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Before we start this one, let’s get all of your minds out of the gutter, please!  Yes, I know what a title like that makes you think of, and quite frankly, that’s probably what I would have thought of too…if I were allowed.   But we’re not allowed that here.  So, let’s think of other things.  Like movies we’d rather be watching.

I, however, have to watch this one.  So here goes. 

The credits are a kind of cool animated ones, well, not really all that animated, but there’s fire and stuff, and we get the stars, Reg Park and Fay Spain.  Alas, as this is a cropped film, they’re listed as Eg Park and Fay Spai.  We’ll just have to live with for the next (oh My GOD) ninety-three minutes.  Man I must have been bad in a previous life.

And the titles play over this Greek frieze, which is kind of nice, but some of these names, Executive Supervisor, Hugo Grimaldi, Music Supervisor Gordon Zahler.  I recognize these names.  I think Zahler scored some Ed Wood films, if I’m not mistaken.  Hang on, I’ll check.

Man, I hate it when I’m right about something like that.

The titles were done by Filmation, who I believe are the same folks who did Scooby Doo and the Super Friends, but maybe not.  It’s not that big a stretch to think several people might have thought of that word.

So far, though, the music and backgrounds evince a level of care that Hercules Against the Moon Men didn’t even bother to attempt, so maybe we’re not doomed here. 

And after the final credits (no writers credited, but the others are not Anglicized), we see a map of Greece, with the various kingdoms (Athens, Thebes, etc) all labeled for us.  And the narrator tells us about Thebes, whose king was Androcles.  We see some guy throwing another guy during a melee.  Quite a hands-on king, I guess.  The narrator goes on to tell us that Hercules “and his son Hylas” were very loyal to Androcles.   And more fighting, probably footage from a previous entry in the Hercules film series. 

The narrator explains that this kind of “good-natured” brawling was necessary to keep everyone fit, because wars were always happening, and you wouldn’t to be out of shape when one happened, because you might miss out.

The King gets up from his table and pushes a log carried by several warriors, and he knocks them all down.  “That’s enough, boys,” he says, and then he turns to where Herc and Hylas are, and he tells them, “Come on, we’re leaving.”  They pull a dwarf out of their hiding place as well and make to follow.  As they leave, the dwarf comically pushes the now silent fighters saying that they are “big bullies” and so on.  I’m guessing the intent was comedy. 

(I hope, by the way, that I’m not wrong on who these folks are.  The King has a beard, Herc and his son are clean shaven, and Hylas looks like the youngest.  That’s my excuse.)

And we cut to some barren plain, where the three and a couple of others are riding on horseback though wherever this is.  And the narrator blathers on, saying, “History tells us of the wars, legends tell us of an era when the unforeseen perils of the mystical unknown, were always lurking.”

I’m going to ignore most of what he says, if you don’t mind, especially if he says stuff like that.  I think he means “Adventures were afoot.”

”This is one of those legends,” he (I hope) concludes, as the riders come into a big cloud of white smoke which appears really suddenly.  The sun seems to shoot into the sky, and everything turns bright red.  How about that, then.

A voice calls out saying that they should all leave, please, for their own sakes, and the King says “What are you trying to say?” and the voice says that this “blood” isn’t from wounds, but it falls “from the Heavens” and he goes on in a vein (ha!) which would do the narrator proud.  He talks of deadly serpents and people fleeing the cities before the “Deadly Shadow” which is bringing “night without end.”  He then asks the assembled folk if they can’t see all this badness, which is coming “from the Heavens” (again) and this phrase echoes and fades. 

Just to show how bad all this is, a tree bursts into flames.  It’s not Tim the Enchanter is it?

Also, a guy is shown carrying another guy, and the sun shoots back to where it was. 

And fortunately the color is back to normal as I was having serious doubts about my TV set.  The King and Herc and all them argue about “what all this means” and they decide that only the prophet Tiresias can tell them the straight dope.  So they ride on, and we fade to a big temple full of singing people with candles marching along.  And Herc and crew are watching this.

Some guy says that “the Gods have spoken, with thunderbolts, with lightning,” which is usually how gods speak if I remember correctly. 

Herc asks this guy, “What have they said, oh wise Tiresias?”

”Who knows?” he unhelpfully answers.  “Who can say?  A peril hangs over all our land, a peril from afar.”

Herc asks who would dare attack the Greeks, and Tiresias says, “Evil is upon us,” again not answering the question.  He says that the power comes from “out of the west, where few have been, the straights from which no vessel has returned, “ and he goes on about how unreturnable these places are, uh, from. 

And we fade to the King addressing his fellow kings, telling how Tiresias said the forces of evil are coming from beyond the straights, so we should all attack them now before they have a chance to attack us some more.  One King says he has a council which can never agree on anything, another says he did away with his council and he has all the power now and he says, right on to Androcles’ plan.  But there’s a lady behind him who calls his name, and he says (basically) “Yes, dear,” and sits back down and there’s some tittering, because, see, he’s all powerful yet he’s henpecked by his wife!  I’ll give you a moment to recover from uncontrollable laughter.  Ready?  Good.

Some other guys, who I guess are all kings, make various other points about attacking this danger.  Henpecked again boasts of his navy, and again gets zinged by his wife.  Man, this is comedy gold.  If you lived in the Stone Age.

But as is well illustrated here, I hope, that if you leave things to be decided by a League of Kings or something like that, nothing will get decided.  I think that’s the whole point of this whole scene.  Can I go now?

One guy throws some spears into the map.  And there’s some bickering.  And more of the same.  I mean, you know how Kings are, right?

And one king says he’ll go alone, and defend everyone’s kingdom with his army, and he expects no thanks (sarcasm).  And the bearded guy who I thought was the King turns out to be Hercules (so it was he who pushed all those guys with the pole, back before), and he says that no one will sit in Androcles throne while the King is gone, because he (Herc) will pick it up and carry it away, so no one can sit in it!  Ingenious.  Then he throws it down and it smashes, and Androcles says that is too bad, as the throne was made special for him, and Herc says they’ll make a new one to celebrate his return from destroying this vague evil everyone’s so on about. 

(I mean, hate to interject and all, but what’s the evil done so far?  It made the film turn red and it burned up a tree.  Ooh, how evil can you get!  Ooo, save me, save me!)

Anyway, Herc and Androcles demonstrate how they’re best pals and all. 

Fade to Herc having his shoulders rubbed by his wife, who complains that Herc is about to leave her again to go adventuring.  Herc protests, but wife knows that Herc won’t let Androcles go alone.  She wants to know why the men are always in a big ole conquerin’ mood, and they can’t stay home by the fire with wives and things.  She mentions Herc’s son, who is too weak to go with him, “even to confront life!”

Herc points out that, even though she’s gone harsh on him, she still loves him, eh?  Eh?  He’s got you there, wife. 

Well, yeah, she seems to say, but she’s kind of brought down by being the wife of a hero.  Herc, if I’m getting his lingo down right, seems to promise that he won’t leave the house this time.  He even, at her prompting, swears that he is here to stay this time. 

King pops round to ask when he and Herc and all can leave.  Wife says they can leave now if they want, but Herc is staying.

”What do you mean?” asks King (he’s been listening to Tiresias too much).   Herc says that he wants to settle down and enjoy life.  And wife says to King, come on, don’t make him go with you. 

King says, okay, pointing out though that he’s gone wherever Herc wanted to go, despite the danger, and if he, King, had a wife and son, maybe he’d think the same way.   He tells Herc goodbye, but that there’s some good wine in the palace where he can drink and wish King good luck. 

Man, that has to sting at least a little.

As King leaves, Herc puts his arms around his wife and son and looks pretty damn happy.  And we fade to black.

Fade in as the sailing ships are ready to carry King to his doom so Herc can rescue him.  Or perhaps we’re jumping ahead, as we pan down from the sails to see a bearded guy, looks a lot like Herc, snoozing on deck while a dwarf looks concerned at him. 

Cut to King and Hylas, as they discuss how Herc’ll be angry at being shanghaied.  Hylas says he put a sleeping powder in Herc’s wine.   (For someone too weak to “confront life,” Hylas is doing pretty well with the ship’s rudder.)

The dwarf notes that Herc is coming round, and Hylas notes that if Herc finds out he, Hylas, is on board, “we’re all done for!” so King is urged to take the rudder.

Okay, so now we’re going to watch the world’s strongest man wake up and find out he’s been tricked.  This…should be good.

Hylas drops below decks with seconds to spare, and Herc gets up and looks pretty peeved.  Then he grins at King.

”Lovely day, isn’t it?” he says.

”Ah, yes, it is,” King admits.

”How long have we been at sea?”

”Ah, since sunup,” says King.

”And where’s your fleet?”

King kind of says “Uh,” and Herc goes on, “And where are your warriors?”

King, looking pretty down, says, “I have none.  It’s because of that I brought you with us.”

”I understand, I understand,” says Herc.  He prowls about deck a bit more, and sees the lone guy sitting by an oar.  “And is this your crew?”  For you continuity fans, the guy’s arms are in completely different positions when the camera gives him a close up, then cuts back to Herc looking at him.

”Yeah, galley slaves and cut purses,” King says, which I think falls under the category of TMI. 

”Fine company,” says Herc.

”It’s the best I could find,” says King, showing that his “friendly brawling to keep his men at a peak” policy is a total failure.  They all wussed out on him.  Also, the fact that this deadly danger that threatens the whole world isn’t taken too seriously by, well, anyone other than King.

”But, I thought you were the King of Thebes…aren’t you?” Herc asks.

King details how he fought against the soothsayers, the senators, the generals, and “anyway, aren’t you always saying that Democracy—“

”Never mind, never mind,” says Herc.  “Anyway, I was right to smash the throne, wasn’t I.”

Herc asks King what he’s going to do about this new invading army, and notes that Dwarf is one potent weapon (he’s being sarcastic).  King details how they have to find out all about this new enemy in terms of who, what, when, where, how and so on.  Herc stretches his arms and yawns. 

”Hercules, what are you doing?” asks King.

”I’m sleeping,” Herc answers, and King does that thing that Dean Martin did when Jerry Lewis would exasperate him on some point of protocol.  Abbott and Costello are also reference points.  King kind of spreads his arms and then strikes his forehead, then rubs his hair backward.

I think the dwarf is uneasy, saying that he would have preferred it if Herc had awoken in a rage and hit someone, but it is hard to make out his tiny little dialogue from his voice.  King comically gives that “Oy vey” look.

Fade to black, and fade in on the ship on the ocean.  Some crew folks are moving here and there.  Below decks, the comical dwarf comically feeds Hylas some food.  Hylas says he’s going up top, and dwarf says “We’re lost if Hercules finds out you’re on board,” and how he’s been asking for six days straight if Hylas is safe at home.  (Remember, Hylas can’t “confront life” or he’ll get smacked around a bit.)   So the dwarf shoves Hylas back in his hidey hole.   They banter a bit comically, the dwarf says that Herc either sleeps or fishes, and when he fishes, he doesn’t catch anything.  The music pretty much tells you this is comic as the dialogue or performances don’t at all.  As Hylas looks like, Oh, that dad of mine, we fade to black.

Fade in on another swell morning.  They’ve sure had good weather for their trip into the unknown.  There’s the ship, sailing along.  And there’s some clouds, but they’re fine clouds as the music is telling us.

And down below deck, some types are talking about how Herc is sleeping and the King is busy, so they’re fine doing whatever nefarious thing they’re going to do.  Because, while the music says this is all happy and innocuous, they seem to be rather unpleasant types from the dialogue. 

They strike what looked like hanging sides of beef, but what are actually goatskins filled with water.  And fade to the next morning, and a nice calm sea, as the ship has landed at some nice little island.  And some of the crew are on the island, walking along the beach in formation, probably to get more water.  And the king walks past Herc, who is, for variety’s sake, now asleep on the beach!  That Herc, he is so funny, such a card, etc.

King points out the direction where the enemy country is, across the sea.  He says that with the help of the Gods, they’ll whop this new enemy a good one.

”What makes you think the Gods will help us?” asks Herc with a laconic comic nature.  King doesn’t answer, but says he’s going to go after the water-seekers, and he mentions that he can’t believe “rats” shredded their water supply, “human rats with swords, maybe…certainly not the best of men for an enterprise like this.”

Herc has, of course, fallen back asleep because someone somewhere once said that sort of thing is “funny” and some other people believed him, and kept believing ever since, despite the lack of evidence.  It’s one of those “faith” things.  King says Herc shouldn’t trouble himself, he’ll be sure to wake Herc before they sail again.

So, King goes off to find these errant water-seekers.  And there are some folks who may be the rebellious crewmen, or they may be island inhabitants, but they show up with spears and surround King, and whop him a good one so he collapses.  Then they signal to their fellows.  They all skulk toward the ship.

On board the ship of course, the dwarf is keeping Hylas from seeing the sky because it’s the same old sky according to the dwarf.   And the crew comes back, as I guess they were the ones with the spears and stuff.

Dwarf gives the alarm, bites the hand of the one who tries to muzzle him, and gets knocked unconscious.  This wakes up Herc.  He runs out to the shore, and grabs the anchor.  The rebels are trying to pull in the anchor, but he pulls the chain and they get comically tossed into the sea. 

He pulls the anchor toward the shore, and the lead rebel starts playing the drums so they guys on the oars will pull faster, but of course Herc is stronger than a whole crew of sailors.  They’re all cut purses, remember.  Probably pansies, too.  Losers as well.

He drags the ship on shore, but not after calling to Helios, “God of the air, I beg you to stop the wind in the sails.”

The sail goes slack, and Herc says, “Thank you!” and redoubles his efforts and beaches the ship pretty good. 

And we cut to King and Dwarf soothing each other’s head bumps with wine.  They’re both pretty pleased about that.  Herc calls out to the rebels on shore that they should wait until some passing ship comes by to “repatriate” them. 

He and King discuss this, with Herc saying that even though they’re criminals, there’s no reason they should die; but he and King set out on the voyage of their own free will, so it’s okay if they get killed.  Or something, I know there’s an egalitarian message in there, but getting it out is like prying a bivalve out if its shell.

And Herc, having given his argument, prepares for another nap and tells King and Dwarf that they are the only crew now. 

Man, I’m sure this is hilarious if…if…uh…sorry, I can’t think of any circumstances that would make this hilarious, that doesn’t involve a super-strong Gilligan.   Man, what a thought!  I have to wash my mind out with soap now.

King raises the sail as Herc looks on approvingly, and we cut to a storm at night with the ship being buffeted and bashed by the weather.  Panties.

Sorry, don’t know why I said that.  Anyway, the weather started turning rough, the tiny ship was tossed; if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the movie would be lost, the movie would be lost.

Cough.

During the storm, Hercules actually lends a hand to keep everything floating.  What a guy, eh?  The miniature effects aren’t bad, and it is kind of cool to see things drenched in water like crazy.  There’s some talk, but the storm is so loud you can’t hear what it is.  Below decks, Hylas wants to go up top, but the dwarf won’t let him. 

Up top, more yelling between the King and Herc, but you can’t hear anything except Herc saying “What?” and the King saying “Starboard!” a number of times.  I think they’ve spotted an island, but who can really be sure of such things? 

And the King gets washed over the side, and Hercules calls to him a lot of times.  Not sure what he expects him to do—swim against the storm? 

The boat starts to spring leaks everywhere, and we cut to a bright, foggy time on the water.  Herc is floating asleep on a bit of wreckage, but he wakes up when he hears someone calling his name.

He looks into the water, and sees King in a kind of vision, also in a kind of room.  King keeps calling for Herc, and he goes right into the camera, yelling, and this vision fades. 

Cut to Hercules, whose expression is priceless.  It looks like he just sat on an icicle. 

Hercules looks up into the sky and prays to Zeus to help him find the King, if he’s still alive, and the fog lifts a bit, and it turns out that Herc was about ten feet from the shore of an island.  So he jumps overboard and makes his way to shore.    There’s a cavemouth right there, and a little waterfall made of mist, and—hubba hubba!  Naked lady statues.  Bronze, yeah, but you can see stuff!  Wow!

And there’s a (clothed) lady who’s been kind of sealed somewhat against the rock face, and she begs Hercules to kill her, but he keeps asking who imprisoned her, and she finally says, “Go away,” so I guess this relationship is going to be a difficult one.

Anyway, she finally spills that Proteus is the one who imprisoned her, and he’s a shapeshifter so who knows who (or what) he will appear as next, so Herc should go away.

And the mouth of the cave flashes light, and the girl yells that Proteus is here, and an old man materializes in the cave mouth.  He also tells Herc to go away (nice island!) or he’ll be dead by nightfall.  Just to, uh, prove he means what he says, he turns into a lizard man, and then a clump of fire.    Then he turns into a snake around Herc’s shoulders, but Herc tosses him away.  He next turns into a lion, and when Herc fights him, he turns into a stuffed lion, and then a buzzard.  Wow, they get more and more terrifying!  The buzzard has his own electronic sound effects.  Herc tosses him, and he turns into fire and the lizard man again.  (It looks like the same footage, too.)  I guess your persistence has exhausted his bag of tricks, Herc, as he’s doing encores now.  Three nights weekly and a Saturday matinee. 

Herc jumps right up to wrassle this lizard man, and they grapple for some time while the cave lights flash.  I wonder if the cave is his source of power, like Trelaine in that old Star Trek show. 

Then Herc bashes the lizard man on the head, and he starts bleeding and he collapses (his eyes flash lights on and off).  And the rock bits fade from around the gal who told Herc to go away.  And she faints, and there’s kind of a cool “person pattern” left in the rock behind her, it almost looks like a Paul Klee drawing.  (That’s a Paul Klee reference per Hercules film this month.)

Well, whatever, as Herc goes to the fainted lady.  Actually, of course, it’s a young lady and either I need to clean the cat box or I smell love in the air. 

He helps her to her feet, and she notes with some surprise that she’s alive.  Herc spills the bit about Proteus being dead, and he points behind her and says that the red stain there is some of his blood.  He was the whole island, according to Hercules, nourishing himself on the blood of his victims.  Isn’t it lucky for Herc that a creature the size of an island had that one vulnerable spot on top of a lizard man’s head?

Anyway, Gal says that she was supposed to be a sacrifice to Proteus, and, possibly, there’ll be some people a tad pissed that their god’s been slain.  Then there’s a blinding white light off the horizon, and with a big smile, Gal says that this is her country, Atlantis.

And we cut to some large temple with lots of folks and some pageantry going on.  Lots of peasants supplicating themselves as some obvious higher-ups walk through the dusty plain.  On a nearby road, Gal and Herc are running toward this very spot.

So, uh, are they still on the island of Proteus or what?  If he’s dead, won’t he start to smell after a few days?   If Gal was a sacrifice-to-be, why’s she so happy to be returning to some folks who wanted to kill her? 

No matter, as they stroll right past a whole bunch of supplicated peasants, apparently without drawing suspicion.   The pageantry walk toward and pass the camera, and they’re followed by a bunch of children.  One of the supplicating women leaps up and starts shouting how one of the children is her only son, it isn’t fair, etc, until she’s pulled back by some of the other peasants.

Gal tells Herc that these kids are sacrifices and they’re going to the Mountain of Death. 

--uh, didn’t we just see that damn moviie?   All you have to do is push the Mooninites off their platform, problem solved.  Can we go home now?

I guess not, as Herc strides off with a look of determination we’ve seen many times before, and we cut to the interior of a temple with a whole bunch of priestly types arranging themselves in preparation for some important person’s appearance. 

Sure enough, the music takes a sudden dramatic upsurge, and some more folks come in to the temple.   Actually, they ride a chariot in!  And one guy gets off the chariot and goes to talk to (sigh) the Queen.  He tells her that “the mists that protect our island have vanished.”  I hope this guy doesn’t fight Hercules because he looks exactly like him, and it would be hard to know who to vote for. 

Anyway, this guy says that “mortal eyes” might now be able to see Atlantis, and another guy, who talks like a higher-pitched, evil Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, says that’s probably why the volcano is all a-rumblin’ away—so they should probably have some more sacrifices!  To make it stop rumbling.

Hercules chooses that moment to enter the great hall, and he announces (also sounding like Rochester) that Proteus doesn’t demand sacrifices any more, probably due to being dead.  In response to their queries, he says he’s Hercules of Thebes.  He mentions that his father, Zeus, guided him here, and you’d think that name would be enough to silence most critics, but four (four!) guys run up to him and grab him.  He easily tosses them aside.  They move in with swords, but the Queen (I suppose she’s an ‘evil Queen.’  Sigh.  Are there ever any nice Queens?) orders Herc to be left alone.  “No mortal has ever set foot on the sacred isle of Atlantis before,” she says, and the guards all look like, Oh, well, huh, how about that, and they all leave.  Queen demands to know what Herc is doing here. 

Herc goes into something of a chunk of a speech and says he doesn’t believe in evil Gods, so he slew Proteus, and saved the Gal previously seen in our epic adventure.  There’s more but hopefully it isn’t important.

”You lie!” says Queen.   (Incidentally, remember how the Queen of Samar was named Samara?  Here, the Queen of Atlantis is named something like Atlantia.   Don’t eat that fruit, it’s all withered and dry.)

Anyway, that’s Herc’s cue, and he gestures for Gal to come on in.  She does, and Queen retreats a few steps (to the sound of horse hooves), and I think (played it a few times) Gal says something like, “I’m here, mother,” so obviously we have some issues here being played out.

Queen retreats a few more steps, again with the horse sounds, and Gal collapses, asking for forgiveness. 

Hercules confirms for us that this is indeed the Queen’s daughter, and he wonders why the Queen isn’t happy. 

Rochester comes forward (not sounding like Rochester anymore, but too late for you, fool) saying that Herc has killed Proteus, who was the son of Uranus (he pronounces it the worst way in this context), and that together they protected Atlantis, and this is a pretty darn bad sacrilege for Herc to have committed, here. 

Herc’s Twin cuts to the chase and asks why Herc is here.

Herc says that he has brought “his navy” back to “her mother” (I can only assume that Gal is actually named something like “Isnavy”) and that the Gods allowed him to go all this way.  If the Gods were against him, he would have been stomped flat like a cupcake.

All good arguments, but when have arguments worked against folks who are evil?  Never, that’s when.   Queen, who is a sly one, says, “Perhaps you are right and we are wrong; if we have committed errors, we must remedy them, and give our thanks to him who has opened our eyes.”  Anyone who can’t see the planning and calculation behind those words…see me after class.

Queen calls out to Gal to come to her, which Gal gladly does, kneeling at Queen’s feet.  Queen asks Gal’s forgiveness, and says that she thanks Herc for saving her. 

Herc says it was more Fate than anything else, as he’s looking for “a friend” which I’m thinking he means King, not some kind of innuendo.  But consider:  he knew that there were two people on the boat that was destroyed, a King and a Dwarf.  He’s looking for the King.  Not the Dwarf.  Dwarves, draw your own conclusions. 

Queen says they don’t get many mortals visiting them, and Herc says, at these prices, you won’t get many more.  He says he’s looking for King, and he’s convinced he’s here on the island. 

”Were he here, I would not hesitate to tell you,” says Queen, and you just know from the way she’s phrased that…well, I don’t have to draw you any conclusions, do I?  She says she’d go to any lengths to help Herc, as Herc has saved her daughter.    But instead, she wants to celebrate his victory over Proteus, and Hercules will be the special guest at the celebratory dinner and awards ceremony.   “You have only to ask for anything you wish, and it shall be given to you,” says Queen, and as the three of them (Herc, Queen and Gal) exit stage right, we pan rapidly back to a shadowy figure hidden in the columns.  The figure steps forward, and it’s King!   He looks really unhappy.  Mightily pissed off, one might say.  Or perhaps Royally pissed off.  Or…or perhaps he’s actually Proteus, who’s not quite dead, is in fact feeling much better, may perhaps be all right to come with…

At any rate, there’s no reason at all for a quick ominous pan to King.  If he heard Herc’s loyal speech, uh, he’d, um.  Well, he’d say, “Hercules, coo-ee!  Here I am!  Let’s go home, but first, let’s find that Dwarf guy, or perhaps buy a new one!”

Anyway, he sure looks mad.

Cut to Gal being dressed and preened and such.  And the dressing maids depart, and Queen appears, and Gal runs over to her, confessing how glad she is not to be sacrificed and all. 

Queen avers that she loves her daughter, but (uh oh) had Hercules not saved her as he did, “your fate would have been far less terrible.”

Well, Gal wants to know what this all means. 

”When I offered you as a sacrifice to Proteus, it was not for the reason that you think,” says Queen.  “Not to satisfy the lust of that accursed monster—there was no need to sacrifice the daughter of a queen.    You are the daughter of Antonia [whoever].  You are my daughter.   If you had to die, it was for a far more noble fate than that.”

”But…what reason?”

”Your destiny is bound to mine, [Gal]” says Queen.  “Just as mine is bound to my kingdom.  I never told you the truth before, because death and truth have the same meaning for me.  Unfortunately nothing has changed.  On the day that a daughter of mine shall survive me it is written in the sacred books, Atlantis shall be destroyed.”

Gal says something inarticulate at this point, and Queen says, “You must die.”

Gal says some more inarticulate stuff, but we gather the gist is, Hey, whoa.  She starts crying, which I think most of us would at such a revelation.  Or drinking.  Hey, thanks!

Guards show up, and Queen orders Gal taken away, and Rochester comes into frame.  He goes right up to her, and she seems genuinely conflicted, and he looks all hard-assed, and she flexes her lips as if to stay this dreadful fate, and he moves out of shot.  And we cut.

And we cut to some corridors, and striding along them is Hercules.  And someone hoves into view at the other end of this corridor, and he and Herc move closer and closer.  And Herc recognizes his old pal King!  He calls out to him, and in a very strange shot, he (Herc) seems to run into a mirror!  Uh, the hell?  What the--?  Is this Proteus doing that old Lucille Ball thing?

But King is still moving toward him, with the air of melancholy that, uh, dead people often exhibit.  I mean, if you’ve seen The Sixth Sense and stuff like that.  Here--

--well, King turns away from Herc like he (Hercules) just really farted badly just then.  And he turns down a corridor.

And Herc runs up to this same corridor, and he catches up with King, and puts his hand on King’s shoulder, and King turns to him, and Hercules backs away, and says, “It’s not possible!”

Just then, natch, Queen shows up (with a big royal retinue, incl Rochester) and says, “What is not possible?”

Hercules says he just saw his King, and Queen says, “I don’t understand!” and Herc rejoins with, “I don’t understand myself!”

Me neither.

Everyone kind of puts this down to Herc being a bit light in the brainpan, though of course they don’t put it at all like that.  And the whole ensemble departs around that time, and we pan back to the corridor where King is still standing, looking rather royally peeved at this ignoring stuff.

Herc, departing, opines that they must all think him a tad touched, but Queen says that it’s all perfectly normal, especially since Herc must be totally exhausted, so he should try to relax and stuff.  Herc agrees that this is sound thinking.  And we fade.

And we open on…guess.  You’ll never guess!  What?  Hylas and the Dwarf?  Oooh, you must have peeked.  There’s no way you could have guessed.

Anyway, Hylas is sleeping (like father like son, right?) and Dwarf is trying to comically kick him awake.  It’s funny because he’s a dwarf, right?   Okay, you’re right, it isn’t.  But Dwarf points out that there is a chariot approaching, and there’s a girl with it!  The girl part really gets Hylas’ interest.  He is interested in girl parts, if you know what I mean and I, alas, can only imagine that you do. 

So, the two of them watch this retinue approach, but something (maybe the background music) strikes them that this is all wrong, so they hide themselves and watch as Gal is tied to a stake, in preparation for a FURTHER sacrifice.   Boy, some people can’t catch a break, huh?  They’re going to throw her down on the rocks when the sunset starts happening.  (This sounds hard to escape from.)

Lead bad guy is saying, to Gal, that she shouldn’t look at him “like that” as “we’re only obeying your mother.”  This doesn’t seem to bring the consolation he obviously thought it ought to.

Well, observing from their vantage point, Hylas thinks this has gone just far enough, darn it, and to the tune of music from The Creature from the Black Lagoon, he proves his got quite a bit of prowess with the slingshot, and he takes out two of the soldiers with same.  He and Dwarf then scramble down to get some more adult weapons.   They spear a couple of the other guards, as the Creature’s music continues, and they avalanche a couple more.  One of the bad guys escapes, though neither of our heroes seem to note it; they go to free Gal, and the music instantly turns to LOVE when Hylas and Gal see each other for the first time.  Okay, so I was wrong about Hercules and Gal; nonetheless, I did smell the love.  If I had to pay every time I was wrong in the details, I wouldn’t be able to afford all the vowels I use to write these things.  As bad as they are, imagine them without the letter “o”!  Unthinkable!

Anyway, while Gal seems grateful, she seems resigned that her fate is to die anyway.  Hylas wonders what kind of people live on this island, and Dwarf says, “Unfriendly, and somewhat nervous.”

Gal lets them know that Herc is on the island too, and both seem gladdened by this news.  Well, I should hope they’d be glad.  Otherwise I wasted all my savings on those “o”s!

And back at the city, we get this long interpretive dance by a ballet trouble.  I mean, troupe.  Including some guy who ducks behind a fire and emerges with a different costume, then goes back and has his original one.  Here in the real world, we’d call that cheating through editing, but hey, you know, that’s just the real world.

Queen and Hercules (who’s wearing a fetching ensemble with hood) talk about nature versus magic.  Herc appreciates nature more than magic, while Queen opines that that is probably because he’s super strong and needn’t fear nature.  Herc asks if Queen fears nature, and she says, “Perhaps,” and Herc laughs at this.  Kind of rude, you know, but whatever.  And we get a long tracking shot into a vent, where eventually King appears looking sour again. 

Queen asks if Herc can’t stay, and Herc says he’s gotta find King, and there’s a bit more talk and Queen says she’ll give him a ship to search, but she only asks one thing:  that he return some time.  Herc promises to do so, and then he leaves the performance right in the middle.  He may have super strength, but he doesn’t have super manners.   Queen watches him go, and then we cut to him sleeping in a bed.

Someone wearing a masked helmet approaches the bed, with a drawn sword; he brings this down just as Herc awakens, and Herc rolls out of the way and they fight for a while.  Herc knocks him down, and the guy’s helmet falls off, and it turns out it’s King.   Herc is pretty astonished by this. 

King gets up and says he hates Herc, and asks him “why you came to Atlantis, what do you want of us?”

Herc is naturally a bit puzzled by this, and thinks King is mad.

”No, you are mad!” says the King, employing the old I’m rubber and you’re glue tactic.  He goes on to say that Herc’s strength is nothing compared to the power of Atlantis, and that “you all” will be destroyed by the Queen.  He then tells Hercules, “whoever you are,” that all the Greeks must die “as blood rains down and purifies the earth!” and he goes on in this vein, saying that the weak and silly Gods will be overthrown, that one powerful god will return, and he winds up finally saying “Uranus will rule over all!” and he pronounces it like you’d expect.  Get your laughs where you can, folks.  I do!

Well, Herc declares that King has uttered him a bit of blasphemy, and King attacks with a knife but Herc knocks him out.

And just then, the Queen and a couple of maidens enter.  The Queen looks around with an expression she probably uses when she sees the cleaning lady hasn’t shown up yet. 

She and Herc hold a conversation in which he accuses her of lying, and she says that he’s delusional, and they both kind of stick to their arguments. 

It then gets a bit confusing, as Queen says that King is dead, but that it would be best to, I guess, make him more deader even.  Apparently, his mind has snapped for some reason.  She didn’t want Herc to know about King, because…uh…the script made her do that.  I wonder why they let him wander around, then, but hey, you know, I have an overactive imagination.

Herc then says, at the suggestion of putting King out of his misery, “No!  If you have pitied him up to now, I beg you to continue to pity him, and to forgive me for having doubted the sincerity of your feelings.”

Queen orders King to be taken away and taken care of (in the good sense of that).  Queen suggests that she and Herc can nurse him back to health. 

A Theremin sting starts up as some maiden comes forward with a cup of wine, which Queen suggests that Herc drink.  Despite the look of alarm on the maiden’s face, he does so.  Queen says that she hopes, tomorrow, that Herc decides to remain forever in the land of Atlantis. 

Herc doesn’t answer, but is really whacked out by the wine.  Damn, that’s the oldest trick in the book, and you fell for it!  He collapses on the bed, head leaning over the side, and Queen just leaves him like that.  I guess we can cross “super brains” off the list now.  Let me get my pencil.

Oooo!  (I bought some more “o”s!)  Turns out super brains may still be in the running, as when Queen leaves and closes the door, Herc opens his eyes, and spits out the mouthful of wine (see earlier about lack of super manners)!   Well, I didn’t expect that, even though it was exactly what he did in the previous film.   Score one for Hercules!

He goes to the door and finds it locked, and bonks on it a few times.  He then steps back, I’m hoping NOT to just crash through like some ape.  I would, after all, imagine that the Queen has left a guard or two, and while they can’t beat up Hercules, they could raise an alarm. 

Cut to the Queen, upbraiding the soldiers who were, earlier, easily beaten by Hylas and a dwarf.   According to Queen, the two of them beat ten of her men.   Leader of the beaten asks to be sent back with more men, and he’ll be sure to win this time.  I dunno, man, one of them was a dwarf.  He says “I swear, such a thing won’t happen again.”

Oh man, I hope Queen doesn’t miss this opportunity, and no, she takes it with both hands.  “Yes,” she says as her personal guards move forward, “you’re right.  It won’t happen again!”

And we cut to a trap door opening somewhere, and we hear the voice of the Soldier saying, “No, don’t put me in the acid!  Don’t kill me!”   Sure was nice of him to exposition that for us!  “Let me go!” he adds, as his own solution to the problem.

His pleas are for naught, however, as he’s put into the boiling fluid and, thanks to the miracle of cross-fading, he’s soon lost not only a lot of troublesome weight but his uniform as well.  Ooh, I bet you’ll be punished for that, too!

Cut to the white-haired guy…I’m sorry, I don’t remember what I called him earlier…talking to the Queen about how King had to be imprisoned (what, now?) because he could be dangerous…for Atlantis!   Queen orders this big monkey statue to be opened, and King was in that!  It was like an iron maiden, only without the spikes.

”Poor Androcles,” Queen says, “too fragile for the weight he had to support.  Now somebody else will sit on the throne that was destined for him.”

”Hercules,” mutters white-haired guy.

”Take him to the valley and let him die, like the rest of the weaklings,” says Queen, and I guess she’s talking about King and not Hercules. 

I’m gonna go out on a very familiar limb here, called the limb of Bad Guesses (notice how smooth it is?  I come here often, that’s why), and I’m going to guess that King was possessed by some ancient spirit of some powerful Atlantean, uh, king or something, but that his fragile body was too, uh, fragile to support the invading spirit.   Because it makes sense, from where I’m sitting.  Given King’s earlier skulking around and erratic behavior, it makes sense from where the movie’s sitting, too. 

Speaking of movie, back to that.  Having given the order to toss out King, she orders that Gal be found, and killed.  And she shouts out, “Kill her!” and it’s the most animated Queen has been the whole movie.  Whoah, acting!

Cut to Herc in his chamber.  He runs to the window, and bends the iron bars there.  I think that has to be some kind of contractual obligation in all Hercules movies, he’s gotta bend some iron bars.  It happened (once) when he fought the Mooninites.  Well, actually, way before that, but you know what I mean.

So, he bends the bars, slips through them, and then bends them back, so they look untampered with.  Wow, perhaps he DOES have super brains.  I mean, if he hadn’t done that, I would have said something sarcastic, but he ripped the wind right out of my sails!    What a man’s man!

He then climbs down the side of the castle, narrowly avoiding being seen by a passing troop of soldiers.  He jumps on the last one and throttles him, and steals his horse, and rides off to…hm.  Well, he can’t really know any of the developments that have occurred since his interment, like his son and the Dwarf beating on people or the King being sent to some valley of death (which is a break from the mountains that are usually “of death”), so where he’s riding to is a bit up in the air.  Maybe he’s looking for a drive-thru that’s open at this hour; being strong must make you hungry sometimes.

Queen and White Hair open the door to Herc’s chamber, and discover no Herc, of course.  The window bit pays off as White Hair says Herc couldn’t have escaped that way, as the bars are intact.  Queen counters that he couldn’t have vanished, either, so he ought to find Hercules “if you value your life!”   Valuing his life, White Hair strides off to find Hercules somehow.

And we cut to Hylas, Gal and Dwarf walking along in the daylight while comic walking music plays.   Hylas and Gal hold hands, then they hear soldiers approach, so they hide.  One of the soldiers is also carrying King, collapsed over his saddle.   The camera tracks along with him.  The Hylas Trio decide to follow, to see where King ends up.  Gal protests that the soldiers will kill him, but he says he just wants to observe.  He fails to note that he and Dwarf kicked the collective butts of ten soldiers, and adding Gal that would increase their powers by at least a third, so taking on the entire Queen’s army ought to be a snap.  I suspect that’s just too obvious to say.  And now I’m sorry I said it.  Wrote it.  You know…gave it voice.  Whatever.  Whatever!

They go to follow, but hear more hoofbeats, and hide again, and Herc rides by!   I guess he must have seen King, too, and decided to follow.  And here I thought he wanted hamburgers. 

Hylas and Gal are in each other’s arms after that, um, tumble from the road into the bushes, but Dwarf stirs them up (dwarves do that to people) by noting that the last rider was, as we saw, Hercules.   So they all scramble eggs to make omelets.  No, wait.  That’s not it.  They scramble out of the bushes and back onto to the road.  Yes, that’s it.  Glad we got that one worked out.

They run out onto the road and howl out for Herc to wait, but he doesn’t hear them, so, they run on.    And the soldiers get to “the valley” and say, to the soldiers already there, “We have another one for the pit,” and the valley soldiers say to go ahead and toss him into the pit, where he’ll be digested over the next thousand years.   Oh, wait, that was that Star Wars thing.  Anyone other than me see that?   It had Ewoks.  Ewoks!   That is Star Wars talk for “lame.”

Well, the soldiers take King, and, we cut to Hercules riding along, and he takes the long way, then stops and dismounts, and he runs up this path, and the camera pans along this rather gorgeous looking landscape which, I gather, we’re supposed to think is menacing and threatening and stuff.    And we pan down to…some people walking around at the bottom of this terrific vista.   And it was a bit quick, no more than a glimpse of them, but I guess these are the folks who were, previously, tossed into “the pit.”  And, you know, they seem to be doing okay, I mean yes they don’t have any restaurants or book stores but they are walking around and no, repeat NO horrifying creatures are eating them or bothering them or billing them for CDs they didn’t order.  Not that I’m suggesting “the pit” is a luxury hideaway, but…oh, look, an eagle!

So, the soldiers throw some dead animals over the side to the pit denizens, and you would not believe how excited these folks are to receive this carrion.   And Herc watches this action from elsewhere, and yeah, those folks are totally happy to get dead animals.   And when there’s a big crowd gathered around the four legged cadavers, they lower King down as well, but rather than tossing him in the hopes that the crowd will do one of those rock-concert things where the singer swims across bodies, they lower him gently on a string.

Hercules looks upon this like he is totally not down with this at all.   And he hears someone calling his name, and he turns, and it’s Dwarf!  Like almost everyone, Herc is very pleased to see a dwarf that knows his name.  Because that is always a good sign.   Or I am in a lot of trouble. 

Dwarf leaps onto Hercules, and they’re both happy to see one another, and then Dwarf mentions how “Hylas freed that girl,” and he has pushed one of Hercules’ hot buttons, as he starts shaking Dwarf and asking what Hylas is doing here!   Dwarf, you may be lovable, but you don’t have super brains!  Nope, gotta cross that one off.    Finally!

Well, at any rate, we cut to Hylas and Gal, and he’s unleashing this long pole as she looks on admiringly, and…what?  No, no, it’s some kind of big woody pole.  Like a, oh, I don’t know, a telephone pole, like that…what?  Oh my goodness, get your minds out of the gutter!

Anyway, he rams these tightly closed gates with his long pole, but it has no effect, and Gal is clearly dispirited by this.  He tries again, and a third time, which finally winds him and he tumbles along the length of his own pole, and Gal runs to him to give him succor.  And here we all thought that Hylas was too fragile to even live, let along smash into things with a post.

Meanwhile, Dwarf, having apparently regained Herc’s good graces, tells him that he should free the valley folk, and that there’s a place where he can do this.  I’m kind of inferring a lot here as Dwarf is not the most comprehensible speaker here. 

Hylas and Gal, meanwhile, talk about how he ought to grab a bit of action, and Hylas opines that if his father (Hercules) knew he was here, he would never let him (Hylas) out of the house again.  Just then, some guards show up, and Hylas beats off one with his long pole, but his hands slip and he can’t beat off the other!   So he and the guard wrassle. 

And Herc and Dwarf see this happening scene, and rush down to assist.   Actually, Dwarf scrams in the opposite direction, but hey, you know, actions speak fastest and other modern sayings.

And there is, alas, a rather severe jump cut in the film, as we cut from Hercules jumping the last few feet to the valley, to…him whacking on the gate with a big piece of rock, with Hylas and Gal cheering him on.  What did we miss?  Well, the second soldier being beaten up, Hercules and Hylas reunion scene, Hylas introducing Gal to Herc, Herc recounting how he already met Gal, Gal being glad that Herc was still alive, Herc finding a big old piece of rock to slam against that closed gate…why, a cornucopia of cinematic delights!   Well, at least we can tell our grandchildren that, yeah, we were cheated, etc.

Anyway, Hercules is beating on those unyielding gates with his giant rock, and he manages to get them to part, softly, so that people can enter, but Gal points out that OH MY GOD an entire THREE soldiers are coming.  Hercules picks up a big rock and smashes it into the skull of one of them.  He then tears another off his high horse, and onto the low ground, and the third knows that “Discretion is the better part of valor” and he turns tail and dashes off, no doubt to a hot date with an acid bath.

The opened gates now vent forth a vast gush of sea men, and other captured types, who carry King (still unconscious) with them in a flow towards the manliness that is Hercules, and…okay, I can’t keep doing this.  You win!    Here’s your prize: [raspberry].  I watch these things so you don’t have to, you know. 

Er, yes, yes, I have been a tad remiss.  Well! Well, what happens next is, King is brought out, and laid out on the ground, and Hercules and Gal and Hylas all kind of be sad at how King is laid low and all.  And Herc turns his face to heaven, and calls on Zeus to solve all his problems.  Well, no, now that you ask, he doesn’t quite put it that way, but come on, if you’ve got a direct line to Zeus, what else would you ask?  “How’s the weather up there, big guy”?  I think not!

The soldier who escaped being whacked with a big pole, or slapped between large rocks, arrives at the camp which has to watch the Valley of Despair to make sure despair is always the winner, and this guard says that there’s trouble up at mill, one of the flayrods has gone askew on treadle, and the, perhaps seven, other guards all run off to follow this guy to certain death.  I mean, to see if they can stop this. 

And I hope this doesn’t stun you to death—I would hate to lose my only reader!—but when the soldiers arrive, the prisoners (now ex) throw enough rocks at them to basically eliminate them.  They then turn to Hercules, and point out their leprous scars (ewww!  Thanks for NOTHING, gross-outs!) and say that everything they’ve suffered is because the Queen is evil.   Yeah, well, good luck with that excuse.  I’ve tried it and the chicks still stay away.

Leper Man says that, up in the hills, there is a miraculous rock that “has the power to change all men.”

”All men?” asks Hercules.  He presses for a few more details.  “All men? What do you mean?”

”I don’t know.  I only know that we are doomed.   Every year the guards of [Queen] choose the children, destined to be changed by the rock and its powers.   Few resist.   Others don’t.” 

Hercules asks about the boys he saw.

”Yes, we were like them before we were taken to the mountain, many years ago,” says Leper Man.  “Look at us now.  We are the few who resisted the rock and its influence.”

I’m not capitalizing “the rock” because I don’t really think they mean that wrestler guy.  In which case, “rock” would be capitalized.  And I’d get paid real money.

Oh, sorry, that last bit was just a sad fantasy of mine.  You can ignore that.  Or you can send me money.  Your choice!  

Leper guy says that “those who succumbed have never been seen since.  They say that they now live in the world of the supernatural.   Creatures of evil, invincible!”

Hercules, after digesting this bit, decides that he’ll go to the evil mountain, and undo the evilness that has mountainized the mountain of evil.  Leper Man is all enthused to go with, but Herc puts his foot down and says that King needs to be seen to first.  He does promise that there’ll be plenty of action.  I’m guessing. 

Hylas decides to be responsible for the Leper folk.   Good for him.   Herc tells the remaining lepers that it’s time to go, and they do, and Hylas consoles Gal by telling her she shouldn’t be sad.  Herc and the others all ride off.

Of course, as soon as Herc rides off, there’s trouble.  The folks have all been stirred up by something, and Hylas says they should all wait, but they’ve got rocks and stones and plants and birds and such, so my feeling is he’s a bit ineffectual as a leader of men.  

He runs back to Gal, Dwarf and King (good name for a soul group) and tells them to look after King, as he goes on to meet his destiny.  We hope.  But, we’ll settle for a colorful death, as long as it happens quickly.

Cut to a bubbling cauldron of gassy liquid as it bubbles and burbles.  And cut to some stunt doubles racing across a hot, hot landscape.

Now, we cut to leper man and Herc inside a cave, and they’re running along the inside of this cave, and Herc stops to wonder why, or maybe catch his breath, or maybe—just maybe!—so he can give the camera a cooler angle. 

Leper Man runs up to a glowing hole in the ground, and he says this is the glowing place where everything that sucks, sucks a whole lot more.   He then accuses Herc of not believing him.  “You can’t believe that a piece of rock can destroy a man as we know him!   You can’t believe that a piece of rock can change bodies, as well as minds!   That rock could bring us life, Hercules, but it also brings us death!  With dead men who walk, Hercules!  Unbelievable horrors!”

Leper man leaps into the convenient flame, and he disintegrates.    Thanks for nothing, Leper Man, we’re not a whole lot wiser now.  Bearded Guy who looked like Herc but wasn’t, shows up and he spills the same Uranus spiel.  He’s a Priest of some kind (probably the evil kind).  He also notes how Queen was eager to use the powers of the rock to cement her power to something more cementable.

Herc tells Priest how Uranus was always a just god, and this just isn’t like him, and Priest says, (in essence) yeah, well, okay, maybe you’re right.  But he won’t alter his behavior or anything like that.

Herc says that this rock has caused a lot of evil and should be destroyed, and Priest says it can’t be destroyed, it can only “lose its power when touched by a force, above and beyond this Earth on which we live.”

Herc says, well, then, what’s the secret of this “force”?

Priest strides around a bit, all actor-like, and says he can only reveal the secret to one man.   Does he mean there’s a specific person he has to tell, or that he can only say it once and it expires? 

Turns out it’s the former, as the secret has to be told to someone who is (get this for plot convenience) super strong.  He asks Herc to grab this bar (no, no, it’s a metal bar) and prove how strong he is.

Herc walks over to the rock and his rod (no, the metal one) turns into a swell sparkler that shoots out green flame, and then disintegrates.   Priest notes that this is what happens to anything that gets near the rock, and Herc’s next task is to…get near the rock.

Seeing how this looks tough, Herc gazes skyward and asks Zeus for help.   He basically sys that he’s doing this not to show off, but because it’s the right thing to do.  He then leans over the rock and a green glow comes over him.

Well, this is all the proof Priest needs, as he tells Herc “Enough!” and spills the beans.  Turns out, the rays of the sun will destroy the rock, and there’s a convenient rock in the roof that is blocking the sun from shining right on the rock.  He says that if Herc removes the rock, it will end the reign of the evil Atlanteans by basically destroying them all, including the non evil ones. 

So, I guess Priest is a good guy, then?  Or is there more treachery afoot?  (“Ha ha, Hercules, charade you are!  The rays of the run make the rock stronger!  “Oh crap!”)

Herc says that he’ll defeat the evil Queen without causing the other Atlanteans to be destroyed.    He’ll do this with the help of his pals.

Cut to the outside, where a rag-tag mob is tearing through the valley of death, all worked up into a yelling mob.   They reach the temple, where some soldiers spill out to meet them, and there’s lots of mayhem that happens.  The mob appears to beat the soldiers pretty easily (like that’s a surprise, given what we’ve seen so far.  This mob doesn’t even have dwarves in it).

Speaking of Queen, up on a balcony she observes this scene, and turns to the Blonde Guy she pals around with (he has a goofy helmet on now, but it’s him.  He looks like some member of the Busey family).   Anyway, she gives him such a look, and they turn away, and he bangs on a gong.  No, no, a metal one.

And a whole bunch of other soldiers appear, with those helmets that obscure their faces, and they get a stirring evil fanfare that, well, shows they’re evil I guess.  And they’re strong and bad and stuff.  They stream outside and we fade to black. 

Fade in on a whole row of bodies, littering the temple floor.  The cameraman has an attack of vertigo, as the image tilts a couple of times.  At the entrance, the chariot and the white horses appear, and riding it is Hercules!  He surveys the bodies, and runs outside, where they are lots more of them.   I’m kind of guessing that whole “not destroy the good Atlanteans” bit is kind of moot, now.  Oh, and the cameraman has more vertigo.  Why don’t you sit down?

Herc thrusts past a couple of guards still standing by the palace, and walks determinedly through the corridors, calling out for the Queen.  He finds her, and wants to know where Hylas is.  She says that he’s alive, and Hercules wants to know why she didn’t kill him.  Wow, way to be a good parent there, Herc. 

Queen says she did this out of mercy.   She says that her people advised her to kill them, and kill Hercules, but it turns out she’s in love with the big lunk.  Oh, brother.  You’re not going to believe this, are ya Herc?

She asks him to join her in her quest, and promises him power, and she kisses him.  His only response is to ask how she’s going to conquer the world. 

She goes and bangs on a gong (yes, the same metal one).  Blonde Guy and some Death Troopers show up.  “These are my soldiers, my men, against which no force in the world can combat.  Of the supreme race, born of the blood of Uranus.”  She pauses.  “Pick up that table, Hercules.  And hurl it away, if you are able to.”

He smiles and does this, rather easily.  One of her Storm Troopers picks it up, and throws it back.  The marble table top breaks. 

”With this new race I can dominate the world,” she says.  “And you shall be at my side.”

”This is a mad dream, [Queen], but I shall put an end to the madness!” Herc declares, and a Storm Trooper rushes him, sword drawn.    But Herc beats up the Storm Troopers pretty easily.  So, she calls for more, and he beats them up.  So she calls for more, and just for a shock effect, they take off their helmets.

Okay, I know you’re anxious to know what they look like under those masks.  So I won’t keep you in suspense.  They all look like Blonde Guy.   Even Herc is surprised, and he’s used to real men!

So, now you know where George Lucas STOLE the idea of “Attack of the Clones.”

Queen orders Herc killed, I think.  The musical sting covers up her dialogue.  But everyone just sort of shuffles around.   So maybe they couldn’t hear her either.  And Herc runs up to the throne, and a secret door opens behind it, and Herc drops down into it (just when the Clones start to move a bit quicker).

And Herc pops through a secret door into a dungeon, and there’s Hylas, too.  No sign of Dwarf, but who wants to bet that li’l funster is lurking around, just waiting to be discovered comically?

Herc upbraids Hylas for disobeying him, and Hylas basically says, Aw shucks, you never let me have any fun, etc.  Herc goes around the room looking for weak spots, but finds none.  Hylas notes a sudden mist flowing in from little holes in the floor, and Herc speculates that this is where folks are robbed of their memory just like King!   Oh, Herc, you’re in a spot now.

Speaking of being in a spot, I hate to really bring anyone down, especially myself, but we’re still got (deep breath) SEVENTEEN minutes to go. 

Hylas and Herc stand there, and the camera pans down to show the mist, and Herc decides to test the roof for weak spots, and (to a burst of triumphal music) he’s able to deroof the chamber.  What luck!  Hylas lends a hand as well, and they’re soon free. 

You know, you’d think an underground chamber wouldn’t have a roof, that it would be just part of a cave and thus go all the way to the surface, but there you go thinking again.  Hercules and Hylas scale a convenient chain towards the surface, and we fade to black again.

Fade in as Herc and Hylas are skulking through tunnels and such.  I’m gonna bet this is the same place where the evil rock is.  A lone Storm Trooper Clone Warrior says something along the lines of “Hey!” but Herc soon puts paid to him. 

They pause and examine the chamber they’re in.  Herc points that one tunnel leads to the temple, the other leads to the sea, and he orders Hylas to take the one to the sea and make tracks.  Hylas is like, “But, father—“ but Herc puts his foot down and says, in effect, Do what I ask you this one time, it’s important, and (he adds) I’ll catch up to you later.

”Take care of your mother, “ he says, then quickly, “they’ve discovered our escape!  Hurry!”

And Herc runs off, and Hylas looks after, and then bends down and begins…undressing the dead Clone Warrior. 

Ah…is this really the best time for this, Hylas?

Ha ha, I kid, obviously he’s going to steal the uniform and rescue Herc just when all seems doomed.  Oh, sorry I hope I didn’t spoil it for you.  I mean, maybe he’s just undressing a dead guy.  For a science project.   I’ve been wrong before.  Ooo, boy, have I been wrong before (shudder).

Herc runs back to the temple where he left the chariot, and some other guy is about to ride it, but Herc tosses him off and takes off, and Blonde Guy says, “After him!” and various hubbub ensues.

And we cut to Hylas dressing in the Clone Warrior costume, just so we don’t get any ideas.

And there’s a long chase through tunnels, with Herc on his chariot, and the Clone Warriors following on horses.  And Herc gets to where he wants to go, and smashes some jugs (no, no, the ceramic kind) and throws a torch on his chariot, which, naturally, bursts into flame.  And the horses, Herc, what about them?

No, matter, we hear them neigh and whinny as we cut to the Clones riding in.  Herc throws another jug just for good measure, and the place is soon in flames.  He then dashes up some stairs.

And it seems that the terrified horses, dragging the burning chariot, are spreading the flames further into the corridor.  They ride past the Clones, who are a bit stymied at this wall of flame stuff.  Ooo, what should we doooo?  We’re totally invincible…unless, we’re punched, or stabbed, or thrown, or beaten at Canasta, but ooooo…fire!

We get many shots of horses throwing their Clone rides, a few clones running around on fire, and the like…so much so that we’re down to eleven minutes. 

Blonde Guy calls out, “Come on!  Leave the horses, follow me!” and he and the remaining Clones all run (right through the fire with no ill effects I’m obliged to point out) toward where Hercules also might be.  Wouldn’t it be great if he yelled, “Pull your swords out of Uranus and sally forth!”  He doesn’t, though.  Killjoy. 

And Hercules is running along a corridor.  He stops and rips out a supporting beam in a chamber, just in time, too, as it collapses on most (if not all) of the Clones.   He runs into the rock chamber and…puts a chain around his neck, okay, whatever…and scales the rock wall. 

And we cut to Dwarf!  He’s skulking along outside, in the bright sun, and he looks at all the boats gathered, no doubt mischief brewing in his mind.  And a Clone Warrior comes out of the building, and terrifies the little dude, but it turns out to be Hylas.  And they have a joyous reunion.

So, I guess Hylas was indulging in some obsession.  Because his dressing in a Clone costume had no other purpose.   And here (or rather, there) I was giving him all this credit.

Anyway, Dwarf says “I knew it was you all the time,” and Hylas puts on the mask, and Dwarf squeals in terror, and Hylas has to remind him that it is still him (Hylas). 

Hylas asks about Gal.  Dwarf says she’s captured.  Ah ha!  So maybe this costume will have a purpose, other than some…uh, low…degrading, rubberized…cough.

Anyway, Dwarf explains that King is also a prisoner, and he tried to protect everyone, he “must have killed at least fifty” of the soldiers, and he goes on about his manufactured exploits but Hylas cuts to the chase.  “So [Gal] is a prisoner?”

Dwarf points to a ship where both Gal and King are, and says they’re to be sacrificed.    Hylas seizes the opportunity (and the Dwarf) and runs to the ship.  He tells the soldiers to set sail now, and when one of them objects about not seeing the signal, Hylas says he carries the Queen’s orders.  Actually, he’s carrying a dwarf but I bet it’s the same thing.

He goes up to Gal, tied to a mast, and tells her to schtumm about yelling out, but that he’s here to save her.  Of course, she immediately shouts, “Hylas!” which I would think less than helpful.

Down in the rock room, down in the rock room, people put him down cause that’s the kind of town Herc was born in…oh sorry.  Herc, pounding away on a seemingly unyielding rock, he finally manages to rend it asunder and sunlight starts pouring in.

But the sunlight isn’t on the rock.  It’s near it, but not enough.  And Priest strides out then, pointing out, uh, well, I’ll let him tell it.

”Slowly the sun will move, Hercules, and where shadow has been, bright sunlight will shine.”

Herc takes this to mean he should climb down, and he goes to see Priest, who says, “Go, Hercules!  Leave this island!  The Fates have decreed that you should live!”

Well, Herc doesn’t need a second opinion, he takes off like a shot through the rock corridors.  Priest turns and waves his hands at the rock.

Cut to Queen, up on her balcony with a bunch of guys all dressed like Priest.  She notes how, real soon now, the ship with the sacrifices will be on fire and everything will be all right again. 

This was apparently the signal to set the ship on fire, but Hylas tosses the line away, so the other soldiers are left in their little dinghy, and the tosses the guy with the torch overboard. 

Hercules has now reached the shore, and he delicately steps out of the cave mouth and onto the shore.  Wouldn’t want to slip on some barnacles or something.  Actually, he’s way up on the top of a cliff, and he leaps into the ocean. 

On the ship, Hylas cuts everyone loose, and in the cave, we see the sun is almost on the rock.  On the ship again, Gal spots Hercules, who swims up and is brought aboard, and he gives Hylas a big hug.

In the cave, the light just touches the rock, and the explosion is so intense, the video goes all skewed!  And we see a volcano on the island erupt.   As lava spews everywhere and the Queen’s palace starts to collapse, we again get the music from Creature from the Black Lagoon!  No, it’s totally that music, I wouldn’t lie to you.

I have to admit, the superimposition of lave and fire and smoke footage, joined with fleeing Atlanteans, is pretty well done…except the Atlanteans are fleeing toward the fire.  Other than that, though, kudos and such.

Queen runs into the temple and says, “You must protect us, mighty Uranus!”  But her pleas seem to fall on deaf ears and the palace collapses, and then, the temple collapses right on top of Queen.   Lots of destruction and stock footage of destruction and such.  It’s not bad but do we really need three minutes of it?  Especially since one of the final shots is of a mother comforting her child—that kind of, you know, gives the lie to what we were thinking, that it was only evil Atlanteans left. 

And with only a minute to go, we cut to the ship, where Gal is weeping over the fate of her fellows, and Hylas is being manly right next to her.

King awakens, throws off his bonds and proves to have no memory of anything that transpired. 

”Well, then you don’t know what you did!” says Herc.

”No, why, what did I do?” asks King.

”You saved all of Greece!” says Herc, and they fall about laughing over that, as Gal and Hylas kiss.  The two of them stop kissing briefly to look at this laughter (“olive grease?” one imagines them thinking) but then go back to getting’ busy.  And we see a golden sunset, and the film is over.   Man, the footage takes a real downturn as we pan up and see The End.  I mean, speckles and garbage and, well, generally stuff that makes you think they cleaned something with this footage.  Something really filthy.  Like me.

And we get some closing notice about how France and Italy cooperated for this, and then we get a card with these names on it:  Ettore Manni, Luciano Marin, Laura Altian, and Mario Valdemart.   Those last three names may be cut off by the edge of the screen, but still one has to wonder:  who the heck are these people?  Were these people?

Also, and this is a big question, why is the film called “Hercules and the Captive Women”?  There was only one female captive.  I suppose changing “Women”  to “Woman” would have made it sound like some kind of perverted romp in togas, but still, can we not be accurate?   Call it “Hercules in Atlantis” or something like that.  Sheesh.  The cleaning up I have to do around here….

Despite the crappy print, bad dubbing and attempted comedy (man, Hercules asleep just gets funnier and funnier, yawn), this was actually a pretty enjoyable film.  Should you seek it out at great peril?  Whoah, ease on up in that enthusiasm, there, pardner, we’re not talking cinematic gold, here, we’re not even talking cinematic brass. 

But, if you’re in the right mood and don’t mind watching people sleep knowing you’re supposed to laugh, and if dwarves or guys in masks don’t scare you, give it a shot some Saturday afternoon when it’s raining, and relive childhood again.

--May 2005