One absolutely crazy concept for a movie
Hercules Returns, Now this is an original movie. I remember times when we would sit in a room intoxicated and make up lines for movies that we were watching. This is what this movie is. David Parker directed the movie, but the original idea came from Des Mangan, the same guy who hosts the cult movie on SBS. When we watch this movie, we nod our heads and state that only Des Mangan could come up with something as bizarre as this.
This movie has two plots because it is a movie in a movie. The whole concept is that a B-grade Italian Hercules movie is being dubbed over, but it seems like they needed some reasons for it, so created a plot around it. One guy is sick of working for a big cinema corporation and decides to capture the essence of movie going by reopening the old Palace cinema. Unfortunately his boss, Kent doesn’t want him to so sabotages the movie by switching the reels for one that is in Italian and has no subtitles. So what they do is dub it themselves.
This movie is well scripted and Mangan must know Hercules off by heart because he picks up so many subtle things. The scripting is incredibly clever as the timing is perfect. Parts are cut out, but we are not watching it for the plot, but rather to hear what is being said. The movie by itself is nothing, but the way they change the characters is.
One thing this movie shows us is that one can completely change a character simply by changing what he says. Sampson becomes a wimp that is manipulated by his wife Delilah, Hercules is a stupid singer wanna-be, and another muscle man becomes camp. And there are plenty of jokes about musclemen and movie fights in here. I guess my favourite is when Hercules talks about how he hates jokes about his little peepee.
Hercules Returns is a masterful creation and incredibly funny. It is one of those movies that stands out simply because it does. It is original and though it could be done again, it wouldn’t be worth it. It is a shame that after this brilliant piece of work, Mangan simply became a host for SBS, though we really do not know what else has been done by him.