10 best animated films from the Disney Renaissance

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8. Hercules

Loosely based on the myth, Disney’s version of Hercules released in 1997 and starred Tate Donovan, Danny DeVito, Jame Woods, Susan Egan, and Rip Torn. In this version of the tale, Hercules has his immortality taken away from him and is sent to Earth. But what he doesn’t have in immortality, he makes up for in strength. He doesn’t know anything about his actual upbringing until he is much older. Zeus speaks to him through a statue and tells him of his origins and that he must return to Mount Olympus, but first, he has to become a true hero.

What does that mean exactly? Hercules has to figure that out for himself. Luckily, he has the help of his “trainer,” Phil and his winged horse, Pegasus. He fights monsters and saves his city, but his ultimate self-sacrifice is what ultimately makes him into a true hero.

While training, he meets a girl named Meg. Meg’s initial task is to make Hercules fall in love with her and then ruin him by telling Hades his greatest weakness. What she doesn’t plan on is actually falling in love with Hercules herself. She refuses to tell Hades anything, and he captures her, telling Hercules that he will only let her go if her gives up his strength for 24 hours.

Hercules agrees as long as no harm comes to Meg. Drained of his strength, Hercules then has to fight a cyclops that Hades sets on his city. With the help of Phil, they do end up killing the cyclops — but in the process, Meg is injured and ends up dying.

Not willing to give up, Hercules returns to the Underworld and dives into the River of Death to pull Meg out and back to the world of the living. By doing so, he is made a god again and is able to save her.

This movie includes some amazing songs, including the opening where the Muses sing and Meg’s song, “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love).” Hercules may be somewhat of a classic Disney movie now, but it wasn’t too popular when it came out. It earned a little under $100 million, making it the ninth highest earner during this period, only ahead of the Rescuers Down Under.