[Screen It]


(1997) (Voices of Tate Donovan, James Woods) (G)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor Minor Moderate Moderate Minor
Minor None Mild None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Minor Minor Mild Moderate

Children's Animated: The son of Zeus must prove he's a hero to regain his place among the other gods on Mt. Olympus.
In Disney's version of the Greek myth, Zeus (voice of RIP TORN) has a son, Hercules, who is set to assume his place among the other gods of Mt. Olympus. Hades (voice of JAMES WOODS), the god of the underworld, however, has other plans for the infant. For he's been told by the three Fates that in eighteen years his bid to overthrow the other gods will be spoiled by Hercules. Thus, Hades sets out to make sure that doesn't happen and sends his henchmen, Pain (voice of BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT ) and Panic (voice of MATT FREWER), to "take care of" Hercules. They force feed him a formula that will make him mortal, but since he doesn't drink the very last drop, he retains his superhuman strength. Nonetheless, Zeus must still send his boy to Earth and years later Hercules (voice of TATE DONOVAN) is an outcast as a teen, and wants to find who he is and where he belongs. Thinking that Hercules is out of the picture, Hades plans his takeover, unaware that the boy has grown up and has gone to the temple of Zeus looking for answers and finds that he's the son of a god. Learning that he must perform heroic deeds if he wishes to rejoin his family on Mt. Olympus, Hercules sets off to find the great hero trainer, Phil (voice of DANNY DEVITO), a satyr who must not only train Hercules, but must keep him in check when he falls in love with Meg (voice of SUSAN EGAN), a woman who's trying to reclaim her soul she sold to Hades. As Hercules tries to prove his hero status, he must deal with Meg and with Hades' attempts at overthrowing the reigning powers on Mt. Olympus.
More than likely the answer is yes.
For not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
  • Of course all of the characters are cartoons, so their status as role models probably isn't that strong.
  • Hercules is a young, and often over zealous teen who wants to find out who he is and where he belongs and then tries very hard to prove that he's a hero.
  • Hades is the god of the underworld, the keeper of lost souls, and wants to overthrow the reigning gods. Therefore, he's not a good role model.


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    Returning to a more light-hearted approach than last year's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," Disney's latest animated feature is a moderately enjoyable time at the movies. This is not to say, however, that the film is anywhere up to the standards set by "Beauty & the Beast" or "The Lion King," as both the animation and song selections are sub-par compared to recent efforts. Looking more like the animation style used in "The Little Mermaid" or other recent non-Disney films, "Hercules" looks flat and lacks the pizzaz found in their later films. Conspicuously absent are the heavily detailed computer backgrounds that made "Lion King" and "Hunchback" visually stunning. While the included songs are competent enough, very few are outstanding and you'll be hard pressed to find yourself humming one of them after you've left the theater. The best songs, however, come from a group of Muses that jump from their Grecian vases and deliver their narrative in a Motown style. Still, there are some joys present in the production, most notably James Woods' over-the-top take on the Hades character. Mixing comedic rage, sarcasm and the delivery of an old-style Vegas standup comic, Woods creates a memorable character that's a hoot to watch. The lead character, Hercules, comes across as just another variation on Aladdin (a young, confused and often overzealous teen), but is enjoyable enough to keep the movie flowing along. That holds true for Danny DeVito's take on the "Rocky" style coach who must keep Hercules in training and in check and he provides a few laughs here and there. Speaking of laughs, once again there are two comic sidekicks, Pain and Panic, and while they provide some humor, they're weaker than other such duo's in Disney recent efforts. There are some clever moments for the adults, such as some kids in troubling telling the adults to dial "IX-I-I" (911 in Roman numerals), a quick visual involving the Scar character from "Lion King," and a surprisingly fun and self-deprecating take on Disney's own merchandising efforts. In our screening some kids enjoyed the movie while others seemed bored at times, so your children may fall into either camp. Not a stunning success or a failure by any means, "Hercules" comes across as a competent, but not tremendous, animated feature. We give it a 6 out of 10.
    Not as dark or as mature-based as last year's "Hunchback of Notre Dame," this film takes a less serious and more fun approach. Still, there are some scenes that may be scary or unsettling for younger viewers. Those obviously involve scenes dealing with Hades and the underworld. Hades' appearance by itself should be scary, but Wood's standup comic delivery diffuses quite a bit of that. Scenes showing bodies (actually souls) floating along in the River of Death will probably confuse or scare some kids, and several of the monsters that Hercules battles might scare them as well. Some humor is derived from people being hit and/or hurt, but none of it has seemingly lasting effects. In addition, as in most other Disney films, most of the women are drawn as either buxom, slender-waisted, attractive women, or as short, obese characters. Since many children will want to see this film, you should first examine the content to make sure that it's appropriate for them.

  • Several of the gods are briefly seen drinking at the beginning of the movie and celebrate with what appears to be wine at the end.
  • Hades drinks a martini.
  • Though not really bloody nor gory, the three lady fates share an eyeball that is passed back and forth between them.
  • Hercules cuts off a Hydra's head (from the inside) and comes out covered in some sort of goo.
  • Hades, and his henchmen, Pain and Panic, have both as they attempt to overthrow the other gods and try to kill Hercules as an infant and later as an adult in the process.
  • Meg tries to reclaim her soul from Hades and thus acts attracted to Hercules in a deceitful way to win it back.
  • The town's other boys aren't nice to young Hercules, nor are the townspeople who see him as a "bull in a china shop" and want nothing to do with him.
  • Women are occasionally referred to as "Sweet Cheeks" and "Babe."
  • Hades' underworld may be somewhat scary looking for younger kids. Slowly traveling down the River of Death they see people's souls float by in the water, and some menacing looking creatures and some skeletons may be frightening as well.
  • Hercules encounters a glowing set of eyes and huge, sharp teeth in a cave that belong to a gargantuan dragon-like creature (a Hydra) that attacks him. He barely eludes it for a few moments, until it swallows him whole. He then cuts its head off from the inside, but three heads grow back in its place. Moments and several heads later, Hercules finds himself surrounded by scores of heads and this whole sequence may be somewhat scary for very young children.
  • Hades unleashes his titans and these huge, menacing-looking creatures may be scary to some kids.
  • Hercules goes to save Meg's soul and the sight of bodies (souls) sinking in a whirlpool may be unsettling to some younger kids. In addition, it's mentioned that Hercules probably won't survive swimming through this river of death and he does get old and feeble-looking while trying to save her.
  • Sword and the occasional bow and arrow: Used by Hercules to defend himself and to kill several creatures.
  • Phrases: "Lighten up, dude," "Suckers," "Geek," "Jerk-ules," "Freak," "Bums," "Sweet cheeks" and "Babe" (toward a woman), "Numbskull," "Wackos" and "Nuts" (for crazy), "Pea brain," "Shut up," "Geez," and "Chump."
  • Kids may try to perform heroic deeds like Hercules.
  • None.
  • There are a few scenes with mild amounts of suspenseful music in them.
  • None.
  • 1 use each of "Oh God" and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • Phil briefly comments about how the nymphs can't keep their hands off of him (but nothing's seen).
  • Meg is somewhat of a sultry woman who flirts with the men and walks with a swing in her hips, and mentions that men always think that "no means yes." Hades later mentions that perhaps he hasn't been throwing the "right curves" at Hercules, implying he'll use Meg's physical appearance to sidetrack him. She later mentions that her "sea of raging hormones has ebbed" toward Hercules, but she does try to come on to him (according to her deal with Hades of getting her soul back), but he's too shy around her for anything to happen.
  • Hades briefly smokes a cigar.
  • Zeus and family must briefly deal with their infant son being stolen away.
  • Polytheism and ancient Greece.
  • Children's feelings of isolation and "not belonging." Hercules feels this way as a young teen and Meg states that it's better to be alone, "that way nobody can hurt you."
  • What a true hero is.
  • Most of the women in this production are displayed as either big breasted and slim- waisted, or overweight.
  • The scenes listed in "Frightening/Tense Scenes" that may be upsetting to younger children.
  • Baby Hercules head-butts his horse, Pegasus, when he first sees him, and the flying horse returns the head-butt later on.
  • Hades strikes down two souls who try to climb from the River of Death up into his boat.
  • Hades says, "Memo to me: Maim you after my meeting" (referring to Pain and Panic).
  • There are several scenes where characters are hurt, but not intentionally by others (Pain falling down some stairs and impaling himself on a pitchfork, Hercules running into things, etc...).
  • Hades wonders how one goes about killing a god, and sends Pain and Panic off to do the deed (by making Hercules mortal). Later, Panic says, "Let's just kill the kid and get it over with," and they force feed the baby a formula to make him mortal (other than that it doesn't appear to harm the baby).
  • There are a great many scenes where characters are hit by others but suffer no apparent lasting harmful effects (Hercules as a baby thrashes two snakes that are really Pain and Panic, Hades often strikes or strangles Pain and Panic, a painter slams his palette onto Phil's head, etc...)
  • Hercules accidentally knocks over a pillar that ends up destroying an entire temple site.
  • A nymph smacks Phil after he mentions that they can't keep their hands off of him.
  • Phil is hit by a lightning bolt and is charred, but moments later is okay.
  • Many punches are thrown in a fight between Hercules and a Minotaur (a half horse, half man creature). Their bodies are knocked long distances from the punches and from a head-butt used by Hercules.
  • Phil head-butts a man and then beats him up after the man makes a comment about Phil's past "coaching" failures.
  • Hercules encounters a glowing set of eyes and huge, sharp teeth in a cave that belong to a gargantuan dragon-like creature (a Hydra) that attacks him. He barely eludes it for a few moments, until it swallows him whole. He then cuts its head off from the inside, but three heads grow back in its place. Moments and several heads later, Hercules finds himself surrounded by scores of heads, that he finally kills with a huge rockslide.
  • Hades unleashes his titans and these huge, menacing-looking creatures wreak havoc on Greece. They step on villages, burn things with fire, freeze horses with ice and blow things around with a big tornado. While no one is seen being hurt, it's inferred that people must have been. Zeus and his gods then fight the titans and a great deal of structural damage is done to buildings and temples.
  • A stone pillar lands on Meg, fatally wounding her (but her soul is later saved by Hercules).
  • Hercules punches Hades several times.

  • Reviewed June 24, 1997

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Collateral Beauty] [La La Land] [Manchester By The Sea] [Rogue One: A Star Wars Story]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2018 Screen It, Inc.