A generic plot about a man seeking revenge? Check. Loud unfitting music? Check. A copious amount of unnecessary slow motion? Check. Hero screaming multiple times into the camera? Check. Voiceover from an old British actor? Check. This pretty much describes every sword-and-sandal movie’s trailer since 300 came out in the early 2000’s, so it’s no surprise that these elements are the totality of what’s going on in the newest trailer for Brett Ratner’s upcoming film, Hercules.
Narrated by the seemingly immortal John Hurt, this most recent trailer for Hercules, starring Dwayne Johnson as the almighty demi-god, covers the entirety of the movie’s plot. In this reimagining of the Greek myth, Hercules, after murdering his family, is forced to perform twelve labors for the gods in order to atone for his sins. Sometime later, he’s asked by the King of Thrace (Hurt) to help defeat an evil army of zombie-like creatures created by Hades.
Okay, right off the bat you know this isn’t a straight adaptation of the original ancient myth. The trailer spends a lot of time introducing characters that Hercules never interacted with during, or after his labors. Ratner’s Hercules is actually based on comic book writer Steven Moore’s Hercules: Thracian Wars. The graphic novel follows the club-wielding hero as he trains the Thracian military to be a force of complete ruthlessness.
I have not read the source material, so I have no idea whether this film follows Moore’s original work or not. What I can say is that this trailer is as generic and straightforward as any Ratner film usually is. The dialogue, action, slow motion and CGI are no different than any uninspired summer blockbuster. Honestly, this film looks like a spin(/rip)-off of 300: Rise of an Empire or Immortals.
How can you have a line like, “I only want to be a husband and a father” in a trailer? Cue horrible death of entire family. Is it possible for this trailer to be even more predictable? Look, I’d say some people are aware of the Greek myth of Hercules, but, sadly, not all are. Leaving the death of Hercules’ family out of the trailer could at least surprise an audience that knows next to nothing about the hero.
The battles look like a mix of practical effects and CGI, with a heavy emphasis on the latter. I have nothing against CGI in movies, as long as it is used well. The giant creatures and monsters look fine, but I noticed that there’s something not quite right about the CGI buildings and landscapes. It’s off-putting when you cut to a scene with Hercules walking around outside to a scene of him fighting with a green screen behind him. It just doesn’t work.
If there’s one good thing about the trailer, it’s Johnson himself. He looks absolutely dedicated to the role. His muscles certainly look dedicated. Looking the way he does, I can believe that The Rock can take on the Hydra, Nemean Lion and the Cretan Bull all at once with his arms tied behind his back. And that’s without the powers that come with being half-Olympian.
This will be the second film about Hercules to hit theatres this year. After the critical and box office flop of Renny Harlin’s The Legend of Hercules, I’m sure that Ratner and his team are already nervous about the film’s prospects this summer. With a $110 million-price tag, the film will need one hell of an opening weekend to be successful. In a season filled with superheroes, giant monsters, sorceresses and talking apes, is there still a place for a sword and sandals movie? We’ll find out when Hercules debuts on July 25.
What about you reader? Are you excited about the newest trailer for Hercules, or are you too preoccupied with other upcoming films? Let us know in the comments below!