Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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After 16 years in NYC, Conan O'Brien is saying goodbye to the Big Apple and heading west.
O’Brien's Late Night mantle is about to be passed to Jimmy Fallon as O'Brien gets ready to sit at the most hallowed desk in late night history.
O'Brien's move to the show that Steve, Jack, Johnny and Jay built was made official five years ago and the host has waited patiently to make the move.
But since NBC announced that current Tonight Show host Jay Leno would be given a show at 10 pm, some folks think O'Brien is getting stiffed.
Indeed, as the follow-up act for Leno, albeit an hour earlier than in the past 16 years, O'Brien could find himself competing within his own network for guests and attention.
"I feel a little sorry for Conan," one longtime late night executive told the New York Times. "I think he's getting sandbagged."
Warren Littlefield, who was NBC's top program executive when Leno began at Tonight, said: "Sure, Conan is still getting the Tonight Show, but who are we kidding? Call it what you will. But if NBC hasn't done it yet, you know they are going to at some point be saying: 'Late night begins at 10 o'clock.'"
O'Brien for his part acknowledged some trepidation about the move. "I've spent my fair share of time at 3 in the morning," he said, "lying awake like Martin Sheen in (Apocalypse Now), staring at the ceiling fan, thinking about my trip up river -- and we all know how that turned out."
But, he said he was relieved that Leno was staying at NBC. "Of all the alternatives in the universe, this one honestly does work best for me," he said. "I didn't want to suddenly be perceived as this person who forced someone into a bad position. I wouldn't be comfortable in that role."
In terms of bookings, Leno has previously said, "Even though it's 10 o'clock, we're going to pretend it's 11:30 ... I think we will have an advantage in saying to press agents: It's prime time. We reach a wider audience."
Lamented one late night executive, "it's going to be a nightmare for bookers in L.A."
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