See if you can follow this chain of thought from Drew Zahn's WorldNetDaily review of the new "Hercules" film:
The film follows the adventures of the ancient Greek hero Hercules after he’s completed his legendary 12 labors, with the clever twist that he’s not really the son of Zeus, as Greek mythology would teach, but only a hardened warrior who has gotten by with the help of his friends. The stories of his conquests, however, grew to mythical proportions (with a bit of help), until people believed him the “son of a god.”
Each “magical” event and “monster” in his life is revealed by the film to be a perfectly natural occurrence only inflated to its supernatural reputation by a bit of trickery and the help of the grapevine.
And so long as we’re talking only about the mythical Hercules, this naturalist explanation for an ancient, supernatural hero is not a problem. Discerning audiences could enjoy the action and imagery and celebrate the movie’s messages about heroism, integrity and the measure of a man.
But if, by chance, this thread theme of the movie – that ancient heroes were not really supernatural, but at best overblown legends and, at worst, frauds – were to apply to Jesus Christ … why, then we’d have a different message to the movie after all.
And that’s where I found the half of a worm.
No, Jesus is never mentioned by name in the movie, nor are any direct parallels made. There’s a companion who betrays Hercules, the son of a god father and human mother, for money – but it’s still clear we’re talking about Hercules, not Jesus and his betrayer, Judas.
Yet the final line of the film feels way too much like finding the head of the thread was a snake all along.
“The world needs a hero they can believe in,” explains Hercules’ companion Amphiaraus. “Is he actually the son of Zeus? It doesn’t really matter.”
Then the final credits roll, with the song singing, “Ain’t no God on these streets, in the heart of the jungle. Won’t you follow me into the jungle?”
For me, the moment just felt a step too far.
I can’t say the filmmakers meant the movie in any way as a reference to Christ – “Hercules” does nothing to really justify that conclusion. But I do think audiences, especially undiscerning audiences culture-wide, will all too easily find their minds greased to swallow the humanistic idea that Jesus was a heroic figure, a good teacher, even if he wasn’t really divine. They just watched, after all, how all magic and monsters and miracles aren’t really real, but legends that grew into supernatural malarkey over the passage of time. If it was true of Hercules …
“The world needs a hero they can believe in. Is he actually the son of [God]? It doesn’t really matter.”
Doesn’t matter? Doesn’t matter! It’s all that matters!
As we read it, Zahn is concerned that a Greek myth might be extrapolated to apply to Christianity, despite the fact that there is no mention of Christianity in the film.Which makes sense, since the time of Greek mythology predates Christianity.
Indeed, Zahn writes later: "The movie is set in a time of superstition, and there’s stories told of the Greek gods, but no actual gods appear, nor is religion prominently displayed. In fact, the point of the movie is that the superstition is all false anyway."
But doesn't the arrival of Christianity implicitly hold that the Greek mythology it superceded was all superstition and, thus, false?
It seems that Zahn is trying to impose his version of Christianity on a pre-Christian narrative. But imposing his own agenda instead of reviewing movies for what they are is what Zahn is all about.