Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 1 Episode 1

Hercules and the Amazon Women

10
Aired Monday 5:00 PM Apr 25, 1994 on USA
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

8.9
out of 10
Average
50 votes
  • First episode, first Legendary Journey, First time Iolaus dies... what's not to like?

    8.3
    This is a very good beginning to a great – though camp – show. The actual story takes its sweet time in developing; first the characters and their situations have to be introduced at top speed (the battle with the Hydra, though great as an action scene, doesn’t really fit into the plot at all, apart from establishing Hera as The Villain), to clear the field for the action. But once that’s out of the way, the story moves more smoothly. Sadly, this also takes Iolaus out of the action pretty quick, in the first of Michael Hurst’s many on-screen deaths in the series.

    Kevin Sorbo, though perhaps his acting might not be to everybody's taste, is in my opinion a perfect choice for Hercules. His magnetic and impressive physical presence and his deadpan delivery of humorous oneliners endeared him to me instantly. Michael Hurst as best friend Iolaus stole my heart straight away, and he remained my favourite all through the series. These two actors have a great dynamic between them that works perfectly for the relationship they are supposed to portray. I like especially that at the beginning of the movie, the relationship between Hercules and Iolaus has already been established. It’s not like they meet for the first time in the first episode and gradually develop a friendship; these are two guys who have been friends all their lives and simply see each other again after a long time apart.

    Anthony Quinn is my favourite choice for Zeus – I wish they could have kept him for the whole series. That was one thing that bugged me: the constant changing of actors for the same part. It’s confusing and pretty annoying. Like the actress who plays Hercules’ mother in this, and who doesn’t even look remotely like the other Alcmenes we’ll see later in the series.
  • village people come to hercules 4 help.place full of women.they raid on the men village to breed.when the women give birth they keep the girls only.hercules go there,falls in love for their queen and convinces her that men and women need each other

    9.5
    it is very nice and exciting episodes .
    it makes y wonder what will happen next .
    i really got so fund of kevin sorbo and his acting he really did took my breath away. i felt that i was there with him seeing every single adventure.i also wiched that they could make these episodes for ever.
    kevin sorbo was a good choice as an actor. he is hansom and muscled . ilos also was very good as a fellow funny and couragous. and for the rest of the team they were good.
    it was also good mix of graphics and fiction and fantacy.
  • Hercules' Legendary Journeys begin

    9.5
    I first saw this movie on TV as a kid though I only vaguely remember it. It was just something I caught one day that caught and kept my attention. I honestly forgot it was a Hercules' Legendary Journeys movie until I popped it in the ol' DVD player and the film started. Even watching it now (in the context of being a fan of the series and it's spin-offs) it's still something that kept my attention. The plot of this film is pretty basic to the Herc (and later Xena) formula. Hercules is asked by a scared villager to come save his village from a beast in what will become the "Villain of the week" style. Iolaus, due to be married (what happened to the wife? When did he have a wife?) decides to accompany Hercules on this one last mission before committing to his wife and gets killed by the beast who turn out to be (drum roll please) WOMEN. Amazon Women, who apparently keep these weak little men like cattle entrapped in their small village for the purpose of breeding. They keep the girl children and drop the boys off at the riverside for the Men to pick up. Despite Hercules' best buddy getting murdered and Hercules himeslf being captured by the Amazons and essentially humiliated by this tribe of women, he falls for the queen and eventually convinces her that men aren't as bad as she believes. In turn, the bumbling men of the village convince the rest of the Amazon's of the same thing. And Zeus, ever the philanderer (hey, we get to see where Ares gets it from) cast quite a spell over Lysia (Lucy Lawless) one of the most hard nosed "anti-men" Amazons of the bunch. But Hera isn't happy that her "chosen" warrior women are getting more than, well, breeding from the chosen cattle of breeding partners. So she takes over the body of the Queen, forcing a fight between Hercules and his love-of-the-week. To say the least, things go bad and Hercules ask daddy to fix it and he does (saving Herc's buddy from the death in the process).

    The characters of Hercules & Iolaus were nicely established here. Though they hardly ever had the emotional power as a pair that Xena and Gabrielle did, they are really fun to watch together. You buy the fact that they're old friends and grew up together. I adored the completely adorable flashback scene with the two as small boys training at a pre-academy of a sort. It's funny to me that in "Young Hercules" (the movie) they aren't initally friends (even though they obviously know each other). It's possible when Iolaus got involved with his gang and developed a fondness for illegal activity there was a parting of the ways. They have known each other since childhood after all and sometimes you fall in and out with your friends. It's not a continuity issue, but you wonder how little boys so close got so far away as teenagers. All in all, I forgot how much I liked Iolaus until I started re-watching Hercules. Even in the eps he carried on his own, he was a joy to watch. It was sad he died so early in the story.

    Hercules himself is established as a generally good man, but with some very sexist views. At one point (after being attacked by a beast sent after him by Hera) he declares that "this is what happens when woman gets too much power". It seems unusual for Hercules to say this when obviously his mother is someone who's had to get by on her own and pretty much raised him alone as Zeus wasn't really there. Still, with him in the limelight as Zeus' favorite son you can see how he would have developed these views from his dad. I have to wonder when Zeus became a regular visitor in Alcmene and his son's life as Young Hercules (both the movie and TV show) establish a Hercules and Alcmene very much abandoned by Zeus once he, well, had his good time and made a baby. But this movie alone would make you think the guy was around a lot or at least enough that his young son would have known him when he was looking at him. But Young Hercules always had such a hunger for his father's attention, I could see him embracing easily this kind of relationship even if he didn't really know him until he reached adulthood. As Herc accepts that women deserve equality very easily (after meeting the Amazon queen) and shows sympathy for the reasons they've divided from the men he overcomes any early sexist-seeming (Zeus influenced) ideas early on. Hera appears only as a "force of evil". Despite not having a human-like form, she's pretty much the active Villain in Hercules life for not only the majority of the movies, but the start of the series. Hera works better as a "force of evil" so I like that she's never fully formed in a human form where as Zues (by contrast) is seen as very human. Speaking of Zeus - I know everyone loves Anthony Quinn's Zeus - I, however, don't like that he's so old. I mean brilliant actor, great charisma and all that, but Zeus is suppose to be an ageless being and I thought Quinn just looked too old. Of course, it is adorable how he gets on with and breaks through the shell that is the hard-nosed Amazon Lysia, but I would have liked a younger Zeus who, at most, looked a handful of years older than Hercules.

    The Amazons (my loves) are well done for the most part. This first appearance establish a lot of who they will be through the entire Hercules/Xena-verse. Things like the disguise of Animal Mask, a fondness for tree climbing, and movements that focus on swiftness and agility. It actually makes sense, since male warriors are known for the "might" factor (basically the biggest muscle wins in the end) that Amazons as women would focus on agility and swiftness and use weapons that capture and bind their opponent at a distance. These are things that can render muscle itself useless. This is what made Xena very different then Amazons. Xena was uber butch and seemed into usng muscle where as Amazon fighting styles seem built to defeat the warrior dependent on such moves. Luckily Xena was smart and adopted every new fighting style she came across into her "skill bag". Unfortunately, there isn't much fighting to be done by the Amazons as the men of the village are not in any way, shape, or form fighters. It's kind of weird how unbalanced it all is. Not because the men are all, well, weak, but because they are all these plain-ol average joe types. By contrast, nearly all the Amazons are not only brilliant warriors, but breathtakingly gorgeous women. You'd think there would be at least one plain jane in the lot.

    Chief among the beautys is the initially vicious and cold-hearted Lysia played by the incredible Lucy Lawless. Lucy Lawless is a brilliant actress and it's no wonder she made such a splash as Xena. Even watching her here you can see the strength to carry a series in her. It's hard to believe she was second choice to be so. What's weird is, despite Lysia being this warrior chick with a chip on her shoulder she's NOTHING like Xena. There's not a bit of Xena in her. If anything, I'm reminded of Amarice (Xenaverse) when I see her here. Speaking of Xenaverse, I sqeed for joy when I saw the kid who would later play Xena's son Solan among the male village youth. And (quite a shock to me) the actor who played Hower in the classic Xena episode "A Day in the Life" is among the "average joe" village men. As a fan of Young Herc though, I am astounded at how much they did in that series that contradicted Big Herc. In Young Hercules, Herc (along with Iolaus) not only knew a tribe of Amazons, but dated an Amazon Queen before. Not to mention Hercules attended Chiron's Academy with not one, but two female warriors (Lilith from the series and Yvenna in the Young Herc movie). At least one of these women (Lilith) trained with Amazons as well as at the Academy. Iolaus sheer surprise at seeing "women" who were so obviously an Amazon tribe of some sort seems out of sync with the fact that as a boy he knew a whole tribe of Amazon women. But again, this is a flaw of Young Herc's inattentiveness to continuity.

    It also bothers me (very slightly, not powerfully) in the wide scope of both series that Hera is played as the "Goddess of the Amazons" in this film. According to the Xenaverse Artemis (Warrior Goddess of the Hunt) is the chosen God of worship for the Amazons. It is perhaps possible that all Amazon's don't worship the same goddess. And seeing as most of the Amazon tribe's we see later are not keeping an enclosed cattle of men for breeding purposes, the women in this movie may be Hera's "special" group of Amazons and Hera's own corrupted version of Amazonian tribalness (is that a word?). As according to Xena's "Lifeblood" and "Kindred spirits" episodes, the absence of men among the original Amazons was because they were all Killed (forcing the remaining women to become warriors in their absence) and deciding to no longer "take men as members of their tribe" was an act of honor to the dead males of the tribe. Of course, it's been stated many times throughout the series' trilogy of shows that there was a break among the Amazons and a scattering of tribes resulted. As Young Hercules' Cyanne said once when speaking about the Amazons and their ways "I only speak for my own tribe of course" and she herself was at war with another Amazonian tribe at one point.

    All in all, despite some head scratching moments (continutity wise), I loved this movie.
  • Hercules is called upon to save a village from vicious 'monsters', who turn out to be Amazon women that are attacking the remaining men, in this reasonable if not quite perfect first of five 'Hercules' TV Movie adventures that led to the popular series.

    8.3
    So, this is the first adventure. And it's quite a good one.

    Kevin Sorbo does the job in the role of Hercules. With respect to him, while reasonable, the acting isn't out of this world, but he doesn't do at all badly in the role, and he fits the part and the tone of the series. I have certainly seen worse in such series (including the several short-lived 'Hercules' and 'Xena' wannabes that appeared in the late 1990s). I really like how Iolaus and Hercules are introduced, and in just one short scene you really believe that they have been friends since childhood and have gone through many adventures together. Although in my opinion their partnership was eclipsed by Xena and Gabrielle, the pair still work well together. Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst work well off of each other, and the Hercules / Iolaus duo livened up a number of the series' more so-so episodes. In this story, Hercules wears a brown top, as opposed to his regular yellow one. He seems to wear it over his regular top, as the yellow one can be seen underneath, and in one scene when he is captured he wears just the yellow one. I think they should have alternated between the yellow and brown tops in the series - surely Hercules can't have just one top in his wardrobe?

    I absolutely love Hercules' (and Iolaus') battle with the Hydra; it is my favourite sequence of the entire movie. Indeed, it has very little to do with the main plot, other than establishing that Hera has many monsters at her disposal to try and kill Hercules, but even so I really like it. It is a great action sequence, and something that I would have liked to have seen more of when the series later often got bogged down in slower, wordier plots, and one-too-many comical, "wacky" episodes. Also to note is that the little girl that transforms into the Hydra is played by the same young actress who would be Hercules' young daughter in 'Hercules in the Underworld' and 'Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur'.

    Anthony Quinn is great as Zeus; as others have commented, it's a real shame they couldn't get him to do the following series, even if it was just in a few cameo appearances. The several actors that would later take over the role in the series proper just did not really have the presence that Quinn emits in the role.

    Hercules' mother Alcmene, meanwhile, is played by a different actress, Jennifer Ludlam – in the series she would be played by several other actresses, most commonly Elizabeth Hawthorne. Although noticeable to the more dedicated viewer, it doesn't really make much difference to the overall story.

    In Hercules and Iolaus' initial encounter with the Amazons, Iolaus is killed. Watching this as the first episode of the line, the casual viewer is quite likely to think that Iolaus was nothing more than a plot device; and little realising of the key part he would play in the franchise. He actually gets killed quite suddenly and, bearing in mind that this is the first time we have seen him, we at this point haven't fully got to know him, and upon first viewing might not care as much as we should when he dies.

    When Hercules is captured, it is maybe a bit predictable that he becomes romantically involved with Hippolyta, and the plot slows a little, getting slightly too wordy and dragged out in my opinion; the pacing needed to be tightened a bit. I think it might have been better if Iolaus had been allowed to live longer, maybe allowing for some kind of sub-plot to beef up the middle of the story a bit.

    Lysia is played by Lucy Lawless, who would, of course, go on to play the massively popular Xena. She plays the role of Lysia well, although at the same time it's hard to single her out.

    Plot-wise, the 'men are better than women' undertones foreshadowing the story are quite heavy but not over the top. And although he ends up trying to resolve the situation, Hercules comes across as slightly more arrogant and even slightly more sexist than would become the norm, but this is acceptable as a) it is part of the 'equal sexes' story, and in fairness b) it is Sorbo's first time in the role.

    [spoiler] I felt that the conclusion of the story, with things around Hercules effectively going back in time and being undone, was a real a cop out, and to some extent spoilt the tale. It reminded me of some of those old 1930s cartoons where people would have amazing adventures, only to wake up and find it was all a dream. And if Zeus could undo events this time – even if he is very reluctant – why didn't he do so in other, arguably even worse situations?! But I suppose they had to resolve it somehow, and after all, we needed Iolaus back alive! It did, however, pose unanswered questions - as things have effectively gone back in time, does it mean that the problem with the Amazons and the remaining men in the village still exists?!? [End of spoiler]

    This was actually the second of the five Hercules 'action pack' movies that I saw originally. For some reason (here in the U.K.), 'Hercules and The Lost Kingdom' was released on VHS first and this one second. (They didn't, bar 'Hercules and The Circle of Fire', appear on Channel 5 until a while later, although they were already running the regular series).

    All-in-all... although it does have its moments where the pacing should be been tightened, this is a very reasonable and watchable first story. Sadly though, the solution to the tale rather spoils things for me, and even beyond that, other than the final movie, 'Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur' being essentially a clip show, I might go as far to say that this movie is my least favourite of the original five features. But that's not to say it doesn't have its moments! Things would really get going, in my opinion, in the next adventure, 'Hercules and the Lost Kingdom'...
  • A great movie, I'm just sorry Iolaus wasn't in it more.

    10
    I am a big Hercules fan. I still remember watching this show back when it was still on the air, but now I have to watch them on dvd.

    I loved this movie, but I didn't think Iolaus played a very big part in it and to tell you the truth, I thought he acted kind of stupid. I guess that's why he didn't last very long.

    I knew of course that Hercules was going to have to go back in time some how, because Iolaus has to be around for the tv show. Sure enough, everything turns out in the end. It was a great episode/movie.
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