Now I am the first to admit that it's a terrible film. But terrible films can be a treat. After my mission I spent several glorious months with my good friend J.B. Flinders becoming acquainted with the worst films ever made including Puma Man, The Destroyer, Scanners, every Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel and the entire V series (that was one glorious night!). These movies are terrible but that is what makes them so good.
However, a problem occured. I had no idea this movie would win so I never imagined how hard it would be to watch it. Up until this week it sat at the top of my Q with the words "Short Wait." Well last night that changed to "Very Long Wait." Fortunately while doing my latest Star Trek Podcast I asked my good friend Jon Madsen to bail me out and write this review. Netflix delivered the film to him weeks ago. Harumph!
So without further ado, here is Jon's uncut review of Masters of the Universe.
I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Masters of the Universe. I never saw it when it came out. All I knew at the time was that the bad guy in Rocky IV would be playing the good He-Man. That must've blown my mind and I never saw it (and also nobody would drive me to the theater). Later in life, a friend of mine would be so desperate to get a free iPod nano that he actually signed me up for a month of Blockbuster Online to get the points he needed. Little did I know that he also filled the queue with movies -- the first three of which were already coming in the mail. On the top of the list -- Masters of theUniverse (followed by Breakin' and Breakin' 2 Electric Boogaloo). So in a very funny, yet annoying way, I was forced to watch Masters of the Universe instead of any other movie that I may have wanted towatch.
How ironic then, that it's the same Blockbuster Online that suddenly has a scarcity of the same movie now.
Later in life I'm all set to enjoy Maverick as the movie of the month. It may not be the best movie, but at least it's a movie that I have not yet seen. Then, out of nowhere Masters of the Universe, my oldnemesis, rises to victory in the polls. Once again the movie thwarts me.
Perhaps it's more of a hate/hate relationship.
Okay, just kidding. It's not that bad. Anyway, this movie is based on the Mattel toys of Masters of the Universe. Apparently it's not based on the old tv cartoon, which is why He-Man never has a timid alter-ego named Adam who looks exactly like him. Also there's no annoying ghost thing named Orko. Instead, there's an annoying dwarf thing named Gwildor. That's all the justification that not basing the movie on the tv show gets, because some of the other changes made they simply have no excuse for (except for the obvious excuse that the studio only gave them a few bucks to pull the whole production together).
So the movie starts out in the familiar He-Man world of Eternia. The evil Skeletor has won! He's captured the sorceress and Castle Grayskull. BTW, am I the only one who thinks it's weird that Castle Grayskull ISN'T Skeletor's home castle? I mean, it's a big skull, right? Skeletor's also a skull (supposedly). He should be in the skullcastle, not the snake castle. Anyway, Skeletor and his army have also captured the majority of the Eternian forces (which apparently consists of four dudes in the desert who are being held at gunpoint). The rest of the Eternian forces (three people -- c'mon there were abunch of good toys they could've stuck in the movie -- like Mekaneck (see picture)) now regroup. They are Man-At-Arms (who we learn is actually named Duncan), his daughter Teela (who really seems to have nothing going for her) and our hero, He-Man (who wears a cape and NOTHING ELSE). Eventually they meet up with Gwildor (who is played by the cameraman in UHF), a dwarf that makes these weird keys where he can take them anywhere in the universe instantly. So they escape Skeletor's forces to... Earth.
Earth was never a part of the He-Man mythology. I'm pretty sure it was for this movie so that the director could literally film it in his backyard.
While on Earth, our heroes get separated from their warp key. It'spicked up by Courtney Cox and her boyfriend. Courtney Cox's parents just died so she's leaving for New Jersey TOMORROW. She's not waiting one more week for school to finish, she's leaving THE NEXT DAY. Her boyfriend thinks the key is some sort of Japanese synthesizer. Skeletor wants He-Man killed and to get the key so he uses his own key (I think) to send his greatest warriors to Earth. Beast-Man is one of them and the three others are three guys who weren't in the cartoon OR were ever toys. One is a normal human with an eye patch (always classic), one is a melted troll doll, and the other one is a stinky lizard. That's right, they didn't bother to put in Trap-Jaw or Mer-Man or Tri-Clops or even Stinkor (see picture).
Anyway, the good guys make friends with the earthlings and they all fight off the bad guys. The bad guys go back to Eternia and Skeletor kills the stinky lizard. Then he sends Evil-Lyn to "finish the job." She does a pretty good job. She dresses up like Courtney Cox's dead mom and just asks for the key nicely. After that the bad guys capture He-Man. Soon Skeletor himself comes through the dimensional door to Earth. Oh no! Skeletor is going to use his advanced technology to bring the entire war to Earth! He'll take all our natural resources and claim Earth as part of his own domain! Actually... no. He just comes, picks up the key and He-Man and goes back to Eternia. No worries.
Fortunately, Cox's boy friend is a musician and he knows the right tones to open a portal back to Eternia. Our heroes (aided by Principal Strickland of Back to the Future) barge in and free He-Man in time for him to have the climactic battle with Skeletor. Then the earthlings go back to earth. But they don't JUST go back. Courtney Cox asks if Gwildor can send them back in time to before her parents died. He does. They go back a week earlier. I wonder why they weren't using the time travel capabilities of the key the entire movie. Weird.
So in between all this stuff is a bit of fun. Like when He-Man is fighting the guys who fly on trash can lids. Also they fight with guns AND swords. I suppose it's not that weird. We did it in the Civil War. But it just seems that any civilization that masters interdimensional galactic travel would also find the idea of using swords as positively quaint.
I imagine the woman who plays Teela got the part because despite allher deficiencies she probably claimed that she could shoot a gun well.She lied.
I read on imdb that Dolph Lundgren did all his own stunts. A more accurate way of saying that would probably be that the stunt man for this movie also spoke while on camera.
So I can't say the movie was especially good, but it certainly wasn't boring. Often that's even more important. Some cheese, like this, really works. It sort of reminds me of Flash Gordon a little. Of course I think this one was trying to be a little more serious. It only sort of reminds me. Flash Gordon is hallowed ground. I guess it'snot really hate/hate.
Thank you Jon. That brings us to the best month of the year! Please submit your favorite Scary/Halloween movie. I'm going with IT (Gotta love Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown!).