By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
A common theme in literature and film is the nature of heroism. There have been many types of heroes in popular culture, including the famous superheroes Superman and Batman. However, not all heroes need to wear capes in order to save the day. The Disney animated film Hercules is a great example of teaching audiences what it means to be a hero, and that performing noble deeds for the sake of helping others is the true nature of what it means to act as a savior.
This film can be very inspirational thanks to the Oscar-nominated song “Go the Distance.” It might have lost the Academy Award to “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic (1997), but the song is still powerful because it involves perseverance and the determination to succeed. The film also features very strong and independent women, including the Greek goddess Athena and Meg. Meg is actually a very unique Disney character because she almost acts like a tomboy instead of a damsel in distress. Besides that display of feminism, Hercules features the fundamental fact that anyone can be a hero regardless of who they are.
Heroes are often times the star of their respective films, and this trend continues in the present day (as of 2018) thanks to films like Wonder Woman (2017). Nevertheless, being a hero is much more than just saving people or exhibiting masculinity. Instead, being a hero involves practicing compassion, expressing love, and demonstrating altruism. Hercules is a great family film because it can teach viewers that selflessness is the best way to act like a true hero. In fact, this film is thematically similar to the Mariah Carey song “Hero” because both that song and this film reveal that anyone can be a hero only if such people choose to behave that way. Hercules was a great addition to the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s because it demonstrates how the studio was doing its best to experiment with new material outside of the fairy tales that made Walt Disney famous. Just like the muses sang, anyone can go from “zero to hero” (but only if they believe)!
Hercules (1997) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time the muses sing in unison
Take a Drink: every time Hades loses his cool (and has his hair change from blue to red in the process)
Drink a Shot: every time anyone says the word “hero” (especially during the song “Zero to Hero”)