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.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
The stars took to Twitter.com in their droves to post thoughts about and notes addressed to the television king behind American Bandstand, the American Music Awards and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve shows.
McCarthy, who has co-hosted his televised New York New Year's celebration in recent years wrote, "RIP dick Clark. You were amazing to work with. U will be missed," while country singer and TV star Cyrus offered "Thoughts and prayers" to Clark's family.
Actresses Richards and Gabrielle Union, also paid tweet tributes, with Union posting, "NOOO! #RIPDickClark," while Richards added, "My heart goes out to Dick Clark's family and loved ones.... we lost a legend."
Meanwhile Josh Groban, Olivia Munn, David Boreanaz and newlywed Ricki Lake offered up simple "RIP Dick Clark" notes and Oscar winner Marlee Matlin added, "So sorry about passing of Dick Clark. A man with the gift of discovering talented musicians he also was a consummate producer/lovely man RIP."
TV and film favourites Seth Green and Melissa Joan Hart also offered their thoughts with the Robot Chicken star writing, "So saddened by Dick Clark's passing - an innovator, a legend, a man who believed in the greatness of humans. #ThankYou". Hart thanked the late legend for "entertaining my family for decades!" and added, "New Years won't be the same ever again!"
Clark, who was 82, died in a Los Angeles Hospital.
("Stand By Your Man" "I Fall to Pieces" "Help Me Make It Through the Night" "Make It On My Own" "Dixie" "Battle Hymn of the Republic")
A musical salute to two greats of country music, Mother Maybelle Carter and Marty Robbins. The program features film clips of the two artists, and performances by some of today's leading country music specialists.