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Hercules Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Lighthearted, but scary stuff is too much for littlest kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie about what it really means to be a hero is a shade darker than many other Disney blockbusters. There's a lot of gore and intense, scary stuff for a G-rated movie, including gruesome monsters and end-of-the-world images (floods, fires, ice storms, mass destruction) that might overshadow the more lightheated musical components. Some kids may also be confused or even upset about the underworld and what happens when people die.

  • Families can talk about real-life heroes. What makes someone a hero? How does society treat its heroes? Why do we buy products endorsed by athletes (or movie tie-ins)?
  • Iswanting to be a god a good reason to want to be a hero? Do we see anyevidence that Hercules (or anyone else in the movie) has much concern for thewell-being of the community?
  • Does this movie seem scarier than other animated kids' movies? Why or why not?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Kids who are unfamiliar with the Greek gods and goddesses will get an introduction to Zeus, Aphrodite, Hermes, and Hades. Hercules is also an actual mythological figure, though few of the heroic tales in the movie are in line with those in his mythical tale.

  • message true3

    Messages: The movie's overarching message is about learning what it means to be a real hero -- as opposed to a celebrity.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Hercules is initially motivated to be a hero by rather selfish, if understandable, motives: He wants to become a god so that he can be with his real parents. But overall, he's a nice guy who suffers a betrayal. On the other hand, the portrayal of Hades as a slick power broker with a hooked nose who makes deals and uses Yiddish words plays on unnecessary stereotypes.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence and scariness: Hades is a slimy, terrifying guy whose sharp teeth and hot temper are likely to frighten the youngest viewers. Hercules fights monsters, decapitating a hydra from inside of its long neck, only to watch it grow a bunch of more heads and attack him. Dead bodies are shown in the underworld and dying people are shown floating in a sea of death. Apocalyptic scenes, characters in peril.

  • sex false2

    Sexy stuff: Meg is forced to handleHercules "like a man" if she wants her freedom. Hercules and Megshare a couple of long kisses. Phil spies on nymphs swimming and chases them.

  • language false1

    Language: Taunts/insults -- "freak," "sweetcheeks," "yutz," "Jerkules" (instead of Hercules), etc.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: When Hercules gains popularity, he gets a credit card with his name on it; there's also a Hercules store with lots of Hercules dolls on the shelves, and kids wear Air Herc shoes and drink Herculade. In other words, success means having your name on lots of products.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Hades smokes a cigar and drinks a martini when he celebrates success.