A lot can happen in 19 years. The Avengers have assembled, snowmen have sung, 4 Star Wars films have been made...but, very little can compete with the amazing classics, and very few can beat Hercules. It was 19 years ago today that a star was born, brining with him new motivational messages, catchy tunes and an adorable flying horse (Pegasus). And, in celebration of the greatest hero ever created, here are 10 godly facts you might or might not know about Disney's Hercules.
1) Hercules Broke Disney's Fairytale Trend
So Disney was always known for grabbing famous (and grim) fairytales, animating them and giving them a lighter and more magical twist (like Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid).Well Hercules broke that trend, since it's based on greek mythology. It still had all the potential for a successful Disney animation, but with a rather different source.
2) The Hydra Heads Caused a Few Problems.
These little guys were created to cause trouble! The many heads of the Hydra didn't just cause young Herc a few problems, but the animators too. It could take from 6 to 14 hours for them to render a frame (meaning generating a 2D or 3D image via a computer program). The time needed to produce such images usually varied according to how many heads the hydra had. You know how they say the more the merrier? Not in this case.
3) The Spice Girls as the Muses- Enough Said
Let's be absolutely honest: we all love Hercules, but it's the muses that really bring the swing into the animation. For some time Disney was considering casting the Spice Girls in the place of Ryan, LaChanze and the others. I might be a Spice Girls fan but the muses have stolen my heart and no one could possibly replace them.
4) 72,000 pencils and 1,000,000 sheets of paper
In 19 years animators have advanced from predominantly pen and pencil to the digital arts. But, although 3D animation has become the future, the skill needed to hand draw and animate will never fail to amaze me. Hercules, with just over 90 minutes of screen-time, took 72, 000 pencils and 1,000,000 sheets of paper to create. I'd call that dedication, wouldn't you agree?
5) Hercules and Ariel are Cousins
Although animators may have forgotten to mention this in the story, the big strong demigod's cousin is actually everyone's favourite mermaid. This deduction goes back to the messed up family trees of greek mythology. Hades, Zeus and Poseidon are all brothers, hence the family feud. But while, while Hades has no kids (as far as we know) both Zeus and Poseidon had sons, Hercules and Triton (amongst hundreds of others) respectively. And who is Triton? None other than Ariel's dad! So they might not exactly be cousins, but technically they're 'first cousins once removed'. I would pay to see a reunion between these two heroes and to see the look on Hercules's face when he realises he's related to a mermaid.
6) Apparently Greece found Hercules insulting
A lot of the sites used in Hercules actually do (or did) exist in Greece so it's understandable that Disney wanted to have Hercules have an open-air premier on Pynx Hill, only 1 km west of the legendary Acropolis in Greece. I think that would have been phenomenal- but sadly, the Greek government refused the request with one newspaper stating:
This is another case of foreigners distorting our history and culture just to suit their commercial interests
7) The Fates Didn't Have Very Good Foresight
This isn't much of a fact but more of a revelation. You know those three old hags, the Fates, who claimed to know everything concerning the past, present and future? Well I think their foresight was a bit rusty. If they knew about the future, or even potential futures, they would have seen that Hercules would have survived the trials that Hades sent his way as well the rescuing of Meg from the underworld. So either the Fates aren't as prophetic as everyone thinks, or they just enjoyed stringing Hades along- who knows?
8) Ricky Martin is the Spanish Hercules
We all know the lyrical voice of the famous singer, Ricky Martin. I loved Tate Donovan and Michael Bolton as the english Hercules voices but the lyrical voice of Ricky Martin as the Spanish Hercules voice is just is heart-stopping to hear. Don't believe me? Hear it for yourself:
9) The Garden Where Meg sings about love in isn't very romantic
So Disney always tries to make the scenery and architecture authentic according to the place and era the film is taking place in, but in the case of the garden Meg sings the famous solo "I Won't Say" in , they were a bit off. After seeing the film a few *cough* hundred *cough* times I noticed that many of the statues she's singing around are actually animated and PG rated versions of famous greek statues depicting the kidnapping of women- yikes! Some might think Disney's choice of garden decor may be inappropriate but, if you actually listen to Meg's song about how a man wronged her, Disney's choice of sculptures actually makes a lot of sense.
10) Herc Would Be Very Expensive to Buy
So you know how some sports teams buy players for quite large amounts of money? Well buying Hercules, presumably to fight off some chimera or subterranean monster, would cost you- big time. At the peak of his popularity, Hercules was worth 66,000,000,000 Drachmas. No matter the currency conversion rate, this is a lot of money- that's roughly 215 million dollars! But what would you expect from the son of Zeus and the most famous demigod to ever be produced from the greek legends?
Even after all these years, young Herc never fails to astound audiences as they watch, with pride in their eyes, as a star is born who isn't afraid to go the distance. He turned from a zero to hero and, after all these years, this remains the gospel truth.