Disney's Hercules movie is based on the stories of Hercules. There are some minor differences. To make it more child like, Hera was turned into the loving mother of Hercules. Its ironic because all of Hercules problems stem from Hera. She hated Hercules because he was the son of Zeus' lover. She created many problems for him. For our purposes, the name of Hercules works pretty well. Hercules means for the glory of Hera. He is meant to honor Hera with his deeds. Well, Hercules did fight Hades to get his girl. Plus, he really was trained by Phil. With these preliminaries lets talk about Hercules, the Disney movie.
Hades had gotten a prophecy about Hercules. He was the one man who could foil his plans to conquer Mount Olympus. As it is usual in Greek tragedies, trying to prevent something from happening usually makes the event occur. Thus, turning Hercules to a demi God was the thing that foiled Hades plans. Hades really was ought to get Zeus. He did not like ruling the Underworld. He sorta lost a bet and thus ended up with that dump. The movie also mixed in the story of Perseus. Pegasus belonged to Persues. That winged Horse was born from the blood wound of Medusas' neck. Needless to say, Pegasus true birth was a bit more gory, than Disney's cute clouds.
There was also a range issue. Zeus' temples could not be placed too far from Olympus. These limitations kept the Greeks from expanding. They lost to the Romans because their religion limited their conquest. The furthest they ever got were minor colonies near the oceans. Oh, and before you bring out the Alexander card, let me tell you chibis on thing. Alexander the Great was not Greek, he was Macedonian. He only adopted Greek practices for political purposes. There were very few Greek Gods that had no limit. They were Apollo, Selene, Poseidon by the coast, Demeter, Diana of the forest and Hades. Thus, Hades' powers were not made up. As the lord of the Underworld, he had control of the dead, the Titans, the Fates, Cerberus and the Furies. Also, these boundaries limitations kept Zues from contacting Hercules directly.
That Disney company knows well their Greek mythology. Hercules training regiment was also historical. All our modern day exercise routines were first invented by the Greeks. They were health freaks and they would exercise in their Gymnasium. Phil really did not train Achilles. Achilles was trained by Chiron, the immortal Centaur. After his training, Hercules, in the movie, meets Megeria. Hercules truly did meet Megeria under similar circumstances. Its interesting to note Hercules terrible use of a sword. He was very clumsy with such weapons. That is why in mythology his main weapon was the club. It stood for his unrefined brute strength.
After the fight with the Centaur, Hercules in the movie, goes to make his name in Athens. The depiction of Athens, though comically exaggerated, was just about right. Athens was the biggest metropolis of the Greek city states. They became filthy rich, after their epic victory against the Persians. That victory gave them authority over the rest of the Greek city States. They started to bleed money from the other city states. In no time, Athens became a great empire. This was the perfect place for Hercules to spread his name.
In this city, Hercules fought the Hydra. In his stories, Hercules defeated the Hydra by dropping a boulder on the beast. In the Disney movie, Hercules sliced all its heads from the inside, with one fell sweep. The only way to kill a hydra is to cut all its heads. After this first victory, the Zero to Hero song summarized all of Hercules 12 tasks. The Muses were serving their proper role in this Disney movie. All of the ancient Greek epics were songs. No play, ever began without appealing to the Muses for inspiration.
The final half of the movie is a bit off. Originally, it was Hera who released the Titans. She stole the heart of Chronos and defeated the Olympians. It was not Hades responsible for that part of the movie. Heck, Hera even defeated Hades with the Heart of Chronos. The symbols of the Gods are their weapons. Thus, the Heart of Chronos was the source of Zeus powers. After this Victory over the Titans in the movie, Hercules saved Meg from Hades. He really did do this.
The whole becoming a God by entering the river Spyx was just for movie purposes. He did rise to heaven, after death. However, he did not return to live with Meg. Heck, Meg died a second time, by Hercules hands. Hera had struck Hercules with madness in mythology. He had killed Meg and his children. The 12 Task was part of his atonement for his crime. The final part of the movie occurred at the end of Hercules' death. There is no happy ending for the true Hercules. He only found solace from his toils in death. Regardless, Disney's Hercules with a happy ending is 5 stars worthy. I really did enjoy it. I also liked dissecting this Disney movie for you. It was lots of fun.