A run of the mill coming of age story, then, but several things make the film more than a boring rip-off of ancient themes. First, the drawing has an elegantly fresh look to it, with many witty visual references to Greek vase paintings, sculpture, architectural lines and so forth. There are also quite a few quips and puns for grownups (Thebes is the Big Olive, for example, its residents speaking in New York accents) including plenty of cute jokes about the classics. Pedants can enjoy cataloguing the allusions and "mistakes".
The music is pleasant, a lot of it sung by an updated "chorus" of gospel singers. Finally, the characters are vividly sketched, with Hades really stealing the show. Some of the animated figures amusingly caricature their real life voice actors. (See The Making Of supplement.) The rich background of the myths gives the story more depth and darkness than it would otherwise have.
Bottom line: appeals to a different audience than some Disney favorites, but a very smart production with many original aspects. Too much neglected.
Hercules grows up feeling like he doesn't belong and goes on a journey to find his true identity. When he discovers that he is the son of Zeus, he is told that the only way he can regain entry to Mount Olympus is to become a true hero.
So with the help of Phil, a satyr, and Pegasus he begins training to become a hero. He ends up meeting Meg, a young woman who sold her soul to Hades, and falling in love with her. Meg is torn between loyalty to Hades and her growing love for "Wonder Boy".
When Hades strikes a deal with Hercules to give up his strength for 24 hours, Hades frees the Titans to take over Olympus. Due to one technicality in the deal, Hercules regains his strength and defeats Hades. But when he learns of Meg's death, he strikes a deal with Hades to rescue her and take her place in the underworld.
A little bit too modern for a story set in Ancient Greece but this movie contains all the essential elements of a true Disney classic.