hercules

Surprisingly only minor spoilers ahead.
It's not really that kind of film.


PG13
Running Time: Only 98 mins.
Writers: Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Base on a comic by Steve Moore
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson (can't believe I didn't realise he's The Rock!, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell. 
Language: English  

The main problem with Hercules is its trailer, though it could be argued that its misleadingness makes watching the film even more pleasant, it is also that kind of trailer that makes Hercules look like a pompous epic and put people like me off. If and when you come across this trailer you should remember that Brett Ratner is rather a professional fun films maker and Hercules fits his repertoire.

Basing it on a comic by Steve Moore rather than the Greek Myth, writers Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos and director Brett Ratner take the grand out of the epic and bring in the fun. Unlike the trailer suggests the film doesn’t take itself too seriously and the general feeling is that everyone involved really enjoyed themselves.

Dwayne Johnson’s (I had no idea this was The Rock’s name until recently, I hang my head in shame) Hercules is more gritty than I expected and yet, despite the tragedy in his life both Hercules the character and the film steer away from the realistic grit and grim that has been the trend of lately. Instead, Hercules is a fun, funny, pacey and cheerful adventure/war film with some awesome action.

Is Hercules the son of Zeus or is he a demigod? Were the twelve labours real or simply a good story that help raise the prices of Hercules' services as a sword for hire? In the end, as Amphiaraus, quite charmingly played by Ian McShane, says it doesn’t really matter, whatever works for you. Speculating on Hercules’ heroic swashbuckling, however, makes for gorgeous CGI used ironically given that these stories are revealed as a selling tactic. The actual fights are good ol’ hand to hand or hand to arrow combats with little CGI, and they are excellent.

Johnson is, as always, great to watch, even if he is a tad more serious than his usual self, like he is in this film, but only a tad really as post labours and somewhat cynical Hercules. His merry band of outcasts, which He has collected over the year and who follows him and fight with and for him, do not fall behind and make an excellent entourage for Hercs.

While I'd still not recommend watching it in 3D, at least there seem to have been some thought and some effort to make Hercules' 3D slightly less like a waste of our monies. Unlike Life of Pi, where the somewhat dubious visual achievement has nothing to do with its 3D-ness. Despite the OK 3D of it, Hercules does not merit a 3D viewing and one should condemn rather than support it.

3D aside, Hercules is a delight. Occasionally resonation 300, even when it slips into minor pathos, it avoids heftiness and always maintains its tongue in cheek mood. Now, I would love Ratner to make Hercules' twelve labours film!  

HERCULES OPENS IN THE UK ON 25TH OF JULY

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