I had not seen Hercules since probably a couple of years after it came out in theaters. It was one of my childhood favorites, and so I was fearful about how it was going to hold up 10 years later. I was especially fearful because of how I responded to modern references in The Sword in the Stone and Aladdin. But actually, they did not bother me at all in the same way that I was fine with the references in Robin Hood. Since from the first scene you can see that this is a parody rather than a straight movie about Greek history. Truth be told, this is one of my favorite Disney’s, one of their true great movies.
The reason I came to this conclusion is that just about ever single aspect of it meshes well with the others. The animation is inspired and colorful. The music and song, from the interludes by the Muses to the ones performed on screen, work perfectly and are among the best things Alan Menke has done. And the voice performances are perfect for this kind of movie. The best are Danny DeVito as Phil, and James Woods as Hades. This was the first time I had seen the movie in English, and Woods blew me away. His voice is just perfect for this incarnation of Hades, a sarcastic, darkly funny evil guy. I read that he was just as unpredictable as Robin Williams in the recording booth, but thankfully he didn’t do annoying accents and stupid pop culture references that were not there by design.
My only complaint would be that the climax is not as exciting and action packed as it could have been. But that’s all there is wrong with it, at least for me.