The 400-Word Review: The Legend of Hercules
By Sean Collier
January 13, 2014
And now, the seven biggest reasons that The Legend of Hercules, Renny Harlin’s inane 3D bastardization of Greek mythology, should be avoided at all costs:
1. It’s essentially an imitation of 300, only without any of the visual trickery or off-the-wall nonsense that made that film enjoyable. This is doubly stupid when considering that 300-starved audiences need only wait another two months for 300: Rise of an Empire.
2. It provides a thorough primer on everything not to do with 3D technology. Washed-out visuals are dimmed to eye-straining faintness, random objects are placed in front of the scene for perspective and arrows are fired directly at the camera. It’s the anti-Gravity.
3. Action films frequently rely on their casts to turn heads, but the producers of this Hercules neglected to hire a single recognizable star. The lead is Kellen Lutz, who you do not remember as the 16th or 17th most important character in the Twilight films. He is the alleged star here. That’s not quite going to draw a crowd.
4. Assuming that there are dedicated fans of Greek mythology who would be interested in a Hercules movie (and don’t mind the tales being reconfigured, corrupted and jammed into a three-act structure), those folks can probably wait it out for the July release of Hercules: The Thracian War. That film is a much higher-profile production, if nothing else, starring Dwayne Johnson as the hero. The Rock, unlike Lutz, is a movie star.
5. CGI technology and visual effects wizardry have advanced considerably in the last few years, as demonstrated by films like Pacific Rim, Gravity and Life of Pi. This is apparently news to the crew at Millennium Films, who open the action with Hercules fighting a computer-animated lion that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Nintendo 64. (On close-ups, the lion switches to an animatronic that wouldn’t have been out of place in Labyrinth.) One digitally-rendered desert caused my eyes to go wonky like I was looking at a Magic Eye painting.
6. Without getting buried in political muck, it’s hopelessly regressive and misogynist, playing on tropes that were tired in the 1980s.
7. It’s simply not any good. What little action there is appears with so little style that it’s plain dull, and the story makes the pedestrian nonsense of flicks like Clash of the Titans seem intriguing by comparison. The Legend of Hercules is a movie for no one, made badly.
My Rating: 2/10
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark