Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I saw Hercules ...

I saw Hercules...Renny Harlin's "The Legend of Hercules" with Kellan Lutz in the lead, that is, and though anything but a critics' favorite, I personally thought it hit the spot. So there, I admitted it. Sue me.

As a bloody rule of thumb, critics have never liked sword-and-sandal pictures, not the original, classic Steve Reeves "Hercules" or "Hercules Unchained", not the Reg Park epics that followed or the cultish Lou Ferrigno entries or the Sam Raimi/Kevin Sorbo "Legendary Journeys", let alone any of those that were in-between, or perhaps weren't even true Herc films at all, but just became such through clever dubbing.

Heck, now that I think about it, many renowned snobs have amazingly downplayed the masterful luster of even Harryhausen's "Jason and the Argonauts", which features (what do ya know?) good ol' Herc, or the Hallmark Paul Telfer mini-series of recent years that so boldly touched upon some of the actual harsh parts of the original mythology.

I could go on and on here, but my point is, I like this superheroic, mythological stuff. These sorts of films aren't generally profound or cinematic groundbreakers. They don't have to be. I appreciate that they merely offer a form of escapism, honorably distinguishing themselves from so many of those gosh-awful indie films,with their mushy, pretentious essays on relationships or worse yet, those that insensitively paint average working guys/gals as hopeless, misguided nit-wits. I've had my fill of that sort of crap--yes, crap that the critics so readily embrace. Well, pardon my French, but screw 'em one and all.

The new Herc has elements of "Gladiator" and Starz's "Spartacus" in it, feels a bit like the "Clash of the TItans" remake at times (and therefore, "Wrath of..."), though alas, without the glorious monsters, and it's basically a story about the son of Zeus getting stuck in an unfortunate situation (as will often happen, to varying degrees, to folks in real life). As should come as no surprise, our hero manages to kick butt to remedy his predicament (something that folks in real life don't often manage, but sure as hell would like to accomplish), and by gosh, by golly, I found the sincere simplicity of it ever so inspiring.

That "Legend of..." won't win any Oscars is a major plus in its favor. That some folks will snub it because it's not the in-thing is probably even more reason for me to support it. Also, that the critics will soon condemn the upcoming Dwayne Johnson Herc is just par for the course, and upon its release, I'll undoubtedly end up declaring, here we go again. So be it.

Anyway, it was cool to see a new theatrical Herc: good, bad or otherwise. Now that I think about it, I bet this one would play most effectively on a drive-in theater screen, just like the Reeves and Park movies generally did. Nonetheless, I saw the film in a flat format (not 3-D) at a local theater complex,and even that's okay with me. Despite it all, for about an hour-forty minutes, I was enthralled and didn't come away feeling down in the dumps the way I probably would have if I had seen something that was supposed to be good for me. That's more than enough for me to exclaim, Hip, Hip, Hooray! Long live "The Legend of Hercules"!!! I wholeheartedly intend to see it again and without an ounce of apology.

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