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Today in Nerd History | June 13

Get ready to flex some mythological muscles and unleash some gamma-powered action as we dive into the anniversaries of two beloved films: Disney’s “Hercules” and Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk.” Both movies brought unique twists to their respective genres, mixing ancient legends and modern superhero tales with a healthy dose of cinematic flair. Let’s explore some “Nerdy Facts” about these dynamic entries in the realms of animation and live-action.

Inclusion on this list does not imply that the entry is family friendly, only that is was a nerd culture milestone. Parents should, of course, use discernment.

© Disney

1997: Hercules (Theaters)

Disney’s “Hercules” hit theaters with its own animated take on the classic Greek myth, featuring a gospel-singing muse chorus, a sarcastic and soulful villain, and a hero with more brawn than brains initially.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Musical Innovation: “Hercules” featured a vibrant soundtrack that included gospel and soul influences, a departure from typical Disney musical styles, with songs like “Zero to Hero” capturing the upbeat, heroic journey of Hercules.
  • Star-Studded Voices: The film boasted an impressive voice cast, including Tate Donovan as Hercules, James Woods as Hades, and Danny DeVito as Philoctetes, each bringing significant character depth and humor to their roles.
  • Artistic Style: The animation style was inspired by the work of British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, whose exaggerated and fluid designs gave the film a distinct and dynamic visual flair unlike any other Disney movie at the time.

© Marvel Studios / Universal Pictures

2008: The Incredible Hulk (Theaters)

Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk,” part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), featured Edward Norton as Bruce Banner on the run from the military while struggling to control the monster within.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Reboot Attempt: This film was an attempt to reboot Hulk’s cinematic presence following the less favorably received 2003 film “Hulk” directed by Ang Lee. It sought to integrate the character more firmly into the budding MCU.
  • Special Effects Milestone: The Hulk’s appearance was a major focus, with advances in CGI allowing for a more realistic and consistently sized Hulk compared to previous iterations.
  • Cameo Connection: Look out for Robert Downey Jr.’s cameo as Tony Stark, which helped solidify the interconnected nature of the MCU, hinting at the formation of the Avengers.

June 13 is a day to celebrate the fusion of myth and science fiction, where ancient heroes and modern-day monsters remind us of the enduring appeal of transformation and redemption. Whether it’s swinging a club or smashing through walls, “Hercules” and “The Incredible Hulk” continue to entertain and inspire audiences with their stories of strength and humanity. Happy Nerd History Day to all who enjoy these tales of power and the struggle for personal control!

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Station Manager of LTN Radio and co-host of the "Nerd History Podcast" & the "Two Words Podcast". Matt is a third-generation radio station manager who has done pretty much every job in the radio industry. Matt is the father of two boys and a little girl. It's probably the best thing about him.

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