Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Commentary On The New Hercules Film Starring The Rock For Your Old School Sword and Sorcery Campaigns

Hmm this might be worth a look in a theater if they were running it on a Saturday afternoon. This looks like a revamp of the old Chris Reeves Hercules movies. Most of the twelve labors is there the CGI look of the piece looks very period. Hercules has had a very storied history in sword and sorcery(sandal) comics over the years from the Marvel Hercules who looked very much like he was done in the Chris Reeves mold to the post apocalyptic goodness of the Dell character. Who also looked like Chris Reeves.
The trailer looks great and many of the encounters with the various monsters that appear in the trailer are found in AS&SH. The question I've always had for using these kind of movies is the question of TPK vs the monster. The monsters that appear in these movies are powerful, unique, and utterly dangerous. Throw one encounter into an adventure and you've got an entire AS&SH adventure. Throw all of them in and you've got an entire campaign. 

Well this movie is based the newer comic book series by Radical comics. I read some of the issues and they are great from an art point of view. Writing wise they're pretty interesting with a few twists on the mythology. Hercules The Thracian Wars Comic Book Cover
Here's the official background of the comic off of their website: 

Nearly 3,200 years ago, a tormented soul walked the Earth as neither man nor god: Hercules, powerful son of the god-king Zeus, and for this he received nothing but suffering. After 12 arduous labors and the loss of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods, finding solace only in bloody battle. Over the years, he warmed to the company of six similar souls, bonded by their love of fighting and the presence of death – never questioning where they go or who they fight, just how much they will be paid. Now the King of Thrace has hired these mercenaries to turn his men into the greatest army of all time, which means training them to be as bloodthirsty and ruthless as their own reputation. It is time for this band of lost souls to finally have their eyes opened to how far they have fallen – and the narrow, perilous path to their own redemption.

 It remains to be seen just how much of the Hercules legend will be translated over from the comics on to the screen. A balance that surely is a difficult one to begin with and now a with this movie being slotted into the plot line of the comic who knows.
There are many reasons to look into this type of film though for AS&SH, the level of technology, the legend mix, the ideas, and the plot hooks that a DM can borrow. The ideas here are solid ones but since this is a new movie a DM might want to look into the actual mythology and adapt it as they see fit for their own PC's. I'm reserving judgement as far as where this movie might go. I think this one is going to be a wait and see. 

 My own preference as far as movies that really grab the sword and sandal as well as the sword and sorcery vibe for me. The classic Ray Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts has it all over many of the films of today. But then again it might not be far to compare or even breath that title when looking at this film.
So let's wait and see before passing judgement. 

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