Remember Masters of the Universe?
It was the 1987 He-Man movie that never really felt like a He-Man movie. Most of the movie took place on Earth, instead of Eternia. He-Man, played by Dolph Lundgren, preferred to use blasters and rifles instead of his sword. Orko was nonexistent along with He-Man’s true identity of Prince Adam. And, Man-at-Arms and Teela were eating chicken.
Masters of the Universe was a live-action fail. Yet, I oddly still loved the movie as a kid. Why? Because it had the name He-Man attached to it. To be blunt, the movie “sucked,” but I didn’t care. The movie heralded new toys and made me think that one-day, perhaps a live-action GI Joe movie would be made (meaning a good one and not the super suit travesty we got shafted with in 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). I had big dreams.
Now Masters of the Universe is available for the first time on Blu-ray. Sadly, I’ve never winced so much watching a movie I thought I adored as a child.
Full disclosure intermission: I’ve watched every episode of He-Man from the 80s as well as the 2002 TV series (which was awesome by the way although at sometimes the series failed to find pockets of humor amidst the action). I’ve also collected some of the MOTU figures from both eras. So, I am a fan of the mythos.
The Blu-ray was a painful journey back in time. The story takes place in a future Eternia where Skeletor is on the brink of total domination. He-Man is leading the last group of freedom fighters against Skeletor’s imperial rule. He-Man and his comrades find themselves suddenly transported to Earth with a Cosmic Key. At that point, the movie becomes a bad version of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Then the story of He-Man vs Skeletor transitions over to a high school drama with Courteney Cox Arquette.
Masters of the Universe was perhaps best done as an animated movie instead of a live-action feature. On a positive note Frank Langella as Skeletor and Meg Foster as Evil-Lyn were both smart casting choices. Sadly, the 80s script and cinematic era were not conducive to letting their talents shine.