By Paul Anthony
Welcome to a new monthly series we recently just created and this month is the first blog of its kind. Now we know what Doppelgänger means but how much do we really see it in Hollywood? The answer may surprise when we say a lot. Now in this series we will review two films that are a lot alike but are not the same, so if it is a remake or reboot, then they do not account. It is no secret that I am big into Greek mythology and of course one of my favorite heroes is Hercules, now though the name is more associated with Greek mythology that name is actually the Roman hero rather than the Greek hero Herakles, however they are the same person but for now we will continue to refer to him as Hercules. Over the years there have been plenty of movies that aren’t reboots regarding this character however for today we are taking a look at the Legend of Hercules and Hercules both came out in 2014 and honestly only 6 month apart and by two different studios, nevertheless even back then I thought this was crazy and weird all at the same time. This must have been an actually case of who can do it better, so who did it better? Let’s first talk about the Legend of Hercules.
The Legend of Hercules or also Known as Hercules: The Legend begins, was released in January of 2014 and film had a budget of 70 million and only made around 61 million. The film starred Kellan Lutz as Hercules. Though the film was a box office bomb the audience still gave it a B-. In this film, the story starts at 1200 BC where we meet a young King Amphitryon who invades Argos and takes over the kingdom after a battle, the queen Alcmene who truly hates her husbands prays to Hera to have son whose doesn’t belong to her husband, Hera grants this request and soon after gives birth to two sons Iphicles and Hercules though he is given the fake name of Alcides. Twenty years go by and both boys grow up into different men though Iphicles becomes a cold hearted coward and Alcides grow to be a warrior and respectable person, But they are both interested in HeBe who is the princess of Crete but she only wants Hercules. The King though has set up an arrange Marriage between Iphicles and Hebe and too make sure this happens the King sends Hercules off to battle, to get him out of the picture, turns out this was nothing more than set up to kill Hercules. When it is believed that Hercules did in fact die, the king believed that the plan has worked. Hercules becomes a slave and must battle for his freedom which he does and sets his sights on returning home to stop this wedding. One night the king finds out the truth regarding Hercules’s true father which he then decides to kill his wife. When Hercules returns home and begins to free people from the King and even has some of the army behind him, he decides to take on his step dad and brother with a little help from his real dad in a form of lightening strikes from a sword. In the end it is Hercules and Hebe who marry and become king and queen even have a son together. The Movie ends with Hercules watching over his Kingdom.
Now Lets jump to the one that came out 6 months later and starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules, the film had a budget of 100 million and mange to gross 244 million, making it an box office success. Even the reviews turned out to be better than the other film, so all seems to be well but was it truly better? Let’s look at the plot. The film is based on the comic book series Hercules: The Thracian Wars.
In This film we meet Hercules who is a leader of a band of mercenaries which include Amphiaraus, Autolycus, Tydeus, Atalanta and his nephew Iolaus. In this film people do not believe that he is the son of Zeus even though he’s very strong. Overall the film still doesn’t make it clear if he truly is or isn’t and some even dispute his 12 labors though in the end credits we learn that his team did help him with the 12 labors. one day in 358 BC, after a mission they are approached by a princess who wants them to come to Thrace and help train their army to defeat the evil warlord Rhesus. Of Course Hercules agrees. Soon he begins to train them but the King of Thrace informs them that the army must be ready now because Rhesus is close in central Thrace where the king claims that Rhesus has used magic and turn the tribe there against them. Though Hercules and the army defeats the local tribe they also lose half the army, which once they return home Hercules and his team continue to train the army, then the war starts and Hercules does manage to defeat Rhesus and they take him a prisoner, there Hercules sees the princess show pity to Rhesus and wants to know why and there Hercules learns he has been fighting on the wrong side and demands answers from the king who does admit it and tries to have Hercules killed but fails and Hercules pretty much saves the day in the end.
Okay I will have to say both of these movies were basically on par with each other. The use of CGI for the places were cheap and honestly both would have greatly benefitted from filming on location type of thing. The stories were both wrong in their own ways with certain elements being true to the mythology and I’ll give a few examples. In The Legend Hercules is a prince and doesn’t have a good relationship with Iphicles or the king. That incorrect Though Amphitryon was once a king , he didnt die as a king nor did Hercules ever become a king in fact Hercules had a great relationship with his stepdad and half brother. Hercules did marry Hebe but not until he descended to Mount Olympus to be by his father’s side, they did have kids together, though Hercules wasn’t born in 1200 BC more like 800 years later. The Rock’s film overall story wasn’t correct but more parts were correct, They did explain that he killed his first wife and children in a fit of rage that Hera caused him thus doing the 12 labors. traveling with his nephew was another correct thing but him having his own team wasn’t true though he was a part of the Argonauts. Though in 358 Bc he would have truly been dead as a human because he would be 100 plus years old, though they did get his outfit and Weapons right. In The end its the Rock’s film that wins this mostly because of the Rock’s performance, he to me saved this film! SO the winner would be Hercules (2014) though both films were basically average.