The story is based on the Greek myths of Hercules, but Disney tweaks it a bit. The most noticeable difference being that instead of Hercules being a demigod, he is born a full god to Zeus and Hera and reduced to being a mortal with super strength by Hades. Aside from this though, it's fun to see all of the little references to Greek mythology that they throw in. Knowing nothing about it in 1997, it's not surprising that I missed a lot of the jokes. This time around, I got them - cheesy as they were sometimes.
Hercules himself is pretty endearing, especially since we first see him as a super clumsy kid that no one really likes. He's your typical, always trying to do what's right hero, and is unbelievably honest and naive. The more interesting character, however, is Meg, who from the get-go is not very likable at all. Hercules falls for her at first sight, but it's pretty clear to the audience that she's playing him. She's got a bit of an attitude and is by no means the "come rescue me, hero" type of girl - she only pretends to be. Her attitude is more negative and she's not your typical Disney princess. She almost seems like a bad guy at first because she's serving Hades. However, it's later revealed that she sold her soul to save her boyfriend's life. She acts super tough but really she has a heart.
Even though said boyfriend then walked out on her, she was still stuck with Hades. Obviously these circumstances made her bitter and not such a big fan of love. But Hercules manages to bring out the love in her with his innocence and goodness... yay.
One more comment about Meg. I realize that they were going for imitating Greek art and all that, but if Barbie is considered disproportionate with her wide hips and small waist, what would Meg be considered?
Also, I liked the ending of Hercules. It was somewhat clever, and though it was very, very close, everyone lived happily ever after. My favorite kind! Same style of ending as Beauty and the Beast.
The music in Hercules is okay. It's not fantastic but it's not terrible either. I like the gospel style music, but the stuff sung by the five women seems more like narration/filler than actual songs. Phil's song is cute, but nothing special. Hercules' big song, "Go the Distance," which everybody loves, really does nothing for me. I personally find it pretty boring and sappy. The only song that I really like from the soundtrack is Meg's, "I Won't Say (I'm in Love)". Surprisingly, Hades does not get a song.
Speaking of Hades... he kind of has a lot to live up to, given that he's already established as an evil villain in mythology. It's kind of surprising to see Hades as a fast talking comedian rather than the epitome of evil, but I kind of like it. He's still pretty darn evil, effectively planning to take over the world and not giving a damn about what he has to do to anyone else to get to the top. He is completely ruthless. Perhaps he's not quite up to Jafar standards, but he's definitely up there on the evil meter.
The Disney World Connection
Hercules and friends are not well represented in WDW. Apparently both Hercules and Hades make an appearance in Disney's Fantasmic! show. Hercules can also be found around the parks for pictures and autographs.
My rating: 8 out of 10
Jason's rating: 9 out of 10