The Legend of Hercules (2014)
|Year Of Production||2014|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (60:01)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Renny Harlin|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Hercules has been portrayed on the big screen many times in the past, mostly in B movies of the 1950s and 1960s. As many will know, he is a character from Greek and Roman legends, known as Heracles to the Greeks. The main legends concern his divine birth as the son of the god Zeus and the mortal Queen Alcmene, and his famous heroic exploits especially those known as the twelve labours of Hercules. Of course, two Hercules based films are being released in quick succession with this one, The Legend of Hercules, being the first followed by Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson which is releasing at cinemas in July. This one does not have any big names in the cast but was directed by Hollywood veteran Renny Harlin, famous/infamous for films like Die Hard 2, Cutthroat Island, Cliffhanger and Deep Blue Sea. More recently he has spent his time on television shows and earning Razzie nominations.
The film focuses on the origin story of Hercules (Kellan Lutz, probably best known as Emmett from the Twilight series). It starts from his mother's dalliance with Zeus and continues through his early years growing up with his older brother, Iphicles (Liam Garrigan). His mother is Queen Alcmene (Roxanna McKee), wife of the brutal tyrant King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins). He is King of one of the Greek Kingdoms, Tiryns. At this point Hercules is known as Alcides and presumed by all, including himself, to be the son of the King. Into this mix comes a princess of Crete, Hebe (Gaia Weiss) who is promised to Iphicles but falls in love with Hercules. Amphitryon is very suspicious of his wife and eventually gets her to admit that Hercules is the son of Zeus. He then stabs her to death but tells everyone it was a suicide. Soon, Amphitryon finds a way to send Hercules to what he presumes to be his death, by arranging for him to be attacked by a much larger opposition force. Hercules, of course, does not die but rather is sold into slavery becoming a gladiator with his comrade, Sotiris (Liam McIntyre). Eventually, they make their way back to Greece and start a rebellion against the King. Will Hercules call upon the strength of his father to defeat the evil king or will he deny his destiny? Will he be able to rescue Hebe from a life like his mother's?
Your enjoyment or otherwise of this film will come down to whether you enjoy B-grade style matinees of the sword and sandal type. If you accept it for what it is, this film is enjoyable and entertaining without obviously being a great cinematic experience. It works well for late pre-teens/young teenage boys who like a bit of excitement and action but to whom you don't want to show the more brutally violent modern style action films. It is full of action and adventure but without any graphic violence showing tasteful restraint in terms of breaking bones and showers of blood. It does garner an M rating but to my mind is at the lower end of the M range. The acting is pretty ordinary generally without being really horrible and Kellan Lutz looks the part without being an inspirational leading man. A lot of the action is done with CGI, sometimes well, like the massed battle scenes, sometimes really obviously, like the fight with a lion. There are certainly some cool sequences which my young sons enjoyed like Hercules' sword of lightning and his stone numchucks. The dialogue is very serious and self-important with Lutz especially coming across as pompous in some scenes.
Undoubtedly a B film but one you can have some fun with if you take it as it comes.
The video quality is very good but has one major artefact.
The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The picture was extremely sharp and clear. Shadow detail was very good.
The colour is great but muted by the sepia colour scheme.
There was a regular issue with what looks like some sort of digital noise or aliasing especially when the camera moves and CGI is in the background. The resulting shimmer was quite distracting at times and I would hope it would be much better on the Blu-ray version (we hope to bring you a review of that version soon). An example, but certainly not the only one is at 13:40.
There are subtitles available in English for the hearing impaired which are clear and easy to read.
There is an obvious layer change at 60:01 which causes a significant and badly placed pause.
The audio quality is very good, nearly excellent for DVD.
This disc contains an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus an audio descriptive track in Dolby Digital 2.0.
Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand but the subtitles proved helpful on occasion.
The music was very dramatic and somewhat over the top, suiting the B grade style of the film. It was written by Tuomas Kantilanen.
The surround speakers were extremely busy throughout with lots of presence, immersion and specific effects for battle scenes and rain etc. I am sure the Blu-ray high definition track would be a monster.
The subwoofer supported the music and action sequences.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu features music.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This film is available in other regions on Blu-ray and I presume DVD however I cannot find any specific details. Buy local.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.The extras died in a slave gladiator battle.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|