Blu-ray Review Hercules (2014) Blu-ray Review

Neil Middlemiss

Nov 15, 2001
Real Name
Neil Middlemiss
XenForo Template Hercules (2014) Blu-ray Review

Hercules was only a modest hit at the global box office (hitting 242MM off a 100MM production budget,) but should find welcoming audiences on home video courtesy of the solid production and engaging lead star. In fact, if for no other reason, Hercules should be viewed to simply enjoy the enormity of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s presence and commitment to playing this larger than life role on screen.

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Studio: Paramount

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

Rating: Not Rated, PG-13

Run Time: 98 Mins (Theatrical) 101 Mins (Extended)

Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet

Standard case in slipsleeve

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: MM/DD/2014

MSRP: $39.99

The Production Rating: 3.5/5

“No matter how far you go, man cannot escape his fate. Who are you? Are you a murderer? Are you a mercenary who turns his back on the innocent? We believe in you! We have faith in you! Remember the deeds you have performed, the labors you have overcome! Are you only the legend, or are you truth behind the legend? Now, tell me, WHO ARE YOU?”

Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) is a legend, and the legend holds that he is the son of a mortal mother and Zeus, a powerful God; a union that bore a child of incredible strength and power. As he roams the land with his faithful band of mercenaries, ridding anything or anyone that threatens the lives or burdens the plans of those willing to pay handsomely. Hercules himself is burdened by memories of tragic death, and visions that haunt him. He works with his loyal crew; a wise prophet, Amphisaraus (Ian McShane,) a sly warrior with a blade, Autolycus (Rufus Sewell,) an archer from the Amazon, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal,) a mute, shambled fighter Tydeus (Aksel Hennie,) and a fresh-faced storyteller – and nephew to Hercules - Iolaus (Reece Ritchie.) They are approached by the daughter of Lord Cotys (John Hurt,) to train the Thracian army to defend itself against a mortal, mystical threat. It is a challenge they eagerly accept – for the right price.Brett Ratner's adaptation of the Hercules tale comes courtesy of the graphic novel, Hercules: The Thracian Wars by the late Steve Moore. While Moore’s novel offers a grittier, more complex character, this latest film to bring the legend of Hercules alive still manages to offer a few welcome surprises. Though there was controversy, with Moore’s name being used in advertisements when, apparently, the author was not compensated when the property was made into a film, what we can do is judge the entertainment value and quality of the final product. And in that regard, Hercules is a likeable, entertaining film that somehow feels like something is missing.Hercules is handsome and capably produced, with several fine set pieces and performance by lead Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson that grips, lives and breathes the role of the famed hero. It enjoys a sense of humor among the battles and campfire scenes of camaraderie, and the supporting cast fit their roles especially well. The film plays like a Greek version of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and the interaction among the principle players feeling close and natural raises the likeability of the characters – with Ian McShane’s unlikely spear-wielding prophet, and Ingrid Bolsø Berdal’s tall, strong Atalanta – making the most distinct impact. Still, the film’s challenges, largely from the plotting, which feels oddly paced – rushed at times – hamper the film’s chances of evolving itself confidently as it moves through the plot points. Instead it feels predictably paced, and the awkward flashback sequences as we are first introduced to Hercules wife and children, feels like it was an afterthought shoehorned in at an odd moment.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

Paramount brings Hercules to home video with the original theatrical version, and a new extended cut featuring an additional three minutes. Both versions are presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Filmed using the Arri Alexa XT, the image is beautifully crisp with bright, abounding colors, superb black levels and an overall warmth to the film’s tone. Great definition and details, this is a great looking disc.Also released in 3D, and available on 3D Blu-ray. A 3D copy was not furnished for review.

Audio Rating: 5/5

The English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is a winner. Beautifully crisp, fine balance of dialogue, music, and sound effects, and a deep, booming bass that will rock your sound system. I’ll admit to being disappointed by the score from composer Fernando Velázquez, the man who delivered a sweeping score for The Impossible, and a taut, lyrical score for The Orphanage, didn’t quite crack the musical core of Hercules. Still, while the score doesn’t stand out, it does float around the audio 7.1 DTS-HD MA track with precision.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5

A relatively light-weight collection of exploratory special features, though the audio commentary and deleted and extended scenes offer the greatest value. This collection of extras looks behind the scenes at the weaponry, one of the key battle sequences, some of the practical and visual effects (which were impressive,) in the film.Audio Commentary with Director Brett Ratner and Producer Beau Flynn (Theatrical Version Only)Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson: An IntroductionHercules and His MercenariesWeapons!The Bessi BattleThe Effects of HerculesDeleted and Extended Scenes

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Hercules is imperfect entertainment. Arriving in theaters just a few months after another adaptation of the tale of Hercules (the critical and box office disappointment, The Legend of Hercules,) in a crowded summer filled with tent pole sequels, the chances of it breaking out were slim. Still, it performed better than some early prognostications had held, and it’s a likeable, if unremarkable piece of cinema.

Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss

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Mike Robertson

Stunt Coordinator
Oct 18, 2002
I bought this (the 3D version) after reading Neil's review of the 2D version. Was not disappointed. I enjoyed it quite a bit and the 3D was very good. The depth was extremely well done and there were 3 or 4 decent pop-outs. All in all, a very nice viewing experience.

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