(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules. The song "A Star is Born" plays throughout)
Doug (vo): All right, so Pocahontas was sort of the beginning of the downfall of people’s interests in Disney animated movies. Hunchback didn’t exactly help. Hercules fucking killed it. This is one of the most confusing, oddly put together...I don’t even want to say Disney films, just films in general. The choices they make to tell this story or stories is just so mind-boggling. Nothing about it makes sense. It’s sort of like the Mad Libs of Disney films. The musical accompaniment is going to be...gospel. Okay. The designer of the movie is going to be...Scarfe, the guy who did The Wall. Okay. The look and tone of the movie is going to be...Las Vegas. I...what? And the singer of the main song is going to be...Michael Bolton. Oh, you are dead to me, movie. Yeah, I don’t know what the mindset was. Maybe they just wanted to try something so different to sort of get them out of the ditch, but, man, does it backfire. Okay, well, let’s talk about the story.
Doug (vo): It’s Greek mythology. You got all the gods up on Mount Olympus, and Zeus is happy because of the birth of his son Hercules. But Lord Hades, the ruler of the Underworld, wants to see his son get destroyed because he’s apparently gonna stop him from taking over everything in the future. So he gives him a potion that takes away his godly powers...that’s interesting...and much like Superman, Hercules is raised among people. But again, just like Superman, he finds out that his father is a god among men and that he himself has supernatural powers. And just like Superman, he goes to save the day wherever he can with his incredible strength. And just like Superman...you see a pattern here?...he falls in love with a snarky woman who constantly has to be saved. But once Hades finds out that Hercules is alive, he tries to use the woman, named Megara, to seduce him and take away his powers. Hades uses her as bait to try and get him to lure his powers away, and that’s exactly what he does, leaving Hades to take over the land and Hercules to try and stop him however he can.
Doug (vo): I guess, in many respects, the comparisons to superheroes shouldn’t shock me. I mean, it is sort of where the origin of superheroes came from, Greek mythology. But like I said, it’s the choices they make and the way they tell the story that just really makes it odd. Hercules is not very interesting, we’ve seen this idiot before. He’s not very bright, but he’s got a good heart. He’ll fall for whatever stupid plan you put in front of him, but gosh, he’s just so wide-eyed you can’t help but feel sorry for him. Megara is sassy, but that’s about it. There’s not really much to her after that. Yeah, they try to give her a past, but she’s still not that interesting. She’s just a few one-liners and a sneer. And speaking of which, that’s exactly what the teacher is, too. Danny DeVito plays...Danny DeVito. Yeah, he’s the trainer, he’s Mickey from the Rocky movies and, again, there’s nothing new to him, except for the fact that it’s in Greek mythology, but why would we want to see that?
[The film's villain, Hades, is shown]
Doug (vo): The only thing that’s kind of entertaining is James Woods as Hades, because, well, again, it’s one of the weird odd choices that I guess sort of works to its advantage. I mean, how strange that this guy doesn’t talk like a traditional villain, he talks much more like a lawyer or an agent.
Hades: So I would be eternally grateful if you would just take a day off. We dance, we kiss, we schmooze, we carry on, we go home happy. What do you say? Come on.
Doug (vo): He’s funny, but he’s not enough to save the movie. And all the other side characters are just totally forgettable. I love Scarfe’s work, but here, it’s really not used well. In something like The Wall, it really shines because his work is so different and strange. In a movie about Greek mythology, maybe it could work, but not the way they’re telling it. This isn’t Greek mythology, this is the Excalibur Casino telling you the story of Greek mythology. The songs? I don’t remember even one. I barely even remember parts where they did sing. So what were they thinking when they put this together? The only thing I can contemplate is that maybe they were trying to go for something similar to what they did with Aladdin. I mean, like I said before, Aladdin was sort of Arabia meets Vegas, but that worked because the colors were so good, the designs were so good, and there was still chemistry between the two main characters. It sort of knew who it was trying to please and it had enough of a broad scope to reach a general audience. This does not. Not to say that it doesn’t have its fans, I’m sure it does. But I don’t know. When you look at statues and sculptures of Hercules, and then you think Disney animation bringing that to life, this isn’t what I think of, which is fine if it was better or an entertaining alternative, but it’s really not.
Doug (vo): It’s clumsy, it’s flawed, the story is so recycled, the characters are so recycled, and not just from other Disney films, but other tired clichés as well. This is definitely one of my least favorites. Maybe if it wanted to go full force into a straight-up satire of the Hercules stories, which I’m not saying would necessarily work, but that’s the only way I can see these choices making sense. But when you still have to have a villain who’s intimidating, a hero who’s likable, a romance you’re supposed to believe, and, well, actual suspense in the climax, you can’t do this here and expect people to be that invested. Like I said, I hear it’s growing a bit of a fanbase, but I probably won’t be among them. It’s just a little too weird and clumsy.
[The ending scene of the song "A Star is Born" is shown]
Muses: Every night, a star is, rising high, a star is, burning bright, a star is born!