Hercules: Zero to Hero is a direct-to-video movie edited from four episodes of Hercules: The Animated Series, released on August 17, 1999.
The film consists of three segments that would later serve as episodes from the television series, branched together by additional original animation, much in the style of a later direct-to-video Disney sequel, Tarzan & Jane.
The film briefly gives Hercules' history after defeating Hades for good, in which he marries Meg and revisits his teenage years. In particular, it shows an adolescent Hercules's enrollment and the beginning of his adventures at the Prometheus Academy, a school for gods and mortals, which Hercules supposedly attended during the time when he was training to be a hero with his mentor, the satyr Philoctetes.
The TV series reunited most of the original voice cast from the 1997 film. Only Danny DeVito was unavailable to reprise the role of Phil, who was played by Robert Costanzo. This was Paddi Edwards last film, in which she provided the voice of Atropos.
- Tate Donovan as Hercules
- Susan Egan as Meg
- Robert Costanzo as Philoctetes
- Corey Burton as Zeus
- James Woods as Hades
- Matt Frewer as Panic
- Bobcat Goldthwait as Pain
- Paul Shaffer as Hermas
- Frank Welker as Pegasus
- Eric Stoltz as Theseus
- Richard Simmons as Physedipus
- Eric Idle as Parenthesis
- Sandra Bernhard as Cassandra
- French Stewart as Icarus
- Diedrich Bader as Adonis
- Barbara Barrie as Alcmene
- Jodi Benson as Helen of Troy
- Michael Dorn as Minotaur
- Paddi Edwards as Atropos
- Bill Fagerbakke as Cyclops Head#1
- Wayne Knight as Cyclops Head#2
- Cheryl Freeman as Mepomene
- Brad Garrett as Orthus
Critical reception Edit
On imdb, the song has a rating of 6.1/10 from 219 users. On RateYourMusic, the song scored 2.88/5.0 from 11 ratings, and was ranked #508 for 1999. BCDB has a film rating of 2.5/5 stars from 6 users.
Michelle Erica Green of LittleReview gave the film a rating of B+, writing that while the film "lacks the dazzling visuals of the feature film upon which it is based...it's hard not to be charmed", adding "the characters are all clever and original despite their mythic origins". Conversely, Antagony & Ecstasy gave a scathing review, writing that as the film "was assembled of four episodes of the Hercules cartoon that had already aired in 1998", it was "perhaps the single grubbiest cash-in of [all the direct-to-video released]", adding "Zero to Hero was already going to be at such a low level of accomplishment even relative to other DTV projects".
In a review of Hercules: Zero to Hero and Belle's Tales of Friendship, Vern Perry of Gainesville Sun described the Disney formula as "Just give 'em what they like. And keep it up.", noting that's what the company has done with these two 1998 releases. He added that this film benefited greatly from the return of some of the original voice cast including Tate Dovovan and James Woods.