Film Corner: Hercules Reborn

Tonight's movie is from 2014 and it's called HERCULES REBORN. "When a young man's bride is kidnapped by an evil king, he turns to Hercules for help. The fallen hero has been living in exile, banished for killing his family, but the young man's courage inspires Hercules. Together, they fight to rescue the bride and reclaim Hercules' honor."

....2014 was also the year The Rock released his Hercules movie to lukewarm response, so I'm wondering if this was rushed out to milk the name recognition.

[TW: Violence] Wow, we start right off with Hercules killing Megara and the kids, so that's pretty sad.

10 years later, two cute boys in dresses fight. Nice to see a movie eschew trousers. One of the boys is engaged to Not Amanda Seyfried. Their commander (king?) seems unsettled by the engagement reveal.

The General is now urging a foreign king and queen to invade, on the grounds that there's gold in them thar hills. The royals are like, actually we're rich enough already and gold can't buy lost honor. Huh. Actually, I think those were the General's local king and queen and he was encouraging them to invade somewhere else, sorry. I got the wrong impression that they weren't HIS king and queen because of how rude he was. My bad. Apparently you can just sass your king as much as you want without fear of demotion now.

General is now creepily lurking in the background while Amanda and her fiance (recently-promoted-to-captain) virginally swoon at each other. General is...taking the army to war against the king. They're really ready for this whole insurrection thing. Captain wakes up and tells Amanda to flee while he goes and defends the city. I don't think he knows yet that it's a rebellion.

AMANDA'S PARENTS ARE THE KING AND QUEEN?!?! I really feel like that should've been mentioned a little earlier, movie!!!! Good lord, everyone has been so CASUAL about her. Teasing her and asking her if she's pregnant yet. And she's a princess. I know it's ancient Greece and not, like, regency England, but.

Captain and his Best Friend we're apparently the only people in the army NOT informed that today was rebellion day. I'm kinda impressed how easily they started killing their own men. I mean, it's in defense of civilians, but still. That's a quick emotional adjustment.

Princess has gotten herself captured by the General. I take issue with the "evil king" description in the Amazon write up. Captain is ready to bail on the city and go find Hercules for help. I...feel like we skipped some scenes here. He's really accepting of the city being lost for now. "Yeah, my girlfriend is being held captive by a guy who is definitely going to hurt her, but I'm gonna head out and find someone people believe is just a myth." Like??? Well, ok.

General has publicly killed the one guy willing to rat out the rebellion, which honestly seems *incredibly* short sighted. Is that on the Evil Overlord list? NOT executing people willing to help you? It should be. Ok, so incredibly quick recap: An evil General killed his king and queen for being honorable pacifists, and is holding the Princess captive. Her Boyfriend has fled to find Hercules. I'm going to try to limp to the kitchen and get some food.

Why do soldiers in every low budget Greece movie look like Roman centurians in leftover Passion play costumes never mind I answered my own question. Boyfriend is already at Hercules' city. Amazing. Usually there's, like, a harrowing journey and things happen to hamper the hero's progress.

Why does the hero's childhood best friend always seem like he's in danger of humping the nearest chair because he's JUST. SO. HORNY. They're having an I Am Spartacus moment with joyous drunkards claiming to be Hercules. Yeah, he's really in exiled disgrace over his whole family murdering thing, one of the literal worst crimes in his culture. *eyeroll*

[TW: Violence] There's a domestic violence scene where the General tells the Princess "I will not hurt you" and she immediately bites him and he backhands her. Weirdly, I kinda like the scene just because it juxtapositions how often that "reassurance" is a fucking lie.

Back at the tavern, Hercules gets himself thrown out. For reasons that must've been self evident to someone, Boyfriend and his soldiers take an interest in him. Oh, they want a guide to Hercules. How convenient that he is Hercules. This is a very efficiently paced movie. Hahaha, okay, amusingly they don't believe him. I wouldn't, either.

The General is now torturing random citizens for information about Boyfriend, but not Boyfriend's known associates or family. You'd think this guy would be more worried about rebellions, given that he came to power via one.

The General's troops have teleported to Hercules' city in order to capture Boyfriend. Impressive traveling times here. Hercules is saving them, despite having no real reason to. I guess he just wanted to get his kill quota in today? Oh, he just wanted them to believe he's definitely Hercules. Fair enough. Oh, Hercules has beef with the General. SECRET BEEF. How convenient.

[TW: Suicide] There's a fake suicide scene, but it's not real. The princess is taking good escape initiative. Good for her! She got a good stab in and got to relative safety.

Hercules has daddy issues, but honestly what son of Zeus didn't? Boyfriend's team is determined to alienate Hercules just because he's a drunkard. I'm really glad we had all this arguing instead of obstacles or plot.

The Princess has gotten herself captured again. Well, she had a good run. Like, on the one hand I feel bad complaining about a realistic depiction of a PTSD response to rape; but on the other hand, it's clearly here in order to damsel her, rather than to show us her journey as a character.

The General has hit upon the tried and true villain tactic of "I'll murder people until you do what I say" with the Princess. A problem with modern low budget fantasy adventure films like this one is that it's fundamentally cheaper to just film a lot of violence against women than to film giant scorpions or flying rocs.

Another problem is the absolutely terrible writing in which Boyfriend tries to convince Hercules "You're not a drunk! You're a warrior!" Has anyone in the history of addiction issues been helped by being told "your coping mechanism is shameful so we're going to pretend it doesn't exist!"?

You do have to admire the efficiency of a villain army who shows up the EXACT SECOND Hercules overcomes his personal problems. I still don't know what his personal problems are; apparently the writers thought it would be more dramatic if he wrestled with his inner demons privately and without viewer intrusion.

I mean, obviously there's the "killed his wife and kids" thing, but we literally have not talked about that. Was it Hera? Something to do with the General and their mysterious shared past? The drama is better when WE DON'T KNOW. It's like Brockian Ultra Cricket and if you get that reference we are now best friends, I don't make the rules.

I love how every modern depiction of Hercules is like, What if--oh my god this is SO EDGY of us--what if Hercules isn't REALLY the son of a god but people just SAID he was because he's good at fighting. MIND BLOWN.

Oh my god.

I can't breathe. They're trying to sneak into the city as POTATO merchants. Help. Help me. The ruse doesn't work because they have no potatoes, only stones, ON ACCOUNT OF POTATOES NOT EXISTING IN ANCIENT GREECE.

Boyfriend's troops are like "shit, a whole army? maybe we should leave again and bring back more than Hercules" and like....they knew it was a whole army going into this thing? Ok. The General's Dragon (second in command, not actual dragon) has shown up to challenge Hercules and this would probably be more dramatic if he'd been characterized at some point. Hercules surrenders in order to get inside the "impenetrable" palace walls and I call foul!! This is an Odysseus plan, not a Hercules plan! A Hercules plan would be to capture a super strong lion or bull and use it to ram the walls down.

The General had Hercules turn against Megara, using... "a potion brewed by a shaman of the Goddess Hara." That's how he says it and how it's captioned. I honestly don't know if they mean Hera or if they mean something else. And if you want Hercules to not be Zeus' son, it no longer makes any sense that Hera would turn him against his wife and children. Her whole thing is families (and not mistresses).

The General has....extra potion left over??? Because???? They cut Hercules' throat and pour the potion in. That's not how.....stomachs or blood contamination works??? Hercules is attacking his friends because fuck you and your desire for movies to be driven by character development. MAGIC POISON.

Rioting villagers are taking care of that whole army problem. Turns out we didn't need Boyfriend or Hercules. Huh. Hercules breaks out of the poison trance because he loves Boyfriend as a brother. So canonically Hercules loves this guy he met yesterday MORE than he loved his wife and children?? I'm just gonna assume the potion was after its expiration date.

Princess is bound and gagged in the middle of a room, frantically shaking her head NO as Boyfriend approaches, and this fucker doesn't think to check his 6 for someone sneaking up behind him. I hope this boy is hung like a HORSE, because she's not marrying him for the smarts.

Hercules, Princess, and the villagers did all the work. Boyfriend didn't really do anything, but ok. Boyfriend asks Hercules to stay here where there's a job and a community that loves him. Hercules says no, he wants to find a job and a community that loves him. Y'all, I don't know.

Princess says he's making sense to HER, and he rides out on a white horse. THE END.


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