Hercules and Xena:

The Battle For Mount Olympus

Date of release 6.01.98

This full-length animated feature from Universal has definite appeal for Hercules fans.

Screenplay by John Loy
Directed by Lynne Naylor
Music by Joseph Lo Duca
Art Directors: Scott Morse, Christina Long, Lynne Naylor
Executive Producers: Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert

80 minutes, Rated PG

 

Rob Tapert (producer): "When we began working on Hercules four years ago, we heard within a month or so of starting that Disney was doing an animated Hercules for 1997, and we thought, 'Oh, we have a lifetime to get this to the screen'! I think the reason our animated project got made was for identification, because it goes the other way as well. The animation is totally different from Disney's and my hope is that the story is slightly more adult; it's about the death of Alcmene, but it still has a basic six-to 12-year-old appeal. It has three songs in it, one about being the wounded hero, the bad guy song and the standard animated fare for the kids. We have a different and really cool style of animation, and behind it, there's more of an adult story." (12.97 Starlog #245)
 
Rob Tapert: "It was a good learning experience in animation for us, because there is some stuff that I loved - and some stuff that I just have to close my eyes for. I wish they'd let us do another, because now I know what I would do differently. I would disregard any 'kid' aspect to it. I thought they did a nice job with Xena but I think Hercules, Gabrielle and Iolaus were all not very interestingly drawn. They tried something with color backgrounds that just made it look cheesy, like '60s animation. But there were some really beautiful sequences in it, too." (22.10.99 Femme Fatales)

 

18.08.97 - Video Business (trade mag)

upcoming advertising campaign for the Herc/Xena animated movie.

 

Kevin Sorbo posing close to lifesize standee of Herc from the movie with a half-serious/half-smirk look.

Photo by courtesy of Matt

 

If you have seen H:TLJ's episode "Yes, Virginia, there is a Hercules", you may remember that part of great discussion between Renaissance staff, where they mentioned cartoon based on series' main characters. They really did it! Thanks to Olympic Gods - not instead of the series...

 

(04).97 Mr.Showbiz

Q: And what about the Hercules-Xena cartoon?
Kevin Sorbo: Lucy [Lawless] and I had a ball doing that. They like it so much that they've already scheduled two more. This first will come out in October. We'll voice-over the next one probably in July, and that'll probably come out the following autumn.
Q: Why a cartoon instead of a live-action film?
Kevin Sorbo: Just a different market. And let's face it, there's more things you can do with a cartoon character than with real humans!

 

12.97 Dreamwatch #39

Q: As hectic as Kevin and Lucy's schedules are, how did they manage to sandwich in the voiceover work in 'The Battle for Mount Olympus'?
Rob Tapert: They did the voiceover work in June and July of last year [1996]. They did it on weekends and it took about eight days.

 

9.07.97 Ultimate TV Chat

Q: Ms.Lawless, how long you studied opera, and did that help to have that background when you prepared to do the singing of the 'Battle for Mount Olympus?'
Lucy Lawless: I went from ages 15-18 which is way too young to get into opera. I think it killed me a little bit... because before that, I was singing.
Kevin Sorbo: The problem with opera is, during the lessons you might fall asleep.

 

26.07.97 Billboard
Hercules And Xena Add Muscle To VSDA Confab
by Elieen Fitzpatrik

If anyone attending the Video Software Dealers Assn. (VSDA) Convention July 9-12 hadn't heard of Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless, aka Hercules and Xena (each show reaches both an adult and a kid audience, and in syndication they outscore "Baywatch" and "Deep Space Nine"), their appearance at the show spoke volumes. Prior to being crushed by photographers while opening the convention, Sorbo and Lawless put in an appearance at Universal Studios Home Video's announcement of the marketing plans for the direct-to-video feature "Hercules & Xena: The Battle For Mount Olympus." So many flashbulbs were going off while the pair praised the animated feature that it was like being in the middle of a lightning storm.

 
"Kevin Sorbo played his own voice and he was just about the best damn voice of his ever!"
 
"that pathetic animated version with Sorbo doing the voice of Hercules like someone forgot to give him his lithium [sedative]."
 

9.01.98 Entertainment Weekly
Mything in action
by Marc Bernardin

A kidvid that could have been golden, Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless' made-for-tape 'The Animated Movie' leaves us feeling fleeced. Everybody loves a meaty, sordid soap opera - it's okay, you can admit it - and no one understood that better than the Greeks. With more sex, violence, treachery, and infidelity than a season's worth of Melrose Place, the tales of gods high on Mount Olympus will have a much longer pop-culture shelf life. Why? Because for all its displays of raging self-interest, Melrose doesn't have monsters. The creators of the syndicated TV series H:TLJ and X:WP knew a good thing when they saw it and used those myths to offer viewers something they hadn't seen in a while: stalwart heroes, buxom maidens, gruesome creatures, and, above all, high adventure. So, part of what makes the direct-to-video 'Hercules & Xena: The Battle for Mount Olympus' such a disappointment is how unadventurous it is.
It's all suitably legendary, but why must the animated movie hark back to Hanna-Barbera in the paint-by-numbers Speed Buggy years? Even its greatest strength - the assured voice work of Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless, reprising their TV roles - only reminds us of what's unforgivable about Olympus: It's not nearly as vivid a cartoon as the live-action series.

 

The story begins with four nymphs singing:

Before man, before moon, before history,
In a world made of magic and mystery,
Gods and Titans, lightning and bone,
Fought to possess the Chronos stone.

 
The mortal Alcmene (Hercules' mother) is carried away to Mount Olympus by the Top God Zeus. His wife Hera doesn't find this fine or funny and plots to take over Olympus with the aid of the Titans, super-beings who have been imprisoned under the earth ever since Zeus defeated them times ago. It's known that only a champion of mortal blood can smash the Titans, but both the mighty Hercules and his friend Xena refuse to help the gods until personal troubles and the threat of a world ruled by Titans, brings them to fight the definitive battle on Mount Olympus.

 

 

Herc: So, where are you headed?
Xena: Corinth. I still have a bag of gold to return.
Herc: Maybe, we could walk along with you for a while.
Iolaus: Sure.
Gabrielle: That'd be great.

They walk into the sunset.

Herc: And along the way, you can teach me that great kick you did up there against Porphyrion.
Xena: Sure, if you'll teach me how to flip a Titan.
Herc: I would love to, but it's a family secret.


The End

 

"Featuring the Voice Talents of: Kevin Sorbo - Hercules;

Lucy Lawless - Xena; Michael Hurst - Iolaus; Renee O'Connor - Gabrielle;

Kevin Smith - Ares; Alexandra Tydings - Aphrodite."

 

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