If you grew up in the U.S., you've probably seen Disney's rendition of the Hercules myth, and if you went through the American school system, you more than likely know a bit about Greek mythology and how Hercules fits into it. Director Renny Harlin has now put his spin on the Hercules story, crafting a 3D epic out of the classic myth.
Harlin didn’t really adhere to the actual myth, framing the film as an Oedipal story/ conquest/ revenge story/ inspire the people and take over the entire land story/ learn to have faith story/ coming of age story/ romance. He didn’t highlight Hercules’ infamous emotional extremes and libido, Hercules’ brother wasn’t his twin, and their relationship was completely different, the relationship between Hera and Hercules was not as unpleasant (to put it lightly) as Greek mythology describes, and much of the legends surrounding Hercules were left out. Hercules did kill the Nemean Lion in the film, but it wasn’t a part of the “Labors”; basically, the idea of Hercules as a mythic leader was co-opted into something more palatable and far, far less interesting for a mass audience. The acting was fine, with Twilight's Kellan Lutz portraying the title role, and the 3D was good, refraining from tacky displays of the technology. There was a gratuitous use of slow-motion during the fight scenes, but it did look kind of cool and didn't hurt the action, which was entertaining, as it should be. I feel like the movie could have been more epic, though; the rising action was a bit slow and the climax wasn't climatic enough and felt rushed.
The movie was a little underwhelming, seeing that the filmmakers behind it really missed a great opportunity, considering the wealth of mythology, to craft a more interesting story and characters; however, it was a satisfactory and gritty retelling of the famed Hercules myth – well, more so a reimagining of the famous Greek hero. Still not as good as the cartoon, though: the music didn't quite add up and appearances from a tame Hera and invisible Zeus are of course no match for the personality-rich Hades...