Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In short: The Legend of Hercules (2014)

Warning: contains rampant misuse of parentheses, but then the film at hand contains rampant misuse of any viewer’s time, so I can still feel morally superior to it. Which I do.

As long-suffering victims of this blog know, I have a high tolerance for all kinds of things in movies that make sane people cry, so when a film is as generally reviled by mainstream critics as Renny Harlin’s CGI epic about everyone’s third-favourite Greek half-god, I’m not too fussed by it. Unfortunately, this time around, it turns out I can’t disagree with the consensus at all, for this Hercules version really makes the baby Eros cry.

There’s bad writing (and I don’t mean bad writing in a “I don’t like the film’s world view, or want it to be exactly like something I would have written” way the phrase often means on the internet but in the “these people don’t actually know anything about writing for movies, not even blockbuster style ones where the writing flavour of the year takes care of most of your plotting anyhow”), dialogue to make one’s brains bleed with its combination of insipidness and lack of style (it’s high-falutin’ EPIC MOVIE talk time written by people who just don’t get how this sort of thing works, and wouldn’t have an ear for it even if they did), acting that is all too often bad in the most boring manner (except for Scott Adkins as – I kid you not – Amphitryon -, who clearly will make a great scenery chewer one day when his buffness has diminished and all evil ninjas have been ass-kicked), and special effects with a big emphasis on the “special” (and partying like it’s 1999). In fact, I have seen Asylum movies with better CGI. Well, and with better scripts, now that I think about it.

To really top things off, Renny Harlin – who really should know better – presents this mess as a piece of cargo cult filmmaking that takes the idiot surface of things like 300, The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones without a) realizing that these films and shows actually have diametrically opposite styles and approaches to storytelling from one another, and without b) understanding what functions any given stylistic element actually fulfils in them. It’s enough to make one look forward to Brett Rat(t)ner’s Hercules version, if only in hot expectation of the ways in which that guy will be able to make things even worse.

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