Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
Disney’s Hercules is one of the most famous modern retellings of a Greek myth, being a much loved family film with an amazing soundtrack. This animated classic tells the story of the famous Hercules (Tate Donovan) being trained by Pan (Danny DeVito), becoming a hero, fighting monsters, falling in love with Megara (Susan Egan) and fighting the evil god Hades (James Woods). The story has been adapted to be suitable for children and both the film and its soundtrack are loved by generations, as well as being one of the most successful attempts to educate children about classical mythology.
Being a Disney adaptation, this film is of course riddled with inaccuracies, from Hercules’ story, his parentage, the roles of certain gods and the timeline of Greek myth and history. Some of these changes are understandable, like the absence of the key themes of rape and murder from the original myths. However some changes were unnecessary, and lead to many misunderstandings about the myth of Hercules in the general public. Hercules’ key motivations and characteristics have been altered, it is implied that he is the only son of Zeus and Hera, a happily married couple, and Hades takes on the role of “villain” as required in Disney films, which is an unfair reflection of his domain. The overall setting appears to be a generic “Ancient Greece,” with many instances of clothing, art or architecture that do not fit together.
Regardless of the inaccuracies, Disney’s Hercules is a much beloved family film, and a great way to introduce children to the classical world, spark an interest that can be developed as they grow.
Available on Disney Plus