Hercules (2014 film)

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Hercules
The titular Hercules stands in a smokey and fiery space.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrett Ratner
Screenplay by
Based onHercules
by Steve Moore
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyDante Spinotti
Edited by
Music byFernando Velázquez
Production
companies
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 25, 2014 (2014-07-25)
Running time
98 minutes[6]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$100 million[7]
Box office$244.8 million[7]

Hercules is a 2014 American action-adventure fantasy film starring Dwayne Johnson as the titular character. It is directed by Brett Ratner from a screenplay written by Ryan J. Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos. The film also stars Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, and John Hurt. It is based on Steve Moore's graphic novel Hercules, specifically The Thracian Wars limited series.[8] The film follows Hercules, a self-proclaimed demigod, and his band of mercenaries as they are hired to lead the Thracian army against a warlord.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures, Hercules was released on July 25, 2014.[9][10] It was one of two Hollywood-studio Hercules films released in 2014, the other one being Lionsgate's The Legend of Hercules. The film became a box office success, earning $244 million on a $100 million budget and received mixed reviews from critics, with some praise for Johnson's performance and the action sequences, though the screenplay and plot received criticism.

Plot[edit]

King-turned-prophet Amphiaraus of Argos, thief Autolycus of Sparta, feral warrior Tydeus of Thebes, Amazon archer Atalanta of Scythia, and storyteller Iolaus of Athens comprise Hercules' band of mercenaries. Hercules is said to be the demigod son of Zeus, who completed the legendary Twelve Labors after being betrayed by Hera, who drove him insane and caused him to murder his wife and children during a visit to King Eurystheus. It remains unclear whether Hercules is truly the son of Zeus and many are skeptical of the claim as well as of the stories of his Twelve Labors. Despite this, Hercules displays unusual inhuman strength and nigh-unmatched skill in combat. He is also frequently haunted by the memory of the deaths of loved ones, as well as visions of Cerberus.

On the Macedonian Coast in Northern Greece in 358 BC, Hercules and his team are approached by Ergenia. Her father, King Cotys, wants Hercules to train the armies of Thrace to defend the kingdom from bloodthirsty warlord Rhesus. Hercules accepts after being offered his weight in gold, and the band is welcomed to Thrace by Cotys and General Sitacles, leader of the Thracian army. However, when Rhesus reaches Central Thrace, Cotys insists that Hercules lead the army into battle to defend the Bessi tribe there, despite Hercules's objections and the army's lack of training. However, they are too late as Rhesus' supposed sorcery has turned the Bessi against the Thracians. After the Bessi are defeated following a long and disastrous battle which results in at least half the Thracian forces being killed, Hercules and his allies properly train the army. When the training is complete, Hercules and Sitacles confront Rhesus' army before Mount Asticus. After an arduous battle, Hercules' side wins.

Rhesus is taken back to Thrace as a prisoner, where he is publicly humiliated. Taking pity, Hercules stops the townsfolk from throwing more objects at him. When Hercules mentions Rhesus' actions of burning down villages, Rhesus tells him it was not him or his army that committed those atrocities. Later, in the palace hall, Rhesus is chained up and left on display. Noticing that Ergenia has taken pity on him, Hercules confronts her and finds out Rhesus was telling the truth. He was merely retaliating against Cotys' attempts to expand his kingdom. Ergenia does not agree with Cotys's methods, but goes along out of fear, as her cruel father already poisoned her husband, the previous king. Furthermore, Cotys threatens her son Arius, the true heir to the throne.

After receiving their reward, the mercenaries are ready to leave, but Hercules decides to stay behind and stop Cotys. All but Autolycus choose to follow him. However, they are overpowered and captured by Sitacles and his men. While chained, Hercules is confronted by King Eurystheus, who is in league with Cotys. Eurystheus reveals that he drugged Hercules the night his family died, viewing him as a threat to his power. Hercules' family was actually killed by three wolves sent by Eurystheus, resulting in Hercules' constant hallucinations of Cerberus. When Cotys orders Ergenia to be executed for her betrayal, Hercules is encouraged by Amphiaraus to believe in himself. In a show of superhuman strength, Hercules breaks free of his chains, saving Ergenia and defeating the wolves single-handedly. Hercules releases the prisoners, including Rhesus, and then confronts Eurystheus, killing him and avenging his family; however, he is ambushed by Sitacles, who is then stabbed to death by Iolaus. Outside, Hercules and his forces battle Cotys' army. Arius is taken hostage, but rescued by Autolycus, who has decided to return to help his friends. In the ensuing battle, Tydeus is mortally wounded while protecting Arius, but fights on, slaughtering numerous soldiers until he falls; later dying in Hercules's arms. Again using inhuman strength, Hercules pushes a massive statue of Hera from its foundations and uses it to crush Cotys and many of his soldiers.

Impressed by this feat, the surviving soldiers bow to Hercules, recognizing him as a demigod. In the end, Arius takes the throne, with Ergenia at his side.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film is directed by Brett Ratner.[9] The producers are Beau Flynn, Barry Levine, and Ratner, with Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Ross Fanger, and Jesse Berger serving as executive producers.[8]

To prepare for the role, Johnson took on a grueling training routine, stating: "I trained and worked harder than ever for 8 months for this role. Lived alone and locked myself away (like a moody 260-lb. monk or 18st.8lbs in English) in Budapest for 6 months while filming. Goal was to completely transform into this character. Disappear in the role. Press journalist asked me today, with the mental and physical toll the role had on me, would I do it again? Not only would I do it again... I'd do it twice."[19]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Hercules grossed $72.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $172.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $244.8 million.[7]

In the United States, Hercules was released on July 25, 2014, at 3,595 theaters.[20] It grossed $11 million its opening day and $29 million in its opening weekend, finishing second at the box office behind fellow newcomer Lucy ($44 million).[21] Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo opined this was "not a particularly strong start" for Hercules given that "star Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's The Scorpion King opened to $36 million" in 2002.[22]

Hercules, described as "pumping some much-needed life into a lackluster summer at U.S. and Canadian theaters," did financially better than expected,[21] as it "topped the expectations of analysts by roughly $4 million" and beat out Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which was in its third weekend and finished third with $16.4 million."[23] Subers stated, "The fact that Hercules got close to $30 million is a testament to The Rock's ability to mobilize his massive fanbase."[24] Paramount Pictures jointly released the film with MGM; head of domestic marketing and distribution of Paramount Pictures, Megan Colligan, "credited Johnson's 'charisma' with helping drive the opening," and added that the opening weekend total is "exactly what [they] had hoped for."[21] The audience for Hercules was 58 percent male, with 64 percent over age 25.[24]

Outside North America, the film was released in 26 foreign markets in 3,364 locations and earned $28.7 million. Its best countries were Russian ($12 million from 930 theaters), Australia ($3.5 million from 222), Malaysia ($1.6 million from 110), Philippines ($1.2 million from 134), Taiwan ($1.2 million) and Singapore ($1.1 million from 27). Globally, it made $6 million from IMAX showings, including $2 million from 114 international screens.[25][26]

Critical response[edit]

Hercules received mixed reviews from critics; however, the general sentiment was that the film was a pleasant surprise.[21][27][28] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 58% based on 123 reviews, with an average rating of 5.4/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Hercules has Brett Ratner behind the cameras and Dwayne Johnson rocking the loincloth – and delivers exactly what any reasonable person reading that description might expect."[29] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 47 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[30] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Scott Foundas, chief film critic for Variety, wrote in a positive review that "It's a grandly staged, solidly entertaining, old-fashioned adventure movie that does something no other Hercules movie has quite done before: It cuts the mythical son of Zeus down to human size (or as human as you can get while still being played by Dwayne Johnson)". Foundas praised Ratner, stating that "in terms of sheer scale and craftsmanship, Hercules represents something of a quantum leap for Ratner" and that the action sequences are "coherent pieces [...] that build steadily in intensity." He concluded that "[Hercules's] strongest asset is surely Johnson, who continues to foster one of the most affable, guileless screen personas in movies today."[31]

Elizabeth Weitzman of New York Daily News stated, "It's fast-paced, funny, and packed with eye-popping action. The effects are impressive, but there are none bigger than the star Dwayne Johnson's massive powerful physique which perfectly suited the character and the large-scale movie." She added, "Johnson makes his entrance wearing a conquered lion's head and a loincloth skirt. The fact that he can pull this look off sets the tone for everything else to come."[32]

John DeFore of The Washington Post stated, "[The film] simply fails to exploit its assets: an amusing, revisionist take on the mythological strongman, and the charisma of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson."[33] Critic James Berardinelli said, "A big-budget misfire of a sizeable order, a visually busy but emotionally dead endeavor that wearies the viewer with endless computer generated special effects while failing to provide a scintilla of human interest."[34]

Accolades[edit]

The film was nominated for two Teen Choice Awards. Dwayne Johnson, was nominated in the category "Choice Summer Movie Star" and the film was nominated in the category "Choice Summer Movie".[35]

Home media[edit]

Hercules was released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on November 4, 2014, by Paramount Home Entertainment.[36]

Controversy[edit]

According to comic book writer Alan Moore, who was friends with Steve Moore (no relation), the author of the film's source material comic book Hercules, Steve wanted to have his name uncredited after finding out in his contract that he would not be consulted or paid for the film. However, following Steve's death, his name was credited anyway, which Alan believed was only done for publicity. Alan also criticized the film's expected alterations to the source material.[37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Hercules (2014)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "Hercules (DVD)". RatPac Entertainment. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  3. ^ "Hercules (Blu-ray)". RatPac Entertainment. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  4. ^ "THE ART AND MAKING OF HERCULES; Introduction by Brett Ratner". RatPac Entertainment.
  5. ^ "Hercules (2014)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  6. ^ "HERCULES (12A)". Paramount Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "Hercules (2014)". Box Office Mojo. July 25, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  8. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (January 15, 2013). "Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson's Hercules to Hit Theaters in August 2014". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Kit, Borys (March 21, 2013). "Ian McShane Joins Dwayne Johnson in 'Hercules' for MGM and Paramount (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  10. ^ Ford, Rebecca (February 26, 2013). "Hercules Release Date Moves to July 25, 2014". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  11. ^ "Hercules Official Trailer #1 (2014) – Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane Movie HD". YouTube. March 26, 2014. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (May 2, 2013). "Ingrid Bolsø Set to Battle with Dwayne Johnson in 'Hercules' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  13. ^ Reynolds, Simon (March 25, 2014). "Dwayne Johnson in first trailer for Hercules – watch". Digital Spy.
  14. ^ "[WATCH] 'Hercules' Trailer: The Rock is back in new preview". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  15. ^ "'Hercules' Adds 'Twilight' Actor to the Cast". Variety. June 26, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  16. ^ "Steve Peacocke bound for Hollywood, then home to Summer Bay – Home and Away – Official Site". Au.tv.yahoo.com. May 9, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  17. ^ "Twitter / BarbaraPalvin: Had an amazing day shooting". Twitter.com. September 16, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  18. ^ "Twitter / BrettRatner: So excited to have @barbarapalvin". Twitter.com. September 9, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  19. ^ "The Rock Opens Up About 'Hercules' Preparation | Muscle & Fitness". Muscleandfitness.com. March 19, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  20. ^ "Theater Counts for Week 30 of 2014". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  21. ^ a b c d Ronald Grover; Chris Michaud (July 27, 2014). "'Lucy,' 'Hercules' beat expectations at weekend box offices". Reuters. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  22. ^ "Weekend Report: 'Lucy' Wins Brain vs. Brawn Battle". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  23. ^ Cunningham, Todd (July 27, 2014). "Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy' Hammers 'Hercules' and The Rock at Box Office". The Wrap. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  24. ^ a b c Ray Subers (July 27, 2014). "Weekend Report: 'Lucy' Wins Brain vs. Brawn Battle". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  25. ^ Nancy Tartagloine (July 27, 2014). "UPDATE: Intl Box Office: 'Apes' Dawns In Latin America; 'Godzilla' Stomps Into Japan; 'Hercules' Shows $28.7M Muscles; 'Transformers' Passes $300M In China; More". Deadline.com.
  26. ^ Jeremy Kay (July 27, 2014). "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes surges to $54.8m international box office". screendaily.com.
  27. ^ Busch, Anita (July 21, 2014). "Box Office: 'Lucy' To Overpower 'Hercules' And 'Apes' This Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  28. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (July 24, 2014). "The Most Unexpected Quotes from 'Hercules' Reviews". The Wire. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  29. ^ "Hercules". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  30. ^ "Hercules Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  31. ^ Foundas, Scott. "Film Review: Hercules". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  32. ^ Weitzman, Elizabeth (July 25, 2014). "Hercules: movie review". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  33. ^ DeFore, John (July 25, 2014). "Brett Ratner's 'Hercules' is actually entertaining in places". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  34. ^ Berardinelli, James (July 25, 2014). "Hercules". ReelViews. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  35. ^ "Teen Choice Awards Nominees For 2014 Announced". The Huffington Post. June 18, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  36. ^ "Hercules 3D Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  37. ^ Hannah Means Shannon (July 17, 2014). "Alan Moore Calls For Boycott Of 'Wretched Film' Hercules On Behalf Of Friend Steve Moore". BleedingCool.com. Retrieved July 19, 2019.

External links[edit]