Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Assignment for Tuesday, 10-25-16

Dear Mythologists,

For Tuesday, October 25, please do the following:

(1) Watch the other big Hercules film of 2014, the simply-named Hercules (dir. Brett Ratner). In addition to the DVD being reserved at the library, the film is also streaming on Amazon. This film will conclude our second unit and ought to give us some closure.

(2) Read Angeline Chiu's essay-in-progress (distributed last class) on the interpersonal dynamics of the movie's characters.

(3) Remember by noon on Tuesday to comment on this post with your choice of a sequence from Hercules to view in class.



  1. I would like to watch the scene beginning at 48:14 and ending at 51:35, when Erginia asks the Hercules Crew about the rumors that Hercules murdered his family. Hercules exhibits symptoms of PTSD throughout the movie, but this is the first scene where we can confirm that the film is trying to make a direct connection between Hercules and modern veterans with PTSD. This scene is also another example of the screenwriters interpreting events in the Hercules cycle as having a basis in reality, while viewing the myth as real events blown out of proportion through gossip and storytelling.

  2. I would like to revisit the scene between 1:20:32 and 1:20:55, where the Hercules crew is fighting all of the soldiers in the corridors and Amphiaraus believes his time has finally come. Following the theme of the movie which constantly undermines the gods and faith, while simultaneously supporting it and giving credence to the legends (since it doesn't really matter if he's the son of Zeus), I thought it was hilarious when Hercules intervenes in Amphiaraus' death. The slow motion of the shot builds up the moment, and he opens his arms in welcome, and suddenly Hercules snatches it away. But instead of being morose about ruining the moment, Hercules merely says "You're welcome". I think this speaks a lot to the kind of movie this is, and how the message has changed so much for modern American viewers - that you can do anything you set your mind to, that you do not have a sealed path you must follow.

  3. I would like to watch the battle scene with the Bessi around 00:36:00. I thought this sequence was interesting because in it, we get to see Hercules' crew all working together. This scene really highlights that Hercules would not be who he is without all of the crew. I am a little curious as to who the Bessi are because they looked like representations of the picts who were native Britains that the Romans fought - the picts covered themselves in blue paint much like the Bessi cover themselves in green paint. This could be an example of Hollywood "Romanizing" Greek movies. Also, it's interesting that movie directors are so enthralled by the hoplite way of fighting. There is no mention of the use of shield walls during the time that this Hercules is supposed to take place and, I believe shield walls weren't popularly used until around the 6th and 5th centuries by the Spartans. Lastly, I just really liked this scene because Atalanta is a badass...even though she is dressed in a very impractical manner.

    ~Sophie Heath

  4. I'd like to go back to the opening scene (00:00:46-00:04:00) because there are a couple of successful components here. First, I think it's a very clever in the introduction to the movie. In the beginning we think it's simply another detached intro to set the scene, but then around 00:03:47, the film reveals that Iolaus isn't telling just us, but also the pirates that have captured him.
    Second, I think it was a smart choice for the filmmakers to keep (adult) Hercules' face out of frame as much as possible. It keeps with their theme of questioning who the true hero is: is he real, is it only him, is he a god, a man...? Having him faceless in the beginning puts us into the shoes of everyone (except H and his band) else's shoes. We still don't know who he is, just like them.

    1. I'd also like to see this scene again. Sarah makes a great point about the Rock's reveal, but I also suspect that since people knew it was him, the reveal is almost to excite the audience, awaiting for the Rock to finally show his face. In Hercules' childhood "montage" I though the little touches like baby Herc reaching for the lightning bolt and the snakes slithering out of Hera's eyes added to this introduction, signaling early on that Hercules is no ordinary baby.

  5. I’d like to watch the scene of the final battle (1:30:46-1:33:31). Not only it was a very interesting scene cinematically, but it was also full of context. Hercules gains the trust of the army (by performing an impossible task) and defeats the king. The idea of heroism and how one can manifest and achieve it is once again promoted in this particular scene. At its core, it is the personal and social creation of a “bright line” of morality on a given issue that is defended, upheld and promoted despite a host of pressures to do otherwise.Thus, Hercules proves his worth by going against all odds in order to serve justice.


  6. I would like to watch the scene at about 7:00 to 8:10, after the title appears. This scene establishes many of the character's personalities- Autolycus's shrewdness and practicality in his counting their earnings, Iolaus's desire to be a warrior in his playful waving of a sword, and Amphiaraus's mysticism and belief in the gods in his flaring the fire. Autolycus's advice to the storyteller Iolaus, to embolden the legend of Hercules even further, reveals the movie's depiction of myth, that it is an artificial device used intentionally to create the character's reputation. Throughout the film, the source of Hercules's inhuman strength is left ambiguous, whether of not he is truly of divine origin, and the emphasis on the use of rumors and stories rather than confirmed divine intervention creates a human, relatable Hercules for audiences.

  7. I can not give a time clip for this moment of the film, as I no longer have access to the copy I watched, but I would like to watch the moment near the end where Hercules pushes the massive statue down onto the attacking army. I think it is one of the two clear Peplum moments of this movie, it is Hercules great show of strength in the film, and harkens back to Steve Reaves tearing down the pillars in Hercules 1958. The reason I would rather look at this moment the the chain breaking one(Which I think is far more effective) Is because of the questions it raises about the world. How strong is this Hercules? What does it mean that this Hercules is originally all about team work and myths but actually has massive strength? And does this undermine the message that the film is trying to show?

  8. I'd like to watch the scene of Hercules' imprisonment from 1:14:26 1:19:11, which provides a lot of critical plot and character moments, as well as some continuation of Peplum conditions. Narratively, we get the 'twist in the third act' where it is revealed that Eurythesis has been drugging Hercules, and that his wolves actually killed Hercules' family. Additionally, we also get a great 'Hercules Unchained' moment as he tears himself free from his bonds while declaring "I AM HERCULES" after getting a pep talk from Amphiaraus. These two moments serve to absolve Hercules of his guilt whilst also invoking his filmic iconography (breaking the chains). In a sense it's removing Hercules from the classic tradition of being the flawed hero who killed his family while also moving him closer to how he is depicted in many of the Peplum films we watched.