What must you pay to do what’s required in the name of good? Does it mean going against the odds? Does it mean defying your parent(s)? Or worse, the law? Or does it mean risking your life if need being to do what’s right? For some, the answers would all be yes. Hercules, being such a case…
The man of the hour, Hercules (played by Kevin Sorbo), appears in a dream where he wanders a snowy mountainside wearing a hooded cloak. A woman shows up, wearing a white hooded cape, at his side as he assists her uphill. Hercules wanders up ahead of her to find an open doorway in the mountainside where Zeus awaits. Upon arrival, Zeus beckons him to come in but the door closes on Herc. Outraged, he commands the door be opened. Then Hercules turns to the woman – unveiling herself to be a beautiful woman with voluminous golden locks. She calls to him, but it is too late. She is a frozen statue now. Hercules awakens in a frenzy. Luckily, it’s only a dream. But what does it mean?
Hercules and The Circle of Fire is part three of a five-movie-miniseries that takes place just before the show of Hercules and The Legendary Journeys. Zeus is played by Anthony Quinn and Deianeira, the girl of his dreams, played by Tawny Kitaen. Released in 1994, the movie is directed by Doug Lefler and produced by Sam Raimi.
After the credit roll, we find our hero on a quest to defeat a heinous villain (what’s new?) – in this case it was a witch. Into a cave, Hercules is led by a hideous man, where this supposed witch is said to dwell. A room opens up and there inside he finds a withered old hag of a woman chained up at the ankles. To which Hercules turns to the man without delay and the man drops the act of innocence. He’s the real witch! His goal was to gain the strength of Hercules but of course it backfires.
On a side note, a male witch is still referred to as a witch. Although there are those that would say that “warlock” would be the correct term. However, a warlock is known as an “oathbreaker” or one who would deceive you (much like a “snitch” or a “nark”). In the magickal arts, it is up to the person, themselves, to be open about their magickal practices or to keep it private. The choice is theirs and no one else’s. To relay such information about another without permission is like throwing someone to the wolves; just plain heartless.
Anyways, the witch’s heart is stabbed by Hercules, freeing the woman who transforms into a young beautiful maiden. Apparently the witch was stealing the youth and strength of others in order to thrive and survive. He was also guarding the Fountain of Youth within the cave – just what Hercules needed. Before leaving, Herc fills a vial up and Hera then sabotages the fountain. No more Fountain of Youth…
Taken into town where Herc’s friend, Chiron (a satyr), resides, the vial is used to cure him of his immortal wound. Chiron drinks it, however the wound worsens within seconds. Hercules vows to Chiron that he will find a cure. All of a sudden, every fire in the village goes out instantly. Only Hera’s temple has a fire within leading Hercules to go investigate.
Seen bartering with the priests of her temple, is the same golden-haired woman from his dreams. Herc interrupts the deal however and tells her to keep her money for it’s pointless when concerning The Gods. Busting the door open, Hercules takes out all the guards and manages to save the lit torch. But Hera’s priestesses warn Hercules and the townspeople that the torch is meaningless with the Eternal Torch missing from Prometheus’ temple. Keep in mind, Prometheus is one of the last Titans to survive the wrath of Zeus. Hera has taken the torch in hopes of killing all life. Without fire, man will certainly perish, along with everything else. Later that night, the woman (Deianeira) goes to Chiron to find help, and he directs her to Hercules. Good grief. A man who’s all about kicking ass and taking names paired up with a woman who’s all about using her words and being rational.
Deianeira decides to join Hercules to retrieve this “torch” and the two begin to grow on one another. A giant crosses their path and thanks to Deianeira’s knowledge, the giant is defeated. Hercules was all for just using pure force, but Deianeira teaches him to use his mind as well. They also cross paths with a little wild-child by the name of Faydra, who wishes to never grow up and has a knack for giving out terrible directions. She reminds me of Peter Pan – always fleeing to avoid growing up and living like one of the “Lost Boys” in the woods.
Our pair arrives to their destination eventually, which is only a short distance from them now, but are weary from travelling so they check into an inn. Appalled by Herc’s decision to bunk in one room, Deianeira tells the resort employee to set up two rooms instead. A lack of affection? Not something Hercules is used to receiving from the ladies, but none the less he takes it like a champ.
Later on, Faydra is seen within the resort spying on both Herc and Deianeira. Obviously plotting some sort of demise. She finds three dazzling daughters of a wealthy guest who are smitten for Herc. She reveals to them his room of stay for the night and as expected they decide to pay him a visit.
When visiting, Hercules sees them all in the form of Deianeira. Despite his confusion by the multiple Deianeiras, he welcomes them with affectionate kisses. Unfortunately the real Deianeira walks in to find Hercules (naked) in bed with two women, when a third one jumps into his bed. Feeling foolish for thinking he was something special, she leaves in a fit of rage. He chases her immediately, grabbing a sheet on the way to cover himself (with a nice shot of his butt if I do say so myself!). All the while trying to convince her that it was a trick of some kind – and he is something special!
A moment later he’s dressed and ready to go but Deianeira is long gone by now. So Herc heads up Mount Aepion to retrieve the torch – alone. Still distraught, Deianeira is seen moping in the woods when the three wealthy daughters talking amongst themselves how Hercules called each of them “Deianeira”. Foolish, she realizes Hercules meant what he said and heads up the mountain to find him.
Hercules, wearing the hooded cloak as seen before in his dream, finds a mysterious doorway and inside Faydra is seen warming herself by a fire. Convinced she is a servant of Hera’s, Hercules begins questioning her. Zeus appears to tell Herc he’s incorrect; Faydra actually works for him. Shock!! Horror! Zeus also informs Hercules that Hera has placed the torch inside a large circle fire that will kill immortals. Apparently, Hera don’t play around – she means business.
Between father and son a disagreement ensues. Zeus wants Herc to take no part in this, for he cares too much for him. But Hercules knows in his heart what is the right thing to do. Hercules attempts to go forward but Zeus retaliates by raising thick walls from the ground up to block his path. A failed attempt considering Hercules has the strength to demolish each one, which he does without much effort.
Now face-to-face with his father, both admit their love for each other causing Zeus to give in to Herc’s desire. He stands down while Hercules enters the cave alone to the circle of fire within. Deianeira finally arrives wearing a hooded cloak as well, but it’s not enough to keep her warm. She shivers in the cold suffering from hypothermia but luckily makes it in time to find Hercules before he enters the cave. He gives her his cloak on top of hers to keep her warm while he attempts to save the world again.
Herc leaps into action, somersaulting over the fire completely unscathed. Grasping the torch, he chucks it straight up into the sky successfully landing it in Prometheus’ temple, right where it belongs. Prometheus frees himself from his frozen restraints and instantly returns fire to the land. Only problem is Hercules grows weaker by the second from the power of the fire. Zeus starts declaring this injustice to Hera and insists he will haunt her if she doesn’t release him from his fiery imprisonment.
Hercules wrings around in pain on the floor, with his arms reaching out to Zeus, practically begging Zeus for his help. I find this hard to believe. Our dear Herc relying on Zeus to save him? How did Hercules manage to stay alive this whole time without his help ever?
Our pair returns to town and Chiron becomes a mortal with Hercules’ help. His immortal wound (along with his satyr immortal traits) ceases to exist after residing within a ring of fire. Hercules saves the day yet again! Even gets the girl too!
Although life may not be as black-and-white when it comes to deciphering right from wrong. But like Hercules, you know in your heart what’s the right thing to do (at least majority of the time). Despite the setbacks and complications along the way, it’s always worth it. You may even come to find that you shall receive respect from your peers in the long run. In life, anything worth doing is never going to be easy, right? The Universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart – never forget that.