Monday, April 13, 2009

Hercules -- Adoptee

The Easter Bunny placed a Hercules DVD in Maya's basket (she likes the "Zero to Hero" song that appears on a compilation DVD we have and Hercules was on sale at Target for $4.75!), and the girls and I watched it last evening before bed (why I didn't get to see Extreme Makeover: Home Edition).

I took my nephew to see it when it first came out, but I'd forgotten the plot details and certainly don't remember much of my Greek mythology from middle school (assuming the Disney version bears any resemblance to actual Greek mythology). In a nutshell, Hercules is the son of Zeus and Hera, but is stolen from them and turned into a mortal. He can't return to Mt. Olympus because of his non-god status, so Zeus and Hera leave him with the family who found him abandoned on their doorstep (Disney's synopsis calls them his adoptive parents, and IMdB calls them his foster parents; at Anti-Racist Parent, Jae Ran Kim of Harlow's Monkey lists him as "son of gods transracially adopted by humans!").

As a teen, Hercules feels that he doesn't fit in, doesn't belong. He sings that he'll go anywhere to find where he belongs. When his adoptive parents tell him he is not their biological son ("Your mom and I have been meaning to tell you . . . " sheesh!), he goes off in search of answers ("You're the greatest parents anyone could ever have, but I gotta know . . . ").

Lots to say about the adoption themes, searching for self, reunion (maybe one of the worst reunions in adoption history!), but I really just wanted to share what Zoe had to say about it all and wanted to fill in the back-story for the 3 people in the world who haven't seen or don't remember the movie!

Just after his adoptive parents give Hercules the necklace with the symbol of the gods found with him as a baby, and he says he'll go to the Temple of Zeus where there will surely be answers, Zoe pops up to say, "That's not fair! He can find his birth parents and I can't!"

Wow, how quickly she related it to her life! Of course, we had to stop the movie and talk about searching, what we know and don't know about her and Maya's birth parents, how it helped that Hercules had a clue to start with, what was found with her (we have no information about what Maya was found with). But what she DIDN'T want to talk about were emotions -- feelings of not belonging, of being different . . . . When we veered into that territory, she zapped the movie back on as fast as she had zapped it off.

And through the whole thing, poor Maya just wanted to get back to her movie!


Steve C. said...

The problem with Disney films is that they distort the truth or the actual legend to tell a story.

The actual Heracles legend has nothing to do with adoption. Heracles was the child of Zeus and a mortal woman who raised Heracles along with his semi-twin brother.

Rather than his mythical biological mother, Hera was Heracles' enemy who tried to prevent his birth and kill him as a child.

Wendy said...

Thanks Steve. My husband and I were having the Disney conversation today and what you are saying is so true. Actually, the reason Disney films are not really kid friendly is that they are not made for them. My grandmother was Walt Disney's secretary for many years and none of the films were created for kids--the reason why adults "get it", they were looking for alternative genres and ways that adults could get to see films (bringing their kids). We are hard pressed to find one appropriate for our daughter, the sad thing is that the Disney of today portrays themselves as kid and family friendly while contining to allow bigotry and inappropriate themes in their shows and movies.