So I came across this tidbit of information this weekend. One of my favorite characters of my youth has finally hit it big:
Masters of the Universe. I was such a He-Man fan as a kid growing up in the 1980s. The first birthday I actually remember was when I turned 4, and I had a little He-Man cake. This would be a great time to pull out the picture of me with the cake from 1986…but I don’t know where it is, and I’m not about to call my mom and ask for it just to post it here. She thinks I’m weird enough.
Speaking of my mom, I owe some of my love of He-Man to her. When I was that age, mom was a night-shift nurse working in the ICU. I didn’t have daycare because mom was home during the days. And after lunch, when she would make me a microwave s’more (it was a marshmallow between two graham crackers…I loved it), we would often sit on the family room floor and she would join me for some action figure goodness. I didn’t have Castle Grayskull, but I did have Snake Mountain, several figures, and even the Battle Ram, complete with missiles and a functioning cannon. So I always attempted to known the bad guys off of Snake Mountain (to mixed success).
But back to the movie. It came out a month after I turned five years old. Needless to say, I didn’t see it right away. In fact, I didn’t see it for several years after that, because there was no internet telling me I had to see it. But I finally did watch it one day. I don’t remember the specifics. It was either on television or I watched it with some friends. I remember being so excited to see my favorite childhood character in a movie that I may have overlooked the quality of the movie itself. And not only that, but a few other points as well:
- Let’s start with the most obvious of all.
LovableOrco was replaced by Gwildor. At best, Gwildor can be seen as a mix between two Lord of the Rings characters, Gandalf and Gimli. But there was nothing fun or entertaining about Gwildor. And not even that Gwildor was that bad, but how do you ignore Orco and rip him from the movie? Now anyone who watched the cartoon would tell you that Orco was annoying. He was clumsy and always got into trouble. He was the C3PO of Eternia. But his his missteps always ended in a lesson from the other characters, some little moral of the story.
- Frank Langella, arguably the greatest actor in this movie, was stuck behind a mask. The costuming left no chance for Frank Langella to do anything besides relay the awkward dialogue he was given. It was a waste of Langella’s talents, it is a stain on his IMDb page, and I feel sorry for the guy. But then I watch this clip of Langella speaking about Skeletor and the role in the movie, and more importantly, the reason he took the role. And I get it. His reason for taking on this roll is simply astounding.
- Dolph Lundren – If Dolph Lundgren didn’t have to talk in this movie, if He-Man would have been cursed with the inability to speak, this movie would have been exponentially better. I mean, let’s face it, Dolph
hashad the look. Tall, well-built, topped with a golden mullet. How could it possibly have gone wrong? Well, I’m guessing Dolph had a line added into his contract stating he could use firearms. My He-Man doesn’t have guns. He had the Power Sword. Man-at-Arms and Teela both used blasters. He-Man never needed them.
- Eternia vs Earth – He-Man is the Prince of Eternia. Okay, “Prince Adam,” if you want to get technical. But there is very little of Eternia in this movie. Instead, you have an invasion story about the forces of evil trying to conquer Earth. Sounds like a job for the Avengers, not the Eternians. Yet here we are, dealing with Courtney Cox, her boyfriend, and the Cosmic Key. This was ten years after Star Wars. There didn’t have to be an earthly tie-in. George Lucas showed to world that you could have a successful movie if it didn’t take place on Earth.
Rumors state that we will get a new Masters of the Universe movie in the near future. Christopher Yost, who co-wrote Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel Studios, was tapped to write this new adaptation. It’s stated that the movie will be dark and serious and will not be an origin film. I’m actually okay with it not being an origin film, because we all know the origin thanks to the 130 episodes of the cartoon from the mid-1980s.
May the Sorceress bless you, Filmation. Rest in peace!
I think that a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe film can be successful a variety of ways. I’ve waited most of my life for a better He-Man movie. But it’s not here yet. So I’m left with what I have.
The kid in me wants to go back and watch this 1987 movie day after day. However, the adult in me who remembers this movie being the Batman & Robin of its time knows that I can watch it once and then remove it from my Netflix queue.
That means this decision is the first in my new weekly bit called #ToughCallTuesday!
Watch it and keep it on “My List” for future viewings?
Watch it and drop it like?
I have made my decision, and based it on my genuine love of the character from an early age, the quality of the film that was made, and the knowledge that a new imagining of the character, the mythos, the “universe” if you will is heading our way.
It really boils down to this simple question. Is bad He-Man better than no He-Man at all? Would you rather sit through Batman & Robin or no Batman at all? Star Wars: Attack of the Clones or no Star Wars?
Okay, two lousy example.
Let’s face it – I saw that movie appear on my Netflix. And it was big. Big meat. It was the featured option. I popped. Despite its flaws, this one will be a “Watch and keep.”
And since my parents were kind enough to keep my He-Man toys in a box in the attic all these years, I’m excited to be able to share them with my son in the future. That, and the He-Man cartoons I have acquired on DVD.
That’s it for this week’s #ToughCallTuesday. What topics do you want to see featured in the future? Let me know in the comments.
PS – HOW COULD YOU NOT INCLUDE KRINGER/BATTLE CAT IN YOUR MOVIE?!?