HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Hercules 3D
HTS Overall Score:83
This year seems to be saturated with sword and sandal films, and most of them are about Hercules himself for some reason. I was mildly (emphasis on the world “mildly”) entertained by “The Legend of Hercules”, but was really intrigued when I saw that “The Rock” was planning his own whirl at the famous demigod. Who else besides the Rock COULD play him well? As Hercules is supposed to be a man of gigantic proportions and with incredible charisma. Check box one, and check box two seem to be complete, and with the trailer showing Hercules crushing a giant house sized boar with an oversized club, I was immediately in line for tickets to the theater. Ironically much of what’s in the trailer is ALL in first 10 minutes of the movie, with the rest of the 98 minute runtime dealing with a completely different plot device.
Derived from the graphic novel, “The Thracian Wars”, the tale is about Hercules and his band of mercenary misfits taking on a mission to get the Thracian people up to speed against a legendary enemy. This band of misfits includes older and wiser soldier/prophet Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Amazonian warrior Atalanta (Ingrid Berdal), Smart mouthed swordsman Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), mute savage Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), and of course the man with the gift of gab, Hercules younger nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchi). Set after Hercules has concluded his 12 trials, and after the death of his wife and son, the motley crew are taking money from the highest bidder, and unfortunately for them, this bidder turns out to be more than they bargained for. Originally just a simple job of training the Thracian military to fight against a ruthless enemy, the game changes quickly as friend becomes foe, and the enemy is not who they appear to be. Hercules has to not only defeat this legendary enemy, but the demons haunting his soul over the death of his wife and child, transforming him from a man behind the legend, into the legend itself.
“Hercules” runs a fine line with the demigod attribute of the legend, making it seem like Hercules is just a man at times. A man with incredible power and utilizing trickery to puff himself up in to a legend of overblown proportions. Then you look at some of the moves he pulls off and Ratner teases with the idea that “maybe Hercules really IS born of godhood”? Even at the very end that carrot is still dangling in frot of the viewer, having them double check the movie to see just WHERE that turning point is where you actually KNOW if he is or not. At first I was a bit frustrated by it, but as the story goes on it really allows the viewer to decide for themselves whether he has some supernatural power or not. It never comes out and tells you, but gives you JUUUUUUUUUUUUUST enough to make the decision for yourself, and have neither side’s opinion be wrong.
Now the plotline itself is nothing new, it’s your classic double cross tale set in ancient Greece. Nothing new is there and nothing new is taken away, as you’re really there for only one thing. To see Hercules smash things with a huge club, and that we have in spades. The action sequences are quick and neatly paced, with much less quick cuts than I would have expected in this era of film making. The sidekicks are just as fun as Hercules himself, as Ian McShane subtly adds some dry humor to the story and Rufus Sewell’s smart mouthed warrior comes off as a lot of fun. Personally I don’t think anyone can match the Iolaus of the Kevin Sorbo age, but Reece Ritchie does a decent job. The rest of the cast is fairly throwaway and cookie cutter in nature, but John Hurt is so deliciously evil and sociopathic that you just can’t wait until he has his much due comeuppance.
For some strange reason, the huge bushy beard The Rock was sporting kind of weirded me out. It wasn’t so much that he HAD facial hair, as I’ve seen it before, but the full bushy beard was kind of strange on his face. I guess they wanted to differentiate from the Rock of old and give him a new look for a period piece. Interestingly enough He’s actually looking BIGGER than he did in “Fast 6” (albeit covered up in armor most of the time) and he literally towers head and shoulders over all the other actors, giving him a very herculean look. I WAS a bit disappointed by the “I AM HERCULES” yell, being that all the producers and directors and Dwayne himself had hyped up how legendary it was, but I have to say, the only reason you’re going to be seeing this movie is to watch The Rock smash things with a club and don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed.
Rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences, violence, suggestive comments, brief strong language and partial nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=31761[/img]“Hercules” comes to us from Paramount with a fantastic 2.40:1 AVC encoded transfer. Colors lean towards very earth browns and has that golden color grading to it, giving the film a very period piece feel and texture to it. Still there are plenty of other colors to go around, from the green of the savage village people’s body paint, to the elaborate burnished reds of the Thracian army uniforms and the whites and purples of the royal robes. Detail is fantastic as you can see every crease and wrinkle on John Hurt’s face and even the stretch marks on the Rock’s (I still can’t call him Dwayne Johnson. In my mind he’s still “The Rock”) upper shoulders and neck from his massive muscle gain over the years. Contrast is very nice, and never boosted or lacking in any scenes, and the black levels are nice and inky. I looked and couldn’t notice any compression artifacts at all, whether it be simple macroblocking or digital manipulation by the studios. Except for some very minor soft spots in a couple of scenes, this entire transfer is reference from beginning to end.
The 3D presentation is a generally pleasing experience for a converted 3D image, albeit with a VERY slightly dimmer presentation due to the addition of the glasses. The foreground shows a lot of layering, with multiple layers going back to the background in descending sequence. Strangely enough the foreground characters look a little flat and 2 dimeniononal, even though they are popped straight into the viewer’s eyes at most times. What really shines here is the inanimate objects that are turned 3D. The dust and debris kicked up from the battlefield looks awe inspiring and as it adds a huge layer of depth to the picture, and the weapons have some awesome pop out moments. If the characters themselves had shown a bit more three dimensionality I would have given it a bit more props, as that is the disappointing piece of the 3D puzzle, but the image itself looks impeccable otherwise.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=31769[/img]A few months ago it was announced that “Hercules” would come with a Dolby Atmos track via the original press release from Paramount, but it has arrived with a new press release that advertised a 7.1 DTS-HD MA track, and that 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is what we have on the disc today. From my diggings in to it Paramount has answered back that Atmos will be coming for other release, but this one wasn’t able to have it on the disc for an undisclosed reason. Still, for those of you who aren’t banking on Atmos this is one incredible track, filled with raw throbbing power and kind of aggressive nature you’ve come to love with an action track. The surrounds blend seamlessly with the front sound stage, giving a 360 degree field of immersion makes the sound nerd in me giggle with pure joy. The dialogue is never drowned out by the aggressive sound mix, but comes through with crystal clarity, and the LFE is right there in the front row, pounding away mercilessly. It’s never that overpowering LFE like Godzilla, but it’s blended in with the track so seamlessly that there is no room for complain. It’s a top notch sound track and despite the exclusion of Atmos that we may have been waiting for, it is not going to disappoint one bit.
• Brett Ratner & Dwayne Johnson: An introduction
• Hercules and his mercenaries
• The Bessi Battle
• The effects of Hercules
• 15 deleted/extended scene including an alternate ending
• Extended Cut
I had fun time with “Hercules”, as it was LEAGUES better than the poor “Legend of Hercules”, and the Rock never fails to deliver when he’s in full action mode. I mean, who DOESN’T want to see a highly muscled 6,6 character smash things with his bare hands or a club the size of most small trees? It’s pure popcorn entertainment at the core and revels in the knowledge that it doesn’t try to be more than it is. There’s lots of action, and John Hurt is magnificent at playing a creep of a villain. The audio and video will make us home theater buffs drool so I definitely give it my recommendation for a watch if you can enjoy a nice “check your brain at the door” popcorn film.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jon Hurt, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Written by: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Runtime: 98 minutes / 102 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date:
Buy Hercules 3D combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Hercules 2D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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