Yes, this movie strays far from actual Greek mythology, but I don’t care what you say—to me, the Muses will always be five sassy black women.
This really is an exceptionally clever film. Incorporating gospel-style music with the worship of the Greek gods alone makes this movie awesome…plus it has Paul Shaffer.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: I don’t know what it is about the swirly man-nipples in this movie, but they make me uncomfortable.
So gospel parallels are all over the place with this movie, given that Hercules is the part-mortal son of a god, but if you listen carefully to the narration at the beginning, you’ll hear the story’s ultimate question:
What is the measure of a true hero?
After Hercules defeats an array of monsters with his own wit and strength, he confidently approaches his father, Zeus, and tells him he has become a hero. But Zeus tells Hercules he still isn’t a true hero.
As a kid I worshipped a group of professional athletes known as the Utah Jazz. I was glued to the TV when they made it to the NBA finals two years in a row and would practice shooting hoops in my driveway during commercial breaks. Without question, those athletes were my heroes.
Meanwhile my father worked long hours (and multiple jobs) to make ends meet. And when he wasn’t spending time with our family he was volunteering as an unpaid minister. He was out many evenings visiting those who needed help and teaching people how to strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ.
On more than one occasion I remember overhearing teenagers in my neighborhood sobbing on our front porch while my father listened to their social and family problems.
There was scarcely a Thanksgiving or Christmas when we didn’t have at least two or three visitors my father had invited who had nowhere else to spend the holidays.
It didn’t take too long before I realized, like Hercules, that my definition of “hero” was slightly insufficient, and that I already had a hero with “god-like strength” living in my own home.
In the words of Zeus:
A hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.
And that’s the gospel truth. [Cue the Muses…]
“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart…” – Psalm 73:26