Tag Archives: Hercules

Hercules “One Last Hope” (1997)

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After learning he’s the son of Zeus, Pegasus takes Hercules to a mysterious island to meet the legendary trainer of heroes Philoctetes. And who is this mysterious character? Well…

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Hercules “One Last Hope” (1997)

It turns out that Philoctetes or “Phil” is a past-his-prime satyr (half man, half goat) with a passion for flirting with any beautiful woman he sees. Phil is highly upset to find Hercules and Pegasus intruding into his retirement. As far as he’s concerned, he’s long since out of the hero-training business, as he’s seen far too many heroes fall flat without “going the distance.” Apparently he’s trained them all: Odysseus, Perseus, Theseus…and the greatest of them all, Achilles! The satyr can’t bear to be disappointed again but Hercules isn’t giving up: he proudly proclaims himself to be the son of Zeus but Phil is not impressed. In fact, he finds the situation hysterical, as “One Last Hope” begins…

So, ya wanna be a hero, kid?
Well, whoop-dee-doo!
I have been around the block before with blockheads just like you
Each and everyone a disappointment
Pain, for which there ain’t no ointment
So much for excuses
Though a kid of Zeus’, asking me to jump into the fray
My answer is two words….(before Phil can turn Hercules away he’s struck by a bolt of lightning presumably “encouragement” from Zeus)….O.K

Hercules 3

In a similar vein to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” “Son of Man,” and “Something There;” “One Last Hope” is a montage song, that is it uses a series of short moments to cover the passage of a lengthy period of time (in this case, several years of training). Initially, as one might expect, the training does not go well:

I’d given up hope that someone would come along
A fellow who’d ring the bell for once
Not the gong
The kind who wins trophies
Won’t settle for low fees
At least semi-pro fees
But no – I get the greenhorn

Part of Hercules’ training involves cleaning up the old training course and making it usable again. Along the way, Phil begins listing off his “hero rules” of which there are 101. A notable example includes: “Rule 95: Concentrate! (Hercules throw goes wide) Rule 96: AIM!!!”

you-re-not-exactly-a-dream-come-true

I’ve been out to pasture pal, my ambition gone
Content to spend lazy days and to graze my lawn
But you need an advisor
A satyr, but wiser
A good merchandiser
And whoa! There goes my ulcer!

I love Danny DeVito’s sarcasm throughout much of this song; he’s so skeptical about Hercules ever completing the training and yet he persists!

I’m down to one last hope and I hope it’s you
Though, kid, you’re not exactly a dream come true
I’ve trained enough turkeys
Who never came through
You’re my one last hope so you’ll have to do

Finally though, the long years of training (how many isn’t made clear) begin to pay off and finally the scene transitions to an adult Hercules that’s mastered all of Phil’s training courses, including a doozy of a finale. In short order, Hercules defeats or evades every obstacle and rescues the “damsel in distress.”

One_Last_Hope

Demigods have faced the odds
And ended up a mockery
Don’t believe the stories that you read on all the crockery
To be a true hero, kid, is a dying art
Like painting a masterpiece, it’s a work of heart
It takes more than sinew
Comes down to what’s in you
You have to continue to grow
Now that’s more like it!

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I’m down to one last shot and my last high note
Before that blasted Underworld gets my goat
My dreams are on you, kid
Go make ’em come true
Climb that uphill slope
Keep pushing that envelope
You’re my one last hope and, kid, it’s up to you!

It’s taken years but Hercules has finally finished his basic training with Phil and he is beyond ready to get off the island so he can become a true hero and return to Mount Olympus! Phil isn’t sure that Hercules is ready, but after a little more begging the satyr decides to take the fledgling hero on a “test run” and go to Thebes, a city with a lot of problems, problems that only a hero could fix.

Next time: Hercules rescues a damsel in distress, faces a hydra and goes from “Zero to Hero.”

Those are my thoughts on “One Last Hope,” another great song from composer Alan Menken. Let me know what you thought of this song in the comments below and as always, thank you for supporting the blog, it means everything to me. Have a great day!

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. More rewards will come in the future!

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Hercules “Gospel Truth” (1997)

Hercules “Gospel Truth II & III” (1997)

Hercules “Go the Distance” (1997)

Disney Soundtracks A-Z

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Hercules “Go the Distance” (1997)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Hercules

Hercules “Go the Distance” (1997)

Fifteen year old Hercules is having a really hard time fitting in, even more so than most teenagers. The gangly teen possesses the strength of an immortal god and has no idea how to control it. And while his mortal parents love him dearly, they have no idea how to help their son control his strength either. Things come to a head when Hercules attempts to insert himself into a discus game, loses control and inadvertently destroys the entire market. This incident (apparently the last of many) is the final straw for the other residents of the town, who warn Amphitryon (Hercules’ adoptive father) to “keep that FREAK away from here!”

Hercules can’t help wanting to agree with that assessment: what is he if not a freak? All he wants is to find a place where he belongs and is welcomed by all. This is the basis for “Go the Distance,” and it is a song that is very close to my heart. See, like Hercules, I had a very hard time fitting in too, and so I’d spend hours and hours daydreaming of finding a place where I really belonged. In Hercules’ mind, if he can find this place of ultimate welcome, he will have “gone the distance.” Like most songs in the Disney Renaissance, “Go the Distance” was composed by Alan Menken with lyrics provided by David Zippel. Roger Bart is the singing voice of Hercules.

Go_the_Distance

I have often dreamed
Of a far off place
Where a great, warm welcome will be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer
When they see my face
And a voice keeps saying
This is where I’m meant to be

I will find my way
I can go the distance
I’ll be there some day
If I can be strong
I know every mile will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere to feel like I belong

But where to start? Well, upon returning home, Hercules’ finds his parents have some news for him: he’s not actually their son. They found him as a baby wearing a medallion with the symbol of the gods on it. This gives Hercules an idea: he can go to the Temple of Zeus and ask the gods for the answers! This leads to the following reprise as Hercules travels on his way:

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Hercules meets Zeus and “Go the Distance (Reprise)” (1997)

I am on my way
I can go the distance
I don’t care how far
Somehow I’ll be strong
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere to find where I belong

And in the immense Temple of Zeus Hercules does indeed find his answers: he’s FAR from normal, in fact, he’s actually a god (what a thing to find out when you’re 15)! The long lost son of Zeus and Hera to be exact! There IS a way that Hercules can come home to Mount Olympus however: he must become a true hero to regain his godhood. And to become a hero…he must seek out Philoctetes, a legendary trainer of heroes.

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But before Hercules leaves, Zeus has a gift for his son: Pegasus, now a fully-grown winged horse! The pair bond instantly, as they did before and now Hercules has a plan: find Philoctetes, become a hero and rejoin the gods on Mount Olympus! The teenager has a final reprise as he flies off on Pegasus into parts unknown:

I will beat the odds
I can go the distance
I will face the world
Fearless, proud and strong
I will please the gods
I can go the distance
Till I find my hero’s welcome
Right where I belong!
Just as the moment ends, the camera pans up to show how close the planets are to alignment (something that will be revisited periodically until the climax of the story). Next time: Hercules and Pegasus meet Philoctetes, who is not quite what they expected.
And that’s “Go the Distance”! I really love this song and I hope you enjoyed it as well.

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. More rewards will come in the future!

You can become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:
Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Hercules “Gospel Truth II & III” (1997)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

hades-lead

At the end of “Gospel Truth I,” we’re taken into Mount Olympus where all the gods have gathered to celebrate the birth of Hercules to head god Zeus and his wife Hera (which is nothing like the actual Greek myth but this is Disney we’re talking about so I can live with it). On top of the amazing gifts the other gods have brought, Zeus creates an infant Pegasus out of a combination of clouds just for Hercules. The touching moment is soured however, when Hades, god of the Underworld (James Woods) makes an unexpected entrance.

Hercules “Gospel Truth II” (1997)

Hades isn’t banned from Olympus per se, in fact Zeus goes so far as to invite the flame-haired god to join the celebration. The thing with Hades is…he’s very bitter over having to “work” as god of the Underworld while the rest of the gods get to lounge about all day on Mount Olympus. And because he’s so bitter, none of the other gods really like him (in fact they use one of Zeus’ jokes as an excuse to laugh him out of Mount Olympus). But if Hades has his way, they won’t be laughing for long, as the Muses return to narrate in “Gospel Truth II” :

If there’s one God you don’t want to get steamed up
It’s Hades, ’cause he had an evil plan
He ran the Underworld
But thought the dead were dull and uncouth

He was as mean as he was ruthless
And that’s the Gospel truth
He had a plan to shake things up
And that’s the Gospel truth

Yes, Hades is Lord of the Underworld but he hates the job and he despises the unending stream of dead souls who flow into his domain. To that end, he’s working on a plan to free the Titans from their prison during a planetary alignment (in 18 years time) and use them as an army to eliminate Zeus and take power. He consults the three Fates to see if this will indeed occur and they assure him: in 18 years his plans will succeed HOWEVER., they caution: “should Hercules fight, you will fail.”

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What the fates have done here is given a prophecy in the style of the famed oracle of Delphi which was famous for a number of reasons but one in particular that I wish to point out: the Oracle had a habit of phrasing it’s predictions in such a way that there was a hidden meaning in the statement. So the Fates have said that if Hercules fights (against Hades), then the plan will fail. To Hades, the solution is obvious: the infant god must be eliminated. However, if one looks deeper, there’s another route that Hades could have gone and it would have worked so much better.

Instead of eliminating the young god and inadvertently putting him on the path of becoming a hero when Pain and Panic bungle the job, Hades could have spent the next 18 years ingratiating himself to his young nephew and turning him against the rest of the gods (Hades is slick enough that you know he could’ve pulled it off) and when the time came, Hercules wouldn’t have fought against him. It’s an interesting what-if scenario but we all know Hades didn’t go this way.

Hercules “Gospel Truth III” (1997)

Hades plan to eliminate Hercules by having him turned mortal and then killed halfway works: Pain and Panic (the traditional bumbling henchmen) do succeed in turning the infant god mortal. However, because he didn’t drink the last drop of a magic formula that made him mortal, the infant retains his immortal strength (but is otherwise like a normal baby). But because Hercules is now a mortal, even though Zeus and Hera know where he is, they can’t bring him home (why Zeus as king of the gods can’t just make his son a god again I’m really not sure). As the Muses narrate for the final time in “Gospel Truth III” :

Muses-from-Hercules-Gravitas

Young Herc was mortal now
But since he did not drink the last drop
He still retained his godlike strength
So thank his lucky star

But Zeus and Hera wept
Because their son could never come home
They’d have to watch their precious baby
Grow up from afar

Though Hades’ horrid plan
Was hatched before Herc cut his first tooth
The boy grew stronger every day
And that’s the gospel truth

The gospel truth

This is the last we see and hear of the Muses until they narrate Hercules’ rise to fame in “Zero to Hero.” From this point on until then we get to follow Hercules as a teenager struggling to fit in with his abnormal strength. I like these segments of “Gospel Truth,” they move the action along and provide exposition without boring the audience. And the soul music style sets Hercules apart from other Disney films.

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And those are my thoughts on “Gospel Truth II & III.” Let me know what you think about these two sequences in the comments below!

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. More rewards will come in the future!

You can become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Hercules “Gospel Truth” (1997)

And for more Disney songs see also: Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Hercules “Gospel Truth” (1997)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

1997-hercules

Hercules was Disney’s take on the legendary demi-god of Greek myth. Originally the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, Hercules is now presented as a full god, the son of Zeus and Hera. Unfortunately, his godhood is short-lived, as the jealous Hades (who secretly wants to overthrow Zeus, go figure), having been informed that a grown Hercules would ruin his plans, decides to have the baby god turned mortal and then killed. Thankfully, his (un)reliable henchmen Pain and Panic botch the job and thus Hercules grows up as an awkward mortal with incredible strength.

Hercules “Gospel Truth” (1997)

But before we get to all of that, there’s a short prologue that begins in what appears to be an old museum filled with the relics of Ancient Greece. The narrator should sound familiar: that’s the legendary Charlton Heston in one of his final roles before he retired from acting in 2003.

Muses-from-Hercules-Yelling-at-Narrator

There are actually nine Muses in Greek mythology, but I’m guessing that the animators wanted to simplify things and cut the number down to five.

With Heston’s voice, the first section of the prologue has a very serious tone until…the Muses (on the Greek vase) interrupt him and inform him that “we’ll take it from here darling.” After that, the entire feel of the prologue changes from serious to…well, a “Disney” feel.

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“Gospel Truth” serves multiple purposes: It introduces the Muses (who narrate various portions of the film), it summarizes how Zeus came into power (by defeating the Titans and imprisoning them) and finally it describes how all the gods live on Mount Olympus. The picture then shifts from a painted image of Mount Olympus to a “live” image that quickly zooms the audience up to the fantastic dwelling of the Greek gods.

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I love this song a lot. Given that this is a film about Ancient Greece, you would not expect to hear songs performed in the “Gospel” style, but it works! It gets a lot of story exposition across without boring the audience. I also love how the song is narrated through art “come to life” that’s done in the style of actual Greek pottery.

ETb-Amphora

Art like this inspired the animators

Trivia Time!

After the dark tone presented in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), the studio practically demanded that the next film be a lot lighter and happier, and so that’s why Hercules is filled with so many comedic moments.

James Woods (the voice of Hades) allegedly enjoyed playing the character so much that he and Disney put a standing arrangement in place where anytime they needed him to voice the character, he would come do it.

Rip Torn (the voice of Zeus) was married to Geraldine Page, who voiced Madame Medusa in The Rescuers (1977).

And that’s my look at the beginning of Disney’s Hercules! Let me know your thoughts about this awesome song in the comments below!

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

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