12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS – A STAR TO GUIDE THEM

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A STAR TO GUIDE THEM
MAIN CAST
Kevin Sorbo (Andromeda)
Michael Hurst (Bitch Slap)
GUEST CAST
Brent Barrett (All My Children)
Jon Brazier (The Piano)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Edward Newborn (The Water Horse)
Denise O’Connell (SShark In The Park)
Kirstie O’Sullivan (Mercy Peak)
On the night before the Winter Solstice, Iolaus has a dream involving some strange imagery: a star, a rock, a tree and a strange pointy object. When he wakes, he tells Hercules that he is going north, Hercules comments on his hands being red. Elsewhere, King Polonius tells his queen Maliphone that the Oracle told him a child “not of the House of Polonius” would succeed him. The queen orders all boys under the age of one to be rounded up. Hercules tells Iolaus he will go north with him and asks Iolaus to explain what is going on. Iolaus says he does not understand it himself. He asks him about the dream and Iolaus says he has never felt so good. Hercules warns him that the gods act in strange ways. Iolaus says he just has to go north. Meanwhile, Trinculos tries to steal some money from another thief, whom he lets go. On the way north, Hercules asks Iolaus how far they have to go, Iolaus responds that when he knows he will tell Hercules. Elsewhere in a nearby village, all the baby boys are being taken by Polonius’ guards. While Hercules rests on a rock, Iolaus says the place feels familiar, even though he has never been there before. He then recognizes the rock as the one from his dream, which spurs him on north.
Elsewhere, Uris is taking his wife Loralei and newborn son away from their village so they will be safe. He tells his wife he has to because of a dream he had. While Hercules and Iolaus stop for a rest and some food, Trinculos comes by and Hercules asks him to join them. Trinculos decides to join them up north and Hercules notices he also has red palms. As the guards attack the village, Uris tells his wife to go to his brother’s house. As they fight, Hercules and the other men join in and begin beating up the guards. Trinculos had been protecting Loralei and the baby. They tell Hercules about Polonius’ order to take all the babies under one year old for census, but they do not believe it. Hercules asks where they are headed and Uris tells says they are going north. Hercules asks to see his hands, which are also red. Hercules remarks on the three men all having the same dream, he tells Iolaus that although his dream is important, the lives of babies are at stake. Iolaus and Trinculos head on to the castle and he takes Uris and his family to safety. The captain of the guards tells the queen about the one child who got away. She says Hera will help them against Hercules. Uris leaves his family in the safety of his brother’s house and Hercules promises to bring him back safely. While Uris and Hercules talk about the dream he mentions the gnarled tree, which looked like it was pointing the way. Hercules and Uris meet up with Iolaus and Trinculos in a tavern.
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They decide to travel through the mountains. When they set off, they see the gnarled tree from their dreams. The group comes to a village, whose babies have not been taken and Hercules leads them to safety. At the castle, Maliphone calls on Hera for help and she is provided with some red warriors. While the group of men travels on, Trinculos begins complaining as he draws something in the sand. Iolaus and Uris help him finish the image. It is the strange pointy object from their dream. Trinculos admits he too had the dream and then goes away from the others. The king and queen are worried about which baby will be the new king. Maliphone orders all the babies to be killed. When the men arrive in a deserted village, Hercules warns them it may not be. Hercules then catches an arrow as it flies towards them. The archer is then knocked unconscious by Trinculos (who by the way has decided to come back). The guards find Loralei and question her about Hercules. Hercules and the others meet up with Hera’s red army and a fight breaks out. Hercules disposes of the red army; Trinculos saves Uris’ life and he returns the favor. With the threat out of the way, all the families are reunited. When Maliphone claims the heir to Bethos is in in her womb, Hercules reminds her that the people can elect their own king without a living heir. Hercules wishes Maliphone a happy exile as she is taken away. The men are glad they have accomplished what they had set out to do, Hercules says maybe it is not the end. The others follow him to the window, where he points out a star. Iolaus says he saw the star in his dream. Hercules suggests he should follow the star. The four men arrive at a house, which appears to be glowing from inside. The men agree that this is what the dream was all about, a sense of calm and peace. Hercules tells Iolaus he feels that “what you are about to witness is bigger and more important than anything we’ve ever done.” Hercules stands by as the three men go inside the house.
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Although it seems strange to see a Christmas episode done for Hercules it actually works because they call it Solciste instead of Christmas. It’s a loose retelling of the 3 wise Men, and it makes for an interesting story for the show.
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REVIEW: HERCULES IN NEW YORK

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Arnold Stang (Dennis)
Deborah Loomis (Foreplay)
James Karen (Wall Street)
Ernest Graves (Another World)
Richard Herd (V)

Hercules, at Olympus, berates his father Zeus for not allowing him to leave the gods’ abode to adventure on earth. Eventually Zeus sends Hercules, on a beam, to the land of men. After some strange encounters in the air and at sea, Hercules arrives in New York City, where hilarity ensues in the form of interactions with various New Yorkers, who regard him as physically superior but socially awkward. He meets a skinny little guy called Pretzie (Arnold Stang). Hercules becomes a successful professional wrestler.

Zeus, watching Hercules from the heights, becomes irritated with Hercules’ antics, which he feels are making a mockery of the gods, and calls on Mercury to stop Hercules. After Mercury makes an unsuccessful attempt to bring Hercules home, Zeus orders Nemesis to see to it that Hercules is consigned to the infernal regions ruled over by Pluto. However, Juno instead convinces Nemesis to poison Hercules with a poison that would strip him of his divinity and then talk to Pluto. Nemesis informs Pluto of what is happening and he bets a large sum of money against Hercules in an upcoming strongman competition with Hercules’ gangster manager.  When Hercules loses the strongman competition his friends try to lead off Hercules’ angry manager’s henchmen, but Hercules follows them to save them.Meanwhile, Zeus uncovers the truth from Nemesis as to what is happening but only intervenes at the last minute to restore Hercules’ divinity, not wanting any son of his to die at the hands of a mortal. Hercules defeats the gangsters and realizes that he has been disobedient and returns to the heavens shortly after, only saying good-bye to Pretzie over a radio after he leaves. In the heavens, Zeus tells Juno and Hercules that he is not going to punish Hercules for his behavior as they ask him about it and then asks to be left alone. They leave him alone, and upon their departure, Zeus sneaks out of the heavens and descends to earth, scaring a passenger jet on his way down.This is simply one of the most hilarious movies you’ll ever see, it’s filled with absurd scenes.  The combination of Arnie, and Pretzie, it’s just magic. Pretzie overacts as badly as you can imagine, Arnie doesn’t act and he does that as badly as you can imagine. But those aren’t the only noteworthy performances in this movie. Check out the refinement of the screaming girl, in the infamous bear-attack scene. There are just so many little things in this movie, little details in every single aspect of this movie, that make this so extremely funny and entertaining. It just ignores even the most basic of things needed for a good movie, and it is exactly  what makes this so good.

REVIEW: HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS – MUMMY DEAREST

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MAIN CAST

Kevin Sorebo (Julia X)

GUEST CAST

Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Robert Trebor (The Devil’s Rejects)
John Watson (The Recruit)

Some time ago, two grave robbers break into an Egyptian tomb to plunder its treasures. While one is eager to take the loot, the other is scared of the curse. The first opens one of the sarcophagi and tells the other that someone will pay good money for what they find.In the present, Hercules is attending a festival being held to scare away the ghost of the king Cecrops. While talking with Phineas, an old friend, a man in Egyptian clothes comes and orders Hercules to leave. He replies that he was invited. A fight breaks out and Hercules beats up the man and some of the others who attacked him. As the fight ends, the Princess Anuket comes and tells Hercules that she has chosen him to find her mummy. Hercules thinks she has lost her mother, but Anuket corrects him. Elsewhere, Salmoneus buys the mummy from one of the looters. He pays ten dinars for it and kisses the headgear, saying that the trinkets alone are worth more than ten dinars. As he walks away, the mummy’s hand begins moving. Anuket tells Hercules that she must find her mummy, but Hercules refuses to help her because she encourages slavery. Angry as Hercules walks out on her, she calls one of her slaves and tells him, “We have work to do.” Meanwhile, Salmoneus takes a delivery of wax, telling the deliveryman that he is planning on opening “Salmoneus’ House of Horrors”. Anuket follows Hercules back to the festivities, she begins flirting with Hercules and charms him into agreeing to find the mummy.The deliveryman is captured and questioned by a group of thugs. The deliveryman tells their leader, Sokar that the mummy is in the “House of Horrors”. Sokar asks the deliveryman about the ankh and he tells him that the curator, Salmoneus is wearing it.Mummy_dearest_08In the marketplace, Hercules is attacked by some more men and he easily subdues them. After beating them, he meets Salmoneus, who wants Hercules to endorse his “House of Horrors”. Hercules declines and goes back to Anuket, she tells him about Sokar, who is also after the mummy: he was her father’s high priest, who wanted to marry her but her father refused. Sokar is watching the princess and Hercules from a distance and orders his men to bring him the mummy. At the “House of Horrors”, Salmoneus is scared by the mummy and tries to run out of the place, but when he sees Sokar’s men coming he wraps himself up in some fabric and the men, mistaking him for the mummy, take him to Sokar. Sokar snatches the ankh from around Salmoneus’ neck and orders him to bring the mummy to him or he will kill him.Mummy_dearest_022Hercules and Anuket go to Cecrops old war room, where they encounter an apparition. Hercules is not convinced of the truth of the ghost: smashing a mirror the ghost is revealed to be a simple illusion. Hercules and Anuket determine that Sokar is behind it. Hercules and Anuket discover that Salmoneus had the mummy all along. When Salmoneus goes to show them the mummy, the mummy is missing. Anuket says that if the mummy consumes human life, it will become a monster and Sokar will have control over it. Hercules says they need to find it before that can happen. They follow the mummy into the old war room, but Anuket soon disappears. The mummy comes and attacks Hercules, who throws it into a pit, soon discovering that Anuket is in the pit also. Salmoneus, scared by a rat, accidentally knocks Hercules into the pit too. Sokar captures Anuket once more, leaving Hercules to fight the mummy again. Hercules manages to restrain the mummy by trapping it in an iron maiden. Back in the town, Salmoneus dresses everyone up as mummies in order to fool Sokar’s men. Hercules fights the Egyptian men again and Anuket’s slave saves her life by taking a blade, which was meant for her. he mummy has broken free and returns to the town, where it drains Sokar’s life force. Hercules grabs the mummy’s bandages and spins it into a boiling pot of “witches brew.” As Anuket goes to the slave who saved her life, he asks her to let him die a free man: she allows this and vows that there will be no more slaves in Egypt. While Hercules and Anuket say their goodbyes, she offers Hercules the ankh, but he says he cannot accept it and she gives him a kiss instead. Salmoneus says he has given up on the “House of Horrors” but then Hercules gives him the idea of a “House of Heroes”. Meanwhile, some of the townspeople are dragging the mummy away and the scene closes on the mummy’s hand moving.

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A Classic season 3 episode, it had just enough action and just enough humor to keep a viewer entertained

REVIEW: X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – SEASON 1-5

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CAST

Cedric Smith (Mutant X)
Norm Spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Catherine Disher (The Good Witch)
Cathal J. Dodd (Goosebumps)
Iona Morris (Robotech)
Alison Sealy-Smith (This Is Wonderland)
Chris Potter (The Waiting Game)
Tony Daniels (Yin Yang Yo!)
Alyson Court (Elvis Meets Nixon)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
Lawrence Bayne (Highlander: TAS)
Barry Flatman (Odyssey 5)
Richard Epcar (Power Rangers)
David Hemblen (Earth: Final Conflict)
Don Francks (La Femme Nikita)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Len Carlson (Swamp Thing: TAS)
Susan Roman (The Racoons)
Dennis Akiyama (Pxiels)
Nigel Bennett (Andromeda)
Maurice Dean Wint (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)

 

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I recently watched through the entire 90’s x-men Animated Series for the first time. So does the show hold up for someone who didn’t watch it when it first aired? Is it still a good show? Overall, the show is really good. It was also revolutionary as it was one of the first animated TV shows to have a continuing storyline throughout the first few seasons.

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Rather than creating exclusively new story lines, the show based most of its episodes on well known events from the comics. Stuff like the ultra-famous dark phoenix saga all the way to a modified version of Days of Future Past that included the time traveling mutant Bishop. Most of the episodes changed details here and there to keep thing simple, but the basic premise remains the same.

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The animation is a mixed bag. On the one hand, still shots look very good for a 90s cartoon. Both characters and environments are finely detailed and even facial expressions are usually well done. On the other hand, it doesn’t look too good in motion. The frame-rate is often choppy and at times characters in the background are just standing still. There are occasional continuity errors as well, like characters swapping outfits between shots (the episode titled “Nightcrawler” comes to mind).

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Characters are generally portrayed well in the TV show. The main team consists of Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Gambit, Rogue, and Jubilee. Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and Gambit are all portrayed well in the show. I found some of their voice actors were a little off-putting at first, but as I watched they grew on me. Rogue probably has the best voice acting of the bunch.

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I wasn’t quite as fond with the portrayal of Storm or Jubilee however. Storm was alright, but having her constantly talk about what she was commanding the weather to do is annoying at times. Does she have to verbally command the wind every time she blasts enemies with it? I get that she’s a bit of a showoff and that’s part of her charm, but still.

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The show has a great spotlight of different villains as well. It features everyone from mega villains like Magneto, Mr. Sinister, and Apocalypse to smaller villains like Vertigo, the Juggernaut, and even the Brood. The show even mentions the Juggernaut’s relationship to Xavier (they’re step brothers). Mr. Sinister in particular is very well portrayed in the series, and we even get an origins episode in season five (heavily modified of course).

If you have any interest in the X-men and want to try out the comics, this is a decent show for finding out some of the franchises back-story. It’s rarely as good as the original stories it’s based on, but it’s easier to find and for the most part, it’s an easy watch.

REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF HERCULES

 

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CAST

Kellan Lutz (Twilight)
Gaia Weiss (Vikings)
Scott Adkins (Universal Soldier 4)
Roxanne McKee (Wrong Turn 5)
Liam Garrigan (Once Upon A Time)
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
Rade Serbedzija (Batman Begins)
Jonathan Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Luke Newberry (In The Flesh)

In 1200 BC ancient Greece, King Amphitryon of Tiryns invades Argos. Amphitryon eventually fights rival King Galenus in personal combat, killing Galenus and seizing his kingdom. Queen Alcmene is disgusted by her husband’s thirst for power and warmongering. She prays to Hera for guidance and Hera, wife of Zeus, tells her that she will allow Zeus to impregnate Alcemene with the savior of her people, a demi-god son to be named Hercules. The only other witness to this is Chiron, the queen’s loyal adviser. Amphitryon names his new “son” Alcides, though Alcmene secretly acknowledges his true name as Hercules. Twenty years later, Prince Alcides (Hercules) is the lover of Princess Hebe of Crete. Hercules and his older brother, Prince Iphicles, are attacked by a lion, which Hercules wrestles and kills. Iphicles takes all the credit and arrives at a royal banquet wearing the lion’s pelt as a cloak and calls his brother a coward, though Hebe sees through this lie. At the banquet Amphitryon announces the engagement of Hebe and Iphicles, while Hercules is sent away to a military campaign in Egypt.

Alcemene tells him of his true lineage and that his name is Hercules, not Alcides. Hercules vows to return to Hebe in three moons, before her impending nuptials. He joins the command of Captain Sotiris in the Egyptian desert, where their small company is ambushed, leaving “Alcides” and Sotiris as the last survivors. When the leader of the ambush demands to know where the prince is, Sotiris gestures to the body of a slain soldier, while Hercules finally uses his gods-given name to conceal his identity as the prince. It is revealed that Amphitryon arranged the ambush to eliminate Hercules. The two are sold off as slaves to a promoter of gladiator style fights, where they excel. The two ask the promoter to take them to Greece to fight in an arena battle, where the two will fight six undefeated gladiators and potentially make the promoter a wildly rich man. When Sotiris is injured in a battle before leaving for Greece, Hercules convinces the promoter to set Sotiris free and he will fight all six gladiators himself. Sotiris secretly follows him to Greece.

Alcmene and Hebe mourn the death of Alcides/Hercules. When Alcmene seeks guidance from Hera, Amphitryon discovers her and learns the truth of Hercules’ parentage and that he is fated to overthrow him. Amphitryon stabs Alcmene with her own dagger, then tells Chiron that the Queen committed suicide in her grief. Meanwhile, Hercules arrives in Greece and easily beats the six gladiators in battle. The people celebrate his victory and deserters of Amphitryon’s army join him and Sotiris.Hebe is in anguish after the death of Alcides and dreads her pending wedding to Iphicles She tries to leap off the roof of the palace but is saved by Chiron who brings her to Hercules. Amphitryon’s army begins to desert him, forcing him to hire foreign mercenaries when Hercules and Sotiris begin a fight against Amphitryon’s campaign of tyranny. Iphicles threatens Sotiris’ son’s life, forcing Sotiris to lead him to Hercules. Iphicles is surprised to discover that Hercules is Alcides. Hercules is chained and publicly flogged, then watches in horror as Iphicles murders Chiron under Amphitryon’s orders. In anguish he acknowledges Zeus as his father and calls upon him for strength. Hercules breaks free from his chains and kills Amphitryon’s guard, though Amphitryon and Iphicles escape.Hercules and Sotiris raise an army and storm Amphitryon’s palace. Amphitryon’s palace guard join Hercules and his army and they battle Amphitryon’s mercenaries. Hercules calls upon his father who infuses his sword with the power of lightning. Hercules defeats the mercenaries with his lightning sword, then meets Amphitryon in personal combat. Hercules nearly defeats Amphitryon but Iphicles holds Hebe hostage and threatens to kill her if Hercules does not let Amphitryon go. Hercules hesitates but Hebe thrusts the dagger through her shoulder, killing Iphicles. Hercules finally avenges Alcmene’s death and kills Amphitryon with the same blade that killed his mother. Hercules rushes to Hebe’s side as she slowly drifts into unconsciousness. Nearly a year later, the cries of a baby are heard, Hercules’ and Hebe’s baby boy. That night, he watches over his kingdom, finally fulfilling his destiny.After listening to all the bad reviews and press this movie has had, I didn’t fancy it much. Having watched it, I’m glad that I did. It may not have big named stars but it is of no consequence as the movie is entertaining and action packed.

REVIEW: THE MIGHTY THOR (1966)

CAST (VOICES)

Bernard Cowan (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea)
Peg Dixon (Strange Paradise)
Chris Wiggins (Babar)
Len Carlson (Cypher)

With the big screen adaptations of Thor proving to be both a critical and commercial success, Clear Vision  re-released the 1966 animated series of The Mighty Thor on DVD. The series was a part of a nightly run of programming for Marvel animated series, with five key Marvel characters having their own night to showcase their adventures. Of course, Thor was aired on Thursdays.

Thirteen episodes are collected on two discs and cover a range of Thor’s greatest enemies, although Loki does dominate proceedings throughout, particularly on disc one, where the format appears to be Thor minds his own business on Earth trying to woo Jane Foster, whilst under the guise of Dr. Donald Blake. Of course, Loki can’t leave our hero be and decides to come up with various schemes to put Thor in danger or discredit him. Of course, Thor, often on the brink of defeat, manages to defeat Loki, and with the help of Odin, banishes him to imprisonment he won’t be able to escape. Well, until the next episode at least.

Given that the first disc is rather formulaic, it hardly makes for compelling viewing and much of the enjoyment is gleamed from the fantastic art work. Disc two is where the series really hits its stride, mainly as it breaks from the formula and introduces an array of antagonists for Thor to face off against. Loki still makes appearances, and Odin’s displeasure at Thor’s relationship with a mortal is still evident in every episode, but having the focus on other antagonists is a refreshing change.

The final episode will, no doubt, be the one of most interesting to the majority of the target audience, as it brings together the members of The Avengers as they face off against the Lava Men. The episode itself features a muddled plot and resolves itself a little too quickly for you to really register what’s happened, but seeing all of the characters work together against an antagonist that isn’t Loki is a nice change.

Most of the voice work is great, particularly Thor, Odin and the other inhabitants of Asgard. However, Loki is a weak link.

The series is more like a motion comic than a full animated series, but is still a rather charming piece of work that will surely be of great interest to those who have strong feelings of nostalgia for the series. There are times where mouths move during dialogue-heavy sections and motion is hinted at, but mostly it’s a collection of frames, and once you get used to it, it’s barely noticeable.

REVIEW: HERCULES & XENA: THE ANIMATED MOVIE: THE BATTLE FOR MOUNT OLYMPUS

 

MAIN CAST

Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Kevin Sorbo (Julia X)
Renee O’ Connor (Boogeyman 2)
Michael Hurst (Bitch Slap)
Kevin Smith (Jubilee)
Alexandra Tydings (Sunchaser)
Josephine Davison (Power Rangers SPD)
Alison Wall (Funny Business)
Ted Raimi (Spider-Man)Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus movie scenes Hercules and Xena The Animated Movie The Battle for Mount Olympus 1998 an awesome animated movie If you like Hercules and Xena and the TV series

Sam Raimi’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys  and Xena: Warrior Princess  of the same year has left fond memories for many small screen audiences. Kevin Sorbo had a way of being a very macho convincing Hercules, while Lucy Lawless gave a kick-ass performence. Both series combined action, wit, likable characters and story lines that reeled in fans. Interestingly enough, some people aren’t familiar that Universal Studios released an animated cartoon feature of these two famous characters. And compared to many other animated features that have been released, it does have its flaws but it still is fun.

The title, (although a mouthful) explains itself. Xena and Hercules will battle for Mount Olympus. Simple as that. The four elemental titans attack the Immortal Gods and its up to Earth’s mightiest heroes to fend them off. However, what differs is that John Loy (the writer) was smart and stuck to Sam Raimi’s story line where Hera (Hercules’ immortal step-mother) is the one who unleashes the titans. Thankfully, along with the writing, the actors who play the characters in the live-action series came back to voice their cartoon counterparts as well. The last couple of parts that help make the watching experience enjoyable were the action and music. The title doesn’t lie, there is plenty of battle moments in this movie. And for a PG film, it has some tense moments. Either way that’s effective. And since this is a Raimi production, composer Joseph LoDuca should be expected to be on board – which he was and his score is effective for each scene.

Some viewers may not appreciate the animation. At points it can look choppy even though the action scenes are exceptionally good. The main characters are drawn appropriately but it also seems like that’s the only other place all the effort that was put into. Everything else from the background pieces to the minor characters weren’t given much attention. Some characters from head to toe are one full color. That can come off as cheap and lazy. The dimensions of this world are very flat and too squared off in some areas. Along with that are some very strange flaws in continuity. It’s not always obvious, but when noticed, it is baffling. It really depends on the opinion of the viewer and what you’re interested in seeing. For the most part, fans of the Hercules and Xena TV series should enjoy this animated feature. It’s animation certainly isn’t as polished like Disney’s but the voice cast makes it work along with some fun action and music.