Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 1 Episode 1

Hercules and the Amazon Women

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

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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  • 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.

    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'...