OMR: Legend of Hercules

I had originally intended the "Old Movie Reviews" category to be just that: reviews of older movies. However, this past weekend I saw a movie so incredible that I just had to write a review of it.

I wrote last week of my utter joy and exultation at watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. In my blog post, I commented how incredible and surprising it was to watch Vanilla Ice in all his classy splendor, as he danced and rapped during the climax of the movie. Any movie featuring an actor of his caliber is certainly one of life's true pleasures to enjoy.

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of going out on a double date with another couple who are friends of my wife and I. After dinner we had decided to check out a new movie and I was enthralled by the magic and majesty of the action film: The Legend of Hercules.

What can I say about this epic? What words are there to describe such a wonderful culmination of millions of dollars and countless hours of hard work and determination by the writers, actors, production crew, and special effects teams? I think my friend's wife summed it up best when she said:

"Well," She shrugged, considering the movie we had just seen. "The horses were pretty. I really liked the grey one."

That pretty much sums it up. What more can I add?

I am one of those people who - when I have not purchased my tickets in advance - likes to get to movies pretty early, buy my tickets, and get a good seat. I was informed this was Hercules's opening night, so I was a bit worried when I got to the theater only about twenty minutes before the film was to run. I purchased my tickets, then waited in line at the refreshments counter where I was customarily robbed by the teenage movie employee pedaling popcorn and soda at a markup approaching ten to twenty thousand percent.

When I got into the theater, our wives had gone ahead to grab us seats. I was concerned they were going to be in the very front row since I was walking in about ten minutes before showtime.

I had no need to be concerned. The place was pretty much empty.

In a theater that had close to two hundred seats, there were maybe twenty people there just before runtime when I walked in.

The movie only got better from there.

When I think of the quality of movies, I think of the scale as like a sliding continuum that looks reminiscent of a smily face. The slide moves from left to right, sagging down in the middle and up on either side. On the far left at the top, you have great movies that stand the test of time. Movies of such quality that you can watch them years later and still enjoy them.

On the far right at the top, you have movies that are so bad, they are actual enjoyable to watch because they give you the shivers and fill you with such glee at people who are trying so hard to produce a serious movie, yet are failing so incredibly miserably.

In the middle you have a movie that was just a waste of time and money.

I think of it like watching a Major League Baseball player approaching the plate. If he is going to swing for all he's worth, we want him to do one of two things. Either we want him to crush the ball and hit a monster grand slam out of the park, or we want him to swing so hard he misses, loses the bat, falls over and splits his pants. Otherwise we just yawn as he swings and misses or hits a pop up and we wonder why we spent so much money on tickets.

Movies in the middle of that spectrum are the ones that just stunk, but not enough to make their failure enjoyable, and were not good enough to be taken seriously. But the ones on the far right, those movies that have set the bar for terrible films, are so deliciously bad, that it's worth watching JUST because they are so horrible. To put it into a single statement:

It might have been the worst movie I have ever seen, yet one of the most enjoyable.

I say 'might' because I cannot honestly remember every movie I have ever seen. However, as far as bad movies go, it's up there with Xanadu. That's right I said it.

It's Xanadu bad.

But at the closing credits, when I saw the director's name pop up on the screen I thought to myself: "Hey self, there's the name of a guy who might be bagging groceries later this month."

About fifteen minutes into the film, I realized that I didn't care at all about any of the characters. This was not like a George R.R. Martin story, where all characters are expendable and you are cautioned against getting attached because at any moment they might be dragon fodder - no, this was a story where all the characters were such a joke, and so poorly portrayed and setup that I just simply didn't care if the entire cast died.

The film is only 98 minutes long or so, which I'm sad to say, might be part of the problem. It had the pacing of a fall from the top floor of a skyscraper. Sure you're moving fast, but you don't get to look into any of the windows and see anything happening on the floors you're passing by on the way to your death.

They struggle to fit so much into the first 15 minutes of the film that you don't get anything, you don't care about anyone. No one has the TIME to resonate with you.

The acting is bad, the special effects were bad, the story was bad, the dialogue was horrible.

It was so bad, it became wonderful. I truly had one of the best and most enjoyable nights of my adult life watching this movie.

One thing I noticed was, during every romantic scene between Hercules and his love interest, there were all these strange little pieces of dander or pollen floating around in the air like white parachuting seeds of a dead dandelion. I guess it was supposed to convey an almost dream like romance to the scene, but all it did was come off as a laughable effect. It looked more like a Zyrtec allergy commercial than anything remotely romantic. I kept expecting to see a cartoon bumblebee appear, speaking sweet nothings to the characters with the sultry spanish accents of Antonio Banderas.

At another point, when Hercules manages to steal some alone time with his love interest, we are lead to believe that they find one another at this remote and secluded pool - where they had met earlier for a very G-rated cringeworthy make out session - but this time good Ol Hercules gets to 'seal the deal' with his leading lady. In the next scene they are lying spent in one another's arms, under an odd bamboo canopy that has appeared from nowhere. I couldn't help but think how that conversation had gone:

"Hercules," Hebe (pronounced HEE-BEE - the name of Hercules's love interest) exclaims. "You're alive! I can't believe it's you!"

"It is me," Hercules says, flexing his size c pectorals. The two star crossed lovers rush to each other, Hebe rushing into the pool of water, the air around them filled with the floating allergens to spice up the mood. They kiss, pulling at one another, their lust and desire no longer willing to be contained.

"We must wait a while longer," Hercules says to her, lust burning in his eyes. Of course that could be the aforementioned allergens. "I must build us a shelter so that I may take your maidenhood in comfort!"

Then they wait for a couple hours while Hercules tears out some bamboo trees and gathers thread and twine from somewhere, along with a set of wind chimes and assembles their little love nest.

I don't intend to come across as mean, but this movie was an epic failure. In a way, I'm disappointed because it's only January and I have already undoubtably seen the worst movie of the year. What do I have to look forward to now?

But I might be selling it short, I am only in my early thirties, I might have already seen the worst movie of my lifetime!

The only thing that could have made this movie better, would have been Vanilla Ice. In fact I am really waiting for him to be cast as the leading man in a big time hero movie. He would have made a great addition to the cast and would have simply put this movie over the top on pure awesomeness. Now that I think about it, Vanilla might be a great option for a gladiator style sequel. I mean Vanilla Ice as a hero straight out of Greek Mythology? Who could beat that?

That script virtually writes itself!



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