The classic Greek myth of super-strong Hercules gets the Disney animated treatment, and while it’s not among the studio’s best, it’s nonetheless a fun adventure. Hercules (Donovan) is the son of god Zeus (Rip Torn). He’s born immortal but sent to live on earth as a human and to battle terrible monsters like the Hydra, the Cyclops and the Titans.
For adults, the most interesting elements here are the characters, based on the drawings of Gerald Scarfe, and the digs at merchandising – when Hercules becomes a hero, Herculade, air-Hercs and a Hercules doll (‘you know you’re a real hero when you get your own action figure’) go on sale. Kids, meanwhile, will enjoy the movie’s humour and the scary-but-not-too-scary bits, such as the arrival of Hades, the God of the Underworld (as voiced by Woods), whose flaming hair changes colour depending on how mad he is, and the monsters who use fire and ice to destroy the earth. It’s cheerful nonsense (the Greek legend isn’t adhered to too closely, for starters), packed with fun and songs performed by the muses, a soulful group of gals who perform like animated Supremes. A TV series followed, and a feature, Hercules: Zero to Hero, which is actually three episodes put together.
Is Hercules suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Young viewers may find the Underworld, and Hades himself, quite scary.