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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Child star-turned-train wreck — I'm sorry, "aspiring fashion designer" — Amanda Bynes has faced a steady decline over the past few years, one that has transformed her from a bubbly sitcom star to the mangled subject of a tabloid headline. As such, Us Weekly's "25 Things You Don't Know About Me" column presented Bynes with an opportunity to generate some good PR for herself. A chance, if you will, to start anew.
But what is a chance, really, but an opportunity for failure? And in the "positive publicity" department, Bynes unfortunately failed. But in the comedy department, we'd call this a win. Bynes' list is full of irreverent, ridiculous, and only occasionally disturbing factoids. Though the helter-skelter organization of Bynes' list does add to its appeal, we've sorted it — for your reading and trend-seeking pleasure — by category.
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4. My favorite store is American Apparel.
10. My favorite perfume is Stella by Stella McCartney.
14. My favorite dark lipstick is Diva by Mac.
18. Diet Coke is my favorite soda.
20. Macaroons are my favorite cookie.
22. Paper Boy [sic] and Ms. Pac Man are my favorite childhood video games.
What this tells us about Amanda: She's the kind of person who calls facial tissue "Kleenex" and plastic sandwich bags "Ziplocs."
(Not to be confused with…)
Things She Loves
2. I've always loved drawing and my dream is to start a fashion line.
12.I would love to start recording an album.
17. I bought a Rolex. It's my most prized possession. (The "love" is implied in this one.)
23. I always fall asleep during massages. I love them.
24. I love eggplant Parmesan [sic].
25. I love going to the Bahamas.
What this tells us about Amanda: The common denominator here seems to be Amanda's separation from reality. While Bynes paints herself as a wealthy, artistic eggplantophile, she is in fact an unemployed 26-year-old who most recently made headlines for replacing all the white light bulbs in her apartment with red ones. I guess if that was our reality we'd stick with Italian cuisine, too.
RELATED: Amanda Bynes Pleads Not Guilty, Blows Off Court
Brand Names Dropped with No Context
3. I went on Accutane and it really helped my skin clear up.
5. Rag and Bone makes the best jeans.
21. Alexander Wang makes the best T-shirts.
What this tells us about Amanda: Accutane, Rag and Bone, and Alexander Wang (and probably American Apparel, Stella McCartney, Mac, Rolex, Nestle Buncha Crunch, and Coke — with a capital "C") paid her to reveal these fun facts. On second thought, it take it back about Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney — she just wants them to send her free s**t.
1. My first concert was the Spice Girls. I always wanted to be Posh.
8. I know how to play the piano and the violin.
9. My grandma and grandpa are from Toronto.
13. I started acting when I was 7. My first commercial was Nestle Buncha Crunch.
16. I survived Hurricane Sandy.
19. I'm Polish, Irish and Lithuanian on my dad's side; Romanian, Polish and Russian on my mom's side.
What this tells us about Amanda: A child of the '90s, Bynes was a prodigy who discovered her talents at a young age. But despite achieving Hatchet-level survival skills as an adult, she never actually learned to use a map. If her grandparents are from Toronto, why isn't she part Canadian?
RELATED: Amanda Bynes Has Been Dropped by Her Publicist — Report
6. I'm addicted to online shopping.
What this tells us about Amanda: This may be the first step on her journey to recovery. Once you cop to the online shopping addiction, admission of your drug and alcohol problems can't be far behind. Right? Right??
Signs of an Eating Disorder
11. I gain weight quickly so I need to work out constantly.
15. I moved to New York City and I love it! I lost 4 lbs. since I moved. I'm 121 lbs -- my goal is 100 lbs.
What this tells us about Amanda: She either has some body image problems or thinks she is 4'10" tall — which, I guess, would be another kind of body image issue. A healthy weight range for someone 5'8" (like Amanda) is 120-165 pounds. The fact that Us Weekly would even post Amanda's No. 15 without a second look is deplorable. What are the editors over at Us Weekly doing all day, watching cat videos? Oh wait, no, that's us.
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[Photo Credit: Splash News]
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