Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Writer/Dir: Luigi Cozzi (Godzilla (1977), Starcrash (as Lewis Coates), The Adventures of Hercules)
Cast: Lou Ferrigno, Sybil Danning, Mirella D'Angelo, Ingrid Anderson, Brad Harris
Seen: Originally, in the 80's. Revisited March 14, 2010
Reason to Watch & Review: For the Sword & Sandal Marathon*
I really went back and forth on whether or not to included Hercules (1983) in the Sword & Sandal Marathon. I remember watching it as a kid, but only having vague memories of the film but somehow I know for certain that I was playing the Mystery Mansion board game at the time. Anyhow, in the end my curiosity got the best of me and I went for it.
Oh, boy. It's an interesting take of the lore. The go with a bit of a Sci Fi angle, which I didn't remember at all, and sometimes it's concrete (Gods hanging out on a planet) and other times it's more vague (i.e. I'm not sure where they were) and that can be epic, but here feels like it's stretching and pretty far fetched. The base storyline is a little familiar, but I almost all the sword & sandals films follow hero a storyline so that's easily overlooked. But, there are clear influences from many other films from Clash of the Titans (1981), Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and even Star Wars.
Although there is fighting in the film, the is also specific feats that Hercules has to perform and that was what I remembered the most but seeing them as an adult they don't quite live up to my memories. That's mostly due to the effects, which haven't aged well. One way to look at is in terms of placement in the Sword & Sandals world, is that it came out smack dab between Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984) and it feels like it. The story doesn't quite have enough to hold us in, and then the effects can really pull you out of the film. But, looking at my reviews the only other film I've reviewed from 1983 was the series "V" (1983), so perhaps it's fair to overlook the effects even though a few were effective.
The other thing that really struck me about the film was the overall art design and costuming. At times it was very theatrical, even reminded of the feel of Hammer Horror. But a lot of the time it was crazy! I mean, totally crazy in that 80's way that now we can see so clearly in hindsight as jazzercize meets scifi. Also, the women in the film often had outfits that left them with not very much to work with. That really surprized me. But then again, same goes for Herc so at least it was balanced there.
I'm not sure if I'm adventurous enough to give the sequel a go, I know I've never seen that version before. We'll see.
Shannon's Overall View:
It did not live up to my memory of seeing it originally
I own it
I'd recommend to die hard Sword & Sandal completists
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© Shannon Ridler, 2010
* The Sword & Sandal Marathon is a 13 week marathon exploring sword & sandal films in anticipation of the 2010 release of Clash of the Titans (2010)
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