Masters of the Universe

release year: 1987
genre: fantasy
viewing setting: home DVD, 12/25/06

synopsis: A battle in the mystical land of Eternia spills over into our world, as He-Man and Skeletor fight to control the power of the universe.

impressions: This is what happens when you try to adapt a kids' cartoon show into live-action big-screen adventure. I honestly thought it would have been a lot better if they'd kept the story grounded in He-Man's own world, instead of having it take place in ours. Fantasy doesn't work in "real-world" settings and someone should have known this. Anyhow, the movie had a lot of stupid moments, including the usual comic relief role (this time from a dwarf who invents things) and a cheesy bad guy. The need to have He-Man battling evil minions with his sword was dealt with by the bad guys mostly being robots, so that sword-blows didn't really kill any living being. Whatever.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Little plastic figures suspended on strings (they're supposed to be He-Man chasing bad guys around on flying discs.)

acting: Dolph Lundgren looks good as He-Man, but his accent was just too thick at this time, for this role. Chelsea Field is the warrior-woman Teela, and Jon Cypher is her father, Man-at-Arms; both are fairly corny even as they try to be serious. Robert Duncan McNeill and a young Courteney Cox are the kids who get caught up in the adventure. Frank Langella is the evil ham Skeletor, and Meg Foster (she of the piercing green eyes) is his main squeeze, Evil-Lyn. James Tolkan is the stereotypical overzealous tough cop. Billy Barty rounds out the cast as the silly dwarf Gwildor.

final word: It was a good try, and will appeal to fans of the cartoon and toys, but all in all it's pretty corny.

back to the main review page