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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Bob Denver, who was best known for portraying the lovable but klutzy castaway Gilligan in the massively popular '60s TV show Gilligan's Island, has died. He was 70.
Denver died Friday at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina of complications from treatment he was receiving for cancer, his agent Mike Eisenstadt told The Associated Press Tuesday.
His wife, Dreama, and children Patrick, Megan, Emily and Colin were with Denver, who also had undergone quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year.
"He was my everything and I will love him forever," Dreama Denver said in a statement.
Denver's signature role was certainly Gilligan, but even before he accepted that role, Denver was already well-known as Maynard G. Krebs from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, the hit CBS show that ended a year before Gilligan started up. The castaway show was eventually cancelled in 1967 but gained a resurgence in the '70s and '80s with its syndicated reruns.
And Denver never truly walked away from the role of Gilligan. In one of his top 10 list--"the top 10 things that will make you stand up and cheer"--Late Show host David Letterman once simply shouted out Denver's name to raucous applause.
"As silly as it seems to all of us, it has made a difference in a lot of children's lives," Dawn Wells, who played castaway Mary Ann Summers, once said. "Gilligan is a buffoon that makes mistakes and I cannot tell you how many kids come up and say, 'But you loved him anyway.'"
"It was the mid-'70s when I realized it wasn't going off the air," Denver told The Associated Press in 2001, noting then that he enjoyed checking eBay each day to keep up on the prices Gilligan's Island memorabilia were fetching.
"I certainly didn't set out to have a series rerun forever, but it's not a bad experience at all," he added.
Denver also starred in other TV series, among them The Good Guys and Dusty's Trail, and appeared here and there in films and TV shows.