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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Remember that month last summer when we learned 51-year-old Lost actor Doug Hutchison married a 16-year-old girl named Courtney Stodden, and then she made these faces at him, and we all said the couple would be perfect for a reality show, but then you realized Stodden wasn't actually a 30-something method actress and the whole spectacle made us feel as dirty as Stodden's Twitter and we simply stopped caring? Well, good news, people of July 2011, Stodden and her husband have finally made their way onto our TV screens!
Though Stodden's Instagram account seems to indicate no problem in her marriage to Hutchinson, the barely legal twosome will appear on the second season of Vh1's Couples Therapy, and, based on a promo for the season, rub the other couples in a way almost as wrong as Hutchinson's unsettling thigh rub. (In the spot for the series, we see Hutchinson asking another castmate, "Did you just call my wife trash?" That's Mrs. Trash to you, buddy.) Joining Stodden and Hutchinson is a cast clearly found at the bottom of Snooki's laundry pile: Rapper Too Short and Monica Payne; Bachelor winner Shayne Lamas and Nik Richie; K-Ci & JoJo's JoJo and Tiny (way to Dupree the s**t out of that relationship, Tiny); and Real Housewives of New York rejects Alex McCord and leather pants enthusiast Simon van Kempen.
Check out the promo for Couples Therapy below, and if you're still not feeling shame, check out our gallery of Courtney Stodden's Craziest Costumes. Also, go to jail.
Courtney Stodden's Craziest Costumes: Launch Gallery
Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard
[Image Credit: Vh1]
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