Hercules, mythical hero in the hands of Walt Disney studios : defeat

Hercules, mythical hero in the hands of Walt Disney studios: defeat
or victory ?
Ulysses, Homer, Achilles, Paris, Hector and of course, Heracles
(Hercules): all those great mythical heroes have gone down in history for their
great feats and acts of bravery, but also for their not so commendable acts of
treachery and ignominious foxiness! The Iliad and the Odyssey, then the later
works of Sophocles and ulterior writers have bequeathed us whole
anthologies, filled with tales of memorable times.
But we should already point out, as observers are wont to say, that
historians somehow make history: what they say, what they comment, and
what they write about an event, whether it be true to nature or fantasized,
usually becomes fact. In this respect, what we have received as “the true
history” of Heracles, a.k.a. Hercules, is largely the product of vivid imagination.
As a consequence, when the Disney Studios take Hercules’ story and
distort it quite a bit, or misrepresent it from a historical standpoint, they are not
perverting it! Quite the contrary I think!
It’s true Hercules wasn’t born from Zeus and Hera, but he was born out
of wedlock from unfaithful Zeus and a mortal woman, Alcmene. His sworn
enemy was not Hades, king of the Underworld, but his very step-mother, Hera!
In actual history, he was born a mortal demi-God, whereas Disney “ungodded”
him, or made him a mortal after he drank the poison administered by Hades’
minions. Thankfully, he “did not drink the last drop!”
In the animation movie, his rise to stardom after he completes his 12
labours looks like a piece of cake, an easy actuation after he has received
Philoctetes’ training. Here is thus a Greek Rocky Balboa, “going the distance”
and completing his 12 rounds thanks to Mickey, his coach. Sadly, Philoctetes
never trained Heracles! He barely met him towards the very end of his life, was
witness to Heracles’ immolation and subsequent death, then retrieved his bow
and arrows, which would eventually allow for the Greek victory against Troy.
But what do we care about historical semblance and chronology?
What’s the matter with anachronisms? (“That’s the Gospel truth”) What does it
matter that Achilles’ defeat, because of his weak ankle’s sinew, occurred
AFTER Hercules’ time? Is it really that bad that Disney completely rewrites
Hercules killing his first wife, Megara, and their kids, only to seek absolution
through his 12 labours, then to remarry with his second wife, Dejanira, who will
ultimately cause his death out of mistaken jealousy?
Well, I think not. Disney has served us with 1h30 of pleasurable cinema;
we get carried away by the funny and high-paced music; we enjoy putting
ourselves in Heracles’ “AIR HERC” shoes, we identify with his universal quest
for belonging. Most of all, because we love being sentimental, our heart races
when we fear for Hercules and Megara’s prevaricated love story, and feel
content when “all is well that ends well” (another anachronism, thank our lucky
William Shakespeare!)
Yes indeed, the fearless, proud and strong Hercules / Walt Disney has
painted us a true masterpiece, a work of art... and of heart!