Sunday, July 26, 2009

7th Grade Movie for Next Year: The 13th Labor of Hercules or How Hercules Saves the World from an Earthquake, a Volcano, and a Flood!

The 13th Labor of Hercules

How Hercules Saves the World from an Earthquake, a Volcano, and a Flood!

(Establishing shots: a lake, a volcano, a village, a goat or a sheep, a Young Village Boy scarfing grapes en masse, not bothering to pluck them from the cut vine. Be sure to include scarfing sounds)

(Chorus stands before a plain wall of stone in all scenes unless otherwise indicated.)

Hercules, strong of body, quick of mind,
Slayer of monsters, aid to the people—
Hercules, who walked among the dead and lived.
Returned from Hades, he was now at rest.

Having submitted to Eurystheus
And aligned his will with his father Zeus,
Hercules stood tall among gods and men,
Pride of elders, example to all youth.

(At the end of every recitation, the chorus thumps twice in unison the staffs, rakes, shovels, etc., that they hold. Thump, thump!)


(Cut to Hercules lounging in a chair, his hair being combed by two maidens who are blindfolded.)

Father of the Maidens: So glad to have you here, mighty Hercules… I hope you forgive the blindfolds, but ever since your adventure with Hippolyte, the queen of the Amazons, my daughters have just been crazy about you.

Daughters: (peeking from under their blindfolds, look at one another and speak in unison) He’s so hot! (Father, hands on hips, is perturbed. Hercules looks puzzled, fans himself and flutters his lion-skin tunic.)

Hercules: Warm, maybe…


But all is not well in the land of Greece!
Hades, god of the underworld, is ticked
‘Cuz Hercules called the dog Cerberus
“Ugly, uglier, and ugliest.” Ick!

While dog growls with three hideous faces,
Death god smites the earth with leaden scepter.
Earth trembles at the dire wrath of Hades,
And Hercules walks again the hero’s path.

(Thump, thump!)


(Miniature of village, camera shaking. Cut to stone wall. Man runs on stage in panic, shouts into camera and exits)

Random Scared Spitless Villager: Earthquake!!!

(Camera still shaking, enter Hercules who ties ropes to two walls, left and right, and pulls mightily, straining and stilling the tectonic activity. Dusts off his hands, flexes his muscles.)

Hercules: (To camera) I need no adoration. Service is its own reward. I leave humbly, my task fulfilled. (Tosses his hair and exits.)

(Enter Three Village Earthquake Experts, talking earthquake concepts: Richter Scale, structural damage, tectonic plates, no major injuries to people, etc. Science Teacher will work out this dialogue with students. The major wrath of the earthquake from Hades has been averted due to the solution effected by Hercules.)

(Village Earthquake Experts exit, their analysis of the situation completed—and the major concepts regarding earthquakes summarized. Science Teacher has several teams write this scene, to be graded for scientific accuracy—and then the teams vote on the best to use.)


The wrath of grim Hades do not dismiss,
And never give his dog—dogs?—a major dis!

(Chorus members look at one another in confusion at “dogs?”)


(Enter Hercules, followed by Village Messenger, with Chorus still on camera.)

Hercules: I don’t know… The earthquake’s over, but I think things are gonna get hotter. This is Hades we’re talking about, ya know.

Village Messenger: Oh, great hero! What shall we do? (Wrings hands and plucks his hair.)

Hercules: I need reinforcements, and I’m not too proud to admit it. Find my nephew, noble Iolaus.

Village Messenger: Great solution! I shall responsibly leave and contact the young nobleman. (VM pulls out cellphone. Both exit in opposite directions, the VM busily punching buttons.)

Even Iolaus, worthy of trust,
Cannot withstand Hades’ anger and fuss.



(The volcano begins to smoke. A trembling noise is heard.)

(Cut to stone wall. Villagers shout and point. One runs to the camera, shouting in panic.)

Panicked Villager: Volcano eruption!!!

(Another villager grabs him by the arm.)

Querulous Villager: What’s the problem? The volcano’s a long way away.

(Enter Three Village Volcano Experts, discussing the significance of the smoking volcano.)

(Follows a discussion of the dangers of volcanoes, scientifically accurate…graded as the earthquake sequence.)


Yes! Hercules isn’t just eye candy;
His mama made sure he was also handy.
Trouble is brewing deep within the earth:
For a hero his quest is always first.

Hercules and Iolaus wonder
What to do, wait and see or risk a blunder!
Then fire bursts forth from the bowels of the earth,
And villagers run for all they are worth!

(Thump, thump!)


(Cut to special effects miniature. The volcano explodes, threatening the village below.)

(Cut to wall. Villagers run berserk. One runs to the camera and screams.)

Berserk Villager: Lava!!! Hot, molten stone— (But the words are cut off as BV is consumed by lava.

(Red-dyed cloth is thrown onto BV. He falls to the ground, writhing in pain as more and more red cloth is thrown onto him.)

(Cut to close shot of arm surrounded by red cloth, suggesting BV is sinking in lava. The forearm and hand slowly sink into the lava, but not before the hand delivers the thumbs-up sign. Then the hand disappears beneath the pile of red rags.)

(Cut to Hercules and Iolaus.)

Hercules: (to Iolaus) We need some bigtime water.

Iolaus: (holding finger up) Let us go to the Sprite of the Lake.

Hercules: (slapping Iolaus on back and almost knocking him down) Good idea, noble nephew.


CHORUS: (Chorus says nothing, merely point offstage and thump their staffs. Thump, thump!)


(Establishing shot of lake waters.)

(The next shot is in a bathtub, blue background.)

(Enter Hercules and Iolaus.)

Hercules: (to bath water) We need water quick, get to it, sprite!

Iolaus: Uh, uncle, let me try. (Iolaus strikes a dramatic pose and declaims…)

Child of Poseidon, spirit of water,
For a little help we gotta bother—
Bless us with your presence, grant us your boon,
And we shall give you a gift, real, real soon!

(Quick in-and-out cut to Chorus, giving the thumbs-up, nodding their heads, looking impressed.)

(Water sprite rises, rubbing his eyes and spitting water.)

Water Sprite: Surf’s up, dudes!

Hercules: Flames are up! The volcano’s erupting!

Water Sprite: (With scorn) Flames! I spit on flames! (The sprite spits, then looks at his arm.) I think I spit on my arm, too… (Wipes it.)

Iolaus: We need your help! If you hate fire, then rain upon the volcano and put out the fire.

Hercules: I can give you some beeswax.

Water Sprite: Carp garp!

Iolaus: The village elders will throw in a new boogie board.

Water Sprite: Smorgasbord!

(Hercules approaches Sprite and whispers in his ear. Sprite grins delightedly. Although not heard by audience at this point, Hercules has offered the sprite a rubber ducky.)

Water Sprite: I'm your man…or sprite! (Catches himself and says grandly) I do this freely…just as you freely give me my gifts. It’s an action/reaction cosmic kind of thing. (Back to surfer mode.) Let’s party! (Sinks back beneath the waters.)

Don't FIX the ROOF if the SUN'S gonna SHINE.
UmBRELLas stay HOME when it's SUNny TIME.
But it's GONNA rain in a LEGenDARY WAY.
IoLAus an’ HERcules GONNA hafta PLAY.
(Thump, thump!)


(Water Sprite, blue background.)

Water Sprite: (holding a yellow rubber ducky, singing) I love my rubber ducky, oh, yes, I do!

(Street scene, wall backdrop)

(Villagers run in aimless panic--the word "panic," of course, deriving from the Greek god Pan!)

(One villager runs to camera and screams)

Panicked Villager: Flood! (then breaks into song and dance) Raindrops be fallin' on me head (to a Rasta beat).

(Several buckets of water, a cheesy water hose spray, deluge Panicked Villager.)

(close-up of PV spitting out water) It's just water…what's the problem, mon?

(Enter Three Village Flood Experts, discussing the power and danger of flooding.)

(Follows a discussion of the dangers of flooding, scientifically accurate…graded as the earthquake & volcano sequence.)


(Iolaus is held horizontally and makes swimming motions while being misted by a hose. Blue background)

Iolaus: Got to get to the sprite and save the people from drowning! He's a good sprite, just so powerful!

(Enter Water Sprite behind Iolaus. Sprite acts as if he is treading water.)

Water Sprite: You speak the truth so sweetly that I will solve your problem. Volcano is all wet, so let the rain stop fallin' down.


(Hercules back on bench, relaxing, Daughters combing his hair)

CHORUS: Respect of the gods makes Hercules great.
Hercules: (to audience) Support natural law and it supports you.


Mothers by the dozen, all abuzzin'
Say Herc responds to the need of the times.

Hercules: (One Daughter drops her brush. Hercules, with a big smile): Here, let me help you with that. (Picks up brush and hands it back.)

CHORUS: Solutions abound when Herc is around.

Hercules: (to audience) The field of all possibilities is the source of all solutions.


Mighty Hercules, protector of all!
Always at your service, always on call!

Hercules: (Emotionally) I want ya all to know, if something comes up, I'm there for ya. I just love ya all.

Young Village Boy: (same YVB as beginning of movie, looking up) When I grow up, I want to be just like him! (YVB has had a life-changing experience, seeing this movie. Hercules pats YVB on head.)

SCENE 14: (Entire cast before camera)

Cast: The End!!

(Thump, thump!)

Copyright 2009 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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