Sunday, August 07, 2011

Hercules

I have to hand it to the Italians. Just as I was entering a funk over my vacation ending, I find a film that turns it all around with its insanity. That gem is Hercules, as recommended to me by The Vicar of VHS and his numerous tweets celebrating the insanity of the film and persuading me to watch it.

I'm glad I did, for the movie is a veritable smorgasbord of bizarreness and hysterical production choices. As you guess from the poster, the film is a very science-fiction inspired version of Hercules, replete with flashing lights and cyborg creatures and of course, SCIENCE! In what could be one of my favorite opening sequences ever, we're treated to a retelling of the origin of the universe that involves a computerized Pandoras's Box breaking open and ample explosions and lens flares. And it goes on for about five minutes, where we're finally treated to the idea of Hercules as he is fashioned by Zeus up on the moon and sent to Earth as a ball of light that invades a baby and takes him over.

It only gets better from there.

After being saved from the murders that claim his real parents, Hercules lives the life of a farmer with his family until his father is killed by a bear, which our hero promptly tosses into space and his mother I believe is killed by what proves to be the first of many robots. I was rather inebriated by the film though so I might be misremembering. After that, he torches the family home and heads out for adventure where he meets Cassiopea and her kingly father and then becomes embroiled in a battle to save the world from King Minos and his fabled science and robots. And Sybil Danning. In the process he befriends a sorceress named Circe and performs many feats of derring-do.

What kind of feats? Cleaning stables, fighting a clockwork hydra, throwing beams into space. The usual.

This movie is a fantastic cure for the summertime blues. It's played straight and that makes it all the more fun as Hercules fights ridiculous foes and situations with a serious face and sometimes dodgy effects. The stop motion is actually rather good in this movie and one of the highlights whenever it shows up. There are a lot of lens flares and other extraneous effects but they just make it more over the top and fun. The only complaint I might make is that there was a severe lack of nudity, but that might just be because I expect it in my sword and sorcery flicks.

As with most Cozzi films I've seen, this one rips off quite a few others, like the Beastmaster (bear killing the father). It's all in good fun and spotting the possible influences just adds to the experience.

Check. It. Out.

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