Masters of the Universe (Arrow Recommends)

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: A muscle bound, blonde haired alien named He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) and his colorful comrades leap through time and space to arrive on earth. The forces of evil are on He Man’s tanned ass with Skeletor (Frank Langella) wanting to own the "Cosmic Key" he has in his possession (it’s a gadget that opens portal to anywhere in the universe in case you care), all in the name of spreading EVILLLLLL!

" I must possess all, or I possess nothing." – Skeletor

LOWDOWN: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (GET THE ANNIVERSARY BLU-RAY HERE) got a bad rap upon its initial release and has been called everything from a dud to a massive bore fest. Granted it has somewhat become a cult classic with time, but I am here to rise up on my imaginary pedestal none the less and scream at the high heaven’s above: I’VE ALWAYS HAD A BLAST WITH IT! Masters of the Universe is of course the movie adaptation of the popular Mattel toys and cartoons (Hollywood is trying to get another film adaptation off the ground as speak). Although the flick did have things in common with its source material, it pretty much went its own way (mostly for budgetary reasons). Here’s why I was so entertained by it!

Masters of the Universe The Movie was clearly inspired by Star Wars with disposable Storm Troopers like soldiers (that weren’t in the cartoons), evil Skeletor echoing a mix of Darth Vader and the Emperor (right down to his “demise”), the mercenary group sent after He Man subplot reeking of Empire Strikes Back (Maybe they were after Han Solo too!), the flying disk scene that reminded of the flying bike bit in Return of the Jedi and Gwildor acting as a Yoda stand-in. Moreover I half expected light sabers to pop out and for Skeletor to reveal that he is indeed He Man’s father during their end mano et mano sequence. Even the score by Bill Conti pulled a Star Wars at times! 

The film offered up a horde of likeable characters with Frank Langella’s Skeletor and Meg Foster’s Evil Lynn being the highlights for this jerk. Both of them were so good at being bad and I couldn’t get enough of them. Then we had the enthralling action sequences kicking in, which made sure to keep me smiling like a toddler sniffing glue and playing monster trucks. I was just having a hoot (yes, a hoot)! It should stabbed that the "massive attack on the music store" scene was easily my fav action get-down of the film. The money and creativity was on the screen there that's for sure! Speaking of coin, the production values were decent with Castle Grey Skull and the flying vehicles rocking the house. Skeletor’s arrival on earth in particular was grandiose and quite memorable. 

The movie worked on an unintentional camp level as well. It was filled to the brim with genius cheesy moments. Seeing a group of funnily dressed buffoons running around with plastic guns that they can’t hold properly cracked me up. Or what about the slew of odd baddies in the house? I’m still laughing at that yelping white afro-haired monster (Karg was his name). Skeletor’s odd demeanor while watching He-Man getting whipped got to me too. What as that all about?! He seemed to enjoy the show a tad too much. Then there was Dolph Lundgren period. Half naked, muscle bound and tanned up the ying-yang Witnessing him running around town looking like that with a sword in his hands had me in stitches. And why was he always in a great mood? He Man be on happy pills. Yes I was laughing at the movie but the beauty is, I wasn’t hating on it. Its flaws and cheese were part of its charm. 

On the downside, they obviously had a younger audience in mind so the violence was slight and the dialogue hokey at times, but I easily let that go, too busy being amused to give a damn. I guess my main peeves would have to be that the titular character of He Man was actually the least interesting of the lot. His lines were minimal (come on, Lundgren’s accent wasn’t that bad) and they didn't focus on him enough within the large (too large?) ensemble cast. And although I appreciated that they brought these other worldly beings to earth (they didn’t have the coin to set the whole film on He Man’s planet), they missed all kinds of fish out water opportunities that could’ve been humorous. The film hinted at a few but never went all out. Lastly the character of Lubic (the bald dude from Top Gun) shouldn’t have been in the mix at all. Not only was he highly annoying (the man just wouldn’t get it) but he brought nothing to the narrative. I would compare him to a jock itch that you just can’t scratch. 

Now do keep in mind that I speak with nostalgia rooted deep in my dead-beat heart when it comes to this sucka. I grew up with this flick, so of course it affects my perception of it. Every time I watch it, I get that mushy feeling rumbling inside and I feel like a kid again. On its own, Masters of the Universe sported an affable cast (Courtney Cox and Chelsea Field owned it btw); humor that worked, a clipped pace, mucho imagination and all kinds of adventure tossed my way. Good guys used blue lasers, evil guys used red lasers. It’s that kind of party! Do you have the power? I know I do.

Star Wars



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