Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
The year was 1987 and every kid was watching He-Man, yours truly included. The cartoon was a hit, and so was the ever growing line of toys. With that in mind someone decided it would be a good idea to make a live action film based on the show. There was one problem with the final product, though - it had almost zero connection to the cartoon.
Here’s a quick primer on He-Man; he’s Adam, Prince of Eternia, when he lifts his sword to the sky and says “By the power of Grayskull, I have the power” he becomes He-Man, and his trusty cat Cringer becomes Battlecat. There is no mention of Adam in this film, and no cat at all. He-Man, played by Dolph Lundgren, Man-At-Arms and Teela are all we get when it comes to the good guys, along with the Sorceress, who spends the entire movie captive, and is totally useless. On the side of the bad guys we have Skeletor, played by one time Oscar nominee (but not for this) Frank Langella, Evil-Lyn, Beastman, Saurod, Blade and Karg.
One thing every kid who watched He-Man loved was how awesome Castle Grayskull was. Even the toy version of it had a drawbridge, weapons tower, trap door, and four rooms. So, of course, the movie left almost all of that out by having the vast majority of the film take place on Earth and only one room of Castle Grayskull, the Throne Room, shown. Once on earth He-Man and his compatriots end up running into a girl named Julie, played by Courteney Cox, and her boyfriend, Kevin. Mass destruction occurs during their battles with Skeletor’s team.
Some random, but interesting, notes from the film include an overt nod to vegetarianism, because apparently Teela is a member of PETA back on Eternia, and a very Johnny Drama-like call of “Victory” at one point (I highly doubt the producers of Entourage saw this movie and said “let’s take that!” It has to be a coincidence). There’s also an “I’ll be back” that pre-dates Terminator 2 by nearly half a decade. Again, I doubt James Cameron was looking at this movie for ideas.
Here’s the kicker about Masters of the Universe, if you ignore the fact that it’s supposed to be a He-Man movie, it’s a pretty decent 80s flick. You have Dolph Lundgren with a big sword, an evil looking enemy played by an actor who can really act, and a young Courteney Cox. There were bad guys in pretty good makeup and lots of action. All in all, it’s really not that bad, it just isn’t He-Man.