31 July 2008 | windypoplar
a mythic barrel of fun!
Hercules directed and written by Luigi Cozzi stars the great Lou Ferrigno as the title character and takes great liberties with his story. It's aimed squarely at kids, with its colorful characters and even more colorful special effects. What i liked about it was the steady pacing, the absolutely weird musical cues and Lou's solid, if perhaps too straight performance.
Forget all you know about Herc, this film stands on its own. Some of the old tale is here, baby Herc does crush snakes sent by his stepmother Hera and he does grow up peacefully not knowing why he's so strong. An early battle with a giant bear is well-shot. Lou certainly looks the part, unlike some other actors who tried and he isn't that bad with the dialog, which is very ripe.
In this version Herc's great love is Casseopeia, played by the very easy to look at Ingrid Andersson. I so wanted to get that veil off her face! Herc must win her hand by competing in a series of bizarre rites of Strong. Including the classic cleaning of the stables. Which is a great sequence using miniatures and super-imposition. Even the rocks look heavy and real for a change! Still Zeus, and at least one actor, Claudio Casselinni, was understated, wants the sides of good and evil to be balanced, so Herc and Cass are separated.
Not to fear, Herc soon hooks up with sorceress Circe, played by another beauty in a barely there outfit. She aid him in his celestial quest to conquer the evil of Thera and save Cass from being a virgin(!) sacrifice!
The set for Thera, the green isle of Atlantis actually, is one of the best I've seen outside of Star Wars: Episode IV, its truly a great work of lighting and miniature sets, complete with a flame-wielding colossus. Herc's great strength is no match for the witch Adriana (called Ariana in my version,) played by the buxom Sybil Danning, but his great heart is, he's loyal to Cass. This all leads to a duel with the evil King Minos, who wants science to rule the world at the expense of all emotion. Their duel with Herc wielding the sword of Zeus and Minos the fire sword of Atlantis is great. The finale is spectacular and I love Herc's ending line to the rescued Cass. and check her final outfit, wow! "How do I know you're really Casseopeia? Or are you Adriana is another form or Circe reborn?" She responds "I am all and none of them. I am the one who loves you!"
Cool movie, what I didn't like was the cheesy robots, they simply looked bad! Also why was Daedelus, the God who helps Minos, played by a woman? Some elements of the plot were confusing. Still this a great family adventure, the hero is great the girls are lovely and there is nothing objectionable save some light violence. If you're looking for a fun movie that doesn't require too much brain power, this is it!