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The late nineties continued to decline in success of Disney films. Hercules with a budget of 85 million dollars brought in 167 million. The lowest in the renaissance with the exception of Rescuers Down Under. Like Hunchback, Hercules took some liberties from the mythology and received a little bit of controversy for changing the literature.

Hercules as a story is interesting. It is more of a modern take on the myth while still being set in ancient times. The characters acting as celebrities and trainers and such really gives the movie an attitude other are missing. At the same time the humor in the film seems way over the top. Almost as if it isn't taking itself seriously enough to be subtle.

The animation is probably the most stylized since Sleeping Beauty. It has a feel that really sets it apart from those before it. It doesn't always work, but it definitely has a feel of its own. But the style of animation really brings attention to the difference in all the characters. There is a different color palette for the more heroic characters than the evil ones. Darker for evil, lighter for good, more color and less whites and blacks for the more human characters.

The characters are the brightest point of the movie. Hades is an interesting villain that feels very much like Scar from Lion King who is obsessed with power. Hercules is growing up and learning to deal with fame as well as his powers. Meg is by and far the best female lead in a Disney film yet. She straddles the line on good and evil in a very human way. 

The music is alright, a couple of good songs that help move the story along, but also some strange choices. The Muses work as a type of narrator through R&B music. This is a very bold choice that I felt did not work. It gave the movie a strange ultra modern feel that I thought took away from the experience.

As with the later Renaissance films this one has a lack of monetization. They tried at the time which they always do, but it did not really stick. No rides, rare to see a character at the parks, the music isn't often played, no iconic scenes, even the actors like Devito, Donovan, and Bobcat are basically forgotten.

This is a hodgepodge of hits and misses. They tried and succeeded at making this film stand out, but it does not stand out for the best reasons every time. In the end some of it worked, the animation and modern twists, some of it didn't, musical narration and over the top comedy. It makes it memorable, but not great. In any other era of Disney films I would be talking about how good it is, but for the Renaissance, it falls a little short.

Run Time – 93 Minutes

70th Academy Awards – 1 Nomination – 0 Wins

Best Original Song – "Go the Distance" - Nominated

Disney Animated Canon so far in order of Quality

1. Beauty and the Beast 9-29-1991

2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 6-21-1996

3. Lady and the Tramp 6-22-1955

4. Aladdin 11-25-1992

5. Peter Pan 2-5-1953

6. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 3-11-1977

7. One Hundred and One Dalmatians 1-25-1961

8. The Lion King 6-15-1994

9. Hercules 6-13-1997

10. Dumbo 10-23-1941

11. The Fox and the Hound 7-10-1981

12. Oliver and Company 11-18-1988

13. Cinderella 2-15-1950

14. The Little Mermaid 11-17-1989

15. Pinocchio 2-7-1940

16. Sleeping Beauty 1-29-1959

17. The Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 10-5-1949

18. The Jungle Book 10-18-1967

19. The Great Mouse Detective 7-2-1986

20. Robin Hood 11-8-1973

21. The Rescuers Down Under 11-16-1990

22. Make Mine Music 4-20-1946

23. Fun and Fancy Free 9-27-1947

24. The Aristocats 12-11-1970

25. Pocahontas 6-23-1995

26. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937

27. Saludos Amigos 8-24-1942

28. The Sword in the Stone 12-25-1963

29. The Rescuers 6-22-1977

30. Alice in Wonderland 7-26-1951

31. The Black Cauldron 7-24-1985

32. Melody Time 5-27-1948

33. Bambi 8-13-1942

34. Fantasia 11-13-1940

35. The Three Caballeros 12-21-1944


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