Have you ever felt the need to know what your destiny is? For some of us, that is a daily question we ask ourselves. Caught in the predicament that if our destiny is revealed to us, we can stop running around in life like a chicken with it’s head cut off. While others are content with never knowing or believing that their destiny will be revealed in time. With an open mind, let’s dive into this topic and see if any answers can be found…
Out of the five Hercules films that predates the show, Hercules and The Lost Kingdom would be the second in the collection. Directed by Harley Cokeliss and produced by Sam Raimi, this movie literally has the same feel as the show. Which I find such a delight! It’s quite a bother when the movies and the TV series don’t align right. But not in this case luckily. Our noble hero is played by the dashing Kevin Sorbo, same actor in both the movie and series.
Over yonder a field of hills comes three vigorous men running, as if it were The Olympics. What starts out as a simple marathon while passing a scroll between them, ends up in a desperate struggle for survival to deliver a scroll to our dear Hercules. Hera was yet again on the hunt to sabotage Hercules in any way she could. A lone survivor continues the mission while the others were deliberately killed by mysterious forces.
Next, we see a woman picking flowers in a serene forest but is interrupted by loud, forceful stomping as if it were a giant or something large to that extent. In terror she flees to her hometown nearby, where Hercules is being discrete wearing a hooded cloak (which is uncommon for him to wear) inside the tavern. Just then a giant by the name of Gargon, with razor-sharp teeth and a bat (that much resembles a caveman’s bat) lifts the roof off of the tavern, demanding for Hercules to be present, and states he won’t leave until his request is granted. Being the hero Hercules is, he reveals himself by unveiling his hood and tells Gargon he will fight him if that’s truly what he wants. As these two brutes duke it out, a disguised Zeus (played by Anthony Quinn) watches carefully with the crowd, rooting for Hercules the entire time despite his fellow watchers’ ridicule.
Seeing a human-sized man whose height just barely reaches above the giant’s knees take on such a large individual, you sit on the edge of your seat wondering just how he’ll be able to prevail. All it took was a bat to the face and a finishing punch to the face. Our hero is then praised by all in town, but he refuses the town’s offering to make a shrine in his honor. Instead he tells them he’d rather like to just finish his soup.
Just then the lone survivor from before enters town, exhausted by his journey, he gives Hercules the scroll before dying. The scroll reads that the lost city of Troy is in need of Hercules’ help, but only those who know the location can find it. Zeus comes forth to inform Hercules that the only way to get to Troy would be to find a compass within the possession of Queen Omphale of Lydia.
On his travels, he spots a clan of elaborately dressed people worshiping a water god using a human virgin sacrifice. Go figure. But not on Hercules’ watch, so he unbinds the willing young woman and tells everyone there will be no sacrifices today and they shouldn’t ever attempt it again. Angered by the interruption, the woman scolds Hercules telling him it’s not up to him to interfere with her destiny. Destiny? To sacrifice oneself to please another is never a destiny – whether a God or not. Ludicrous! As Hercules walks away, the woman, Deianeira (played by Renée O’Connor), follows him as she convinces herself that perhaps he is apart of her destiny. Perhaps the one to show her the path at least. Full of spunk and attitude, she becomes quite a handful for Hercules. Her running mouth being the culprit to a couple of their problems. Act first, think later kind of gal.
Deianeira and Hercules travel together towards the kingdom of this Queen to retrieve the compass. Later, the two converse and she says she is the daughter of a handsome king who loves her very much. During the night, Deianeira awakes from her sleep to realize she is being watched by a mysterious blue cloaked figure who leaves just as quickly as he appeared. Hercules is bothered by this, but Deianeira insists that the hooded man is her protector, whose watched over her since she was a child.
Next day Hercules and Deianeira find the town only to discover that today is “Slave Market Day”. What better way to gain the interest of a Queen than to have a strapping shirtless lad up for auction? Works like a charm with just a seducing glance in her direction, Queen Omphale wins the bidding on Hercules. Can’t say I blame her either. Swoons. Hercules spends the night with the Queen, while our friend Deianeira befriends a slave named Waylin (played by Robert Trebor) inside the town’s tavern after receiving payment from the auctioneer on Herc’s behalf.
With luck on our side, the Queen offers her collection of inventions to Hercules in the morning and Hercules retrieves the compass he’s come for. Deianeira meets up with Hercules and the two continue the journey to Troy once again. Travelling from time on end, they come to a cliff overlooking the sea – a dead-end? Confused they look at the compass to verify the point of direction, when the hooded man summons a sea serpent under the orders of Hera to fulfill the destiny of Deianeira. The gigantic sea serpent appears, swallowing both her and Hercules whole. Inside the belly of the beast, Hercules manages to make a treacherous journey through the organs to the heart and strangles it til the beast croaks. They both float to the surface and awaken to find themselves upon a strange land.
In the near distance, there’s a kingdom spotted – it’s none other than the Lost City of Troy of course. When the two arrive just before the town, Deianeira walks right into a trap and unfortunately gets them imprisoned by rogue warriors. These group of warriors lead them to see their King, who immediately recognizes Deianeira as his daughter. Due to unfortunate demands by Hera to sacrifice his daughter to her sea serpent, the King had to protect Deianeira by any means necessary. Disowning her was the only way he knew how which broke his heart because he loved her so dearly. Deianeira’s story isn’t just a story after all. Hooray! She really is the daughter of a king, though he is now an old man, awaiting his passing on his deathbed.
Just before he passed though, the king wanted Deianeira to take her place as Queen and to lead their people in their rightful kingdom Troy. But the kingdom is overtaken by the Cult of the Blue Priests – coincidentally run by the same hooded man we keep encountering. The people of Troy had to flee and live in refuge among the surrounding woods. Up to the task, Deianeira dresses the part of a warrior princess (yes, in a way much like Xena: The Warrior Princess, a hit TV series made by the same creators – which Rennée O’Connor becomes apart of).
The townspeople are ready more than ever to take back their kingdom so training commences with Hercules being the teacher. During training, our Princess catches the eye of Telamon, a young skilled warrior, who becomes jealous of Herc’s relationship with her. But Hercules was only being his ole’ friendly self, only helping her to aim correctly while using a bow. Telamon gives Herc his two-cents, but Hercules instead reverts the people’s attention to the important issue at hand: the fight necessary to win back their city.
He says to them that they need to be like a stone – hard and solid, without any emotions. Advice that Hercules heard consistently while growing up at training camps. The people prepare themselves that night for a battle the next day in hopes of getting back what’s rightfully theirs, against Telamon’s wishes to invade that night. Princess Deianeira had plans of her own that night as well. However tempting her affection though, Hercules would not accept any. Zeus even makes an appearance that night! But Zeus has no plans of intervening due to the fear of Hera’s wrath. Pitiful, yet understandable. After all, hell hath no fury like the wrath of a woman scorned, right?
Without the notice of anyone, Deianeira leaves under nightfall following the Blue Priest. Everyone, dressed and ready to go, hears the news of her disappearance upon daybreak by Waylin, the former slave gone warrior due to a life calling to choose your own path inspired by Hercules, yet again. Still, there’s a city to invade. They carry on without their princess. Not knowing that she is already at Troy, being garbed in a lovely white dress by the Cult of Blue Priests. When the citizens arrive into the city, it’s empty and eerily quiet. Too quiet. But lo and behold! The Cult appears as well as The Blue Priest, and even Princess Deianeira for a moment before being led to suffer her “destiny”.
Hercules makes his way up the tower to find Deianeira about to be sacrificed by sword this time. By now he’s fed up with her being sacrificed and goes head-to-head with the Blue Priest. A very eloquent sword the Blue Priest wields I must say. Pretty bad ass actually. Hercules uses the sword against the priest and prevails. But Hera won’t give up so easily! She attempts to swoop up Deianeira but Hercules interferes, shouting to Hera (who only appears in the sky as peacock feather eyes) that she has no right to claim one’s destiny. That it is up to the person themselves to decide their own destiny. I couldn’t agree more to that.
Up into the sky Hera swoops Hercules in Deianeira’s place, and off he flies into the sky like a leaf in the wind! Zeus turns up and reassures the princess that Herc will survive, for Hera would never kill his son. Deianeira’s arrival brings joy to the people, whom just defeated their hooded foes by using stones. The most joyful being Telamon, who suffers a mere head wound, gathers at her side to hold her hand. She accepts with such delight and the citizens rejoice as their princess claims her place as their rightful queen – Queen Deianeira. Meanwhile, our hero lands in an unknown land to where a man is requesting help to save a sacrifice… Same ole’ song and dance. Once again, Herc is off to the rescue!
If life is what you make of it, then let Hercules’ words of advice help you decide who or what you are meant to be. No one, no matter what anyone says, has that power over you. There’s always a choice – you always have a choice! So embrace these words of wisdom! Stay strong like a stone, but please, by all means, follow your heart and stay true to yourself. With an open mind, you’ll find life is full of wonderful surprises…