Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Hercules; send in the ringers

Imax, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Unless you're running a cinema and you want to jack up your prices. Then it's great.

Hercules is a perfectly acceptable time passer, carried on the back of platoons of British ringers cheerfully ignoring the special effects and concentrating on making the most of their dialogue. In Imax you get the added miracle of stuff which is behind other stuff, and the occasional non thrill of things which seem to be sticking out of the screen slightly. All you have to accept for these benefits is a huge increase in ticket prices, a pair of uncomfortable glasses, and a general fuzziness in the picture. And all the nonsense which comes with trying to edit a movie so that there will be some apparent purpose to the pointless gimmick of 3D.

That aside, what's good? All the reviews are keen to make the point about how meta Hercules is. There's no magic; there's a rational explanation for everything, and Hercules isn't the son of a God, he's a good team player with a worryingly effective PR guy. And that works, though it's hard to fight the vague feeling that a cleverer director would have made it seem genuinely clever instead of just vaguely smartass.

It’s not a great movie; I didn’t come out of it wanting to watch it again later, or encourage anyone else I knew to watch it. It has some funny moments from Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell (until you see it done, it’s easy to forget how much skill is needed to sell a line like “And… we’ve walked into a trap.”), and none of it is actively awful. But in the end, for all that it’s trying to undermine the whole idea of legends, it builds to your classic flawed hero journey; Hercules has to be a fully realised lone hero and save the day somehow. If it had been true to what they were setting out to do, Hercules would have wound up trapped under something heavy waiting for someone clever to rescue him.

No comments: