2014 started with a box office flop for The Legend Of Hercules, a movie about Hercules and his destiny to take back Argos after it fell. It is very confusing as to why this movie didn’t do well, but my best guess is that it simply wasn’t what the public was looking for and, yes, it is indeed another movie about gladiators and giant muscular men. 300: Rise Of An Empire did fine, but this film was a much better story and still it did worse. It is amazing what publicity can do to a film of the same genre. Overall, cinematography was good, special effects were decent, and the acting was actually pretty good. Renny Harlin has had rough luck with his films, with his career never fully recovering from the disaster that was CutThroat Island for the box office, which was another extremely surprising bust. It seems pretty clear that Renny Harlin will unfortunately never get the recognition he truly deserves.
Tuomas Kantelinen, a composer whom I was unfamiliar with before this film, composed the score for The Legend Of Hercules. It seems that he hasn’t done much for American films based on my research, but he has been doing scores for many Finnish films. It seems that Mongul back in 2007 was the composer’s claim to fame, for this score in particular seemed to have gotten him some very good praise. War movies certainly are Kantelinen’s genre for film for he has written many over the course of his career.
Kantelinen provides for an incredible first impression for me, with The Legend Of Hercules being a very good orchestral score for this film. Not surprisingly, Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator is everywhere in this film, but Kantelinen does a good job writing original music. “The Fall Of Argos” starts off the soundtrack with a bang as the action material here is chilling to say the least. The wailing women are present and the massive percussion; string arpeggios and wailing brass all come into effect here, as well as the massive choir. The music certainly fits on camera and makes for a very heroic sound.
“Cave” is another example of the giant choir chanting that you hear in the first cue. The brass is back and in full force supporting the choir. The percussion has a very cool reverb sound to it that creates a nice tense atmosphere that works with a cave setting, as well as the subtle but chilling “oooo”s from the choir. “Hercules The Leader” has this same tense reverb all over the entire cue, but the structure here provides for wonderful cinematic support. The amount of testosterone in this score is worth the money and the atmosphere Kantelinen provides is spectacular.
There are some nice subtle cues to add to this score though, including the main theme presented in “Hercules Main Theme”. It is a plethora of strings and woodwinds that provides for a nice light atmosphere to create a heroic sense of wonder for Hercules. The cue is orchestrated beautifully and really gives a nice relaxing feeling that is a good distraction from the action music. The chord progressions are stunning. The same theme is present as well earlier in the soundtrack in “Intervention Of The Gods”.
I am surprised that a box office bust like this has such incredible music and it makes me mad that this sort of thing happens. Kantelinen easily deserves much bigger productions than this, for his music is truly spectacular for this motion picture. It appears that he just hasn’t gotten his chance yet and it seems like, based on this music, it will only be a matter of time before a smart director realizes this composer’s potential.
Music As Written For The Film: 5/5
Music As Heard On The Album: 5/5