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Masters of the Universe Movie Shames Us!
Presented by Matt on 04/16/00

Spawned from the success of the He-Man cartoon series, Masters of the Universe combined live action with a really shitty script. It's one of those movies that is so obviously bad, but it's presented in a way that makes you believe you have to be watching something good. There was no expense spared in production, lots of weird alien characters, Courtney Cox...all the makings of a classic. Unfortunately, the only people who'd consider making this a permanent part of their video library are people like me, who see fit to watch reruns of Harry and the Hendersons and bad Johnny Sokko movies on a regular basis.

The plot was more or less simple. It's about the war-torn planet Eternia and the Castle of Greyskull which is coming under threat from the evil Skeletor who wants to take over the planet. A group of freedom fighters, led by the heroic He-Man are accidentally transported to Earth by a mysterious Cosmic Key, which holds the power to make Skeletor all-powerful. Once on Earth, He-Man and company team up with two teenagers as they attempt to find the key and return home. However, Skeletor and his minions are soon hot on their trail...

The cast was semi-impressive for such a horrible movie. Dolph Lundren, who seemed to have a lot of trouble coming up with a good accent for He-Man, played our hero. Courtney Cox, before getting extra attractive, supplied good natured Earth girl Julie. Frank Langella, who later became a pretty big star on broadway, would probably rather you didn't remember his 'chilling' performance as Skeletor.

Oh yeah, John Cypher played Man-At-Arms. John Cypher! Whatta star! I'd be pretty ashamed of myself if the only thing I had to put on my resume was the fact that I played second fiddle good guy in one of the worst-drawing 'epics' in sci-fi history.

What the movie lacked in the acting department it sure made up for in some either really stupid or really odd plot twists and devices. Let's explore them...

Cosmic Key: Evil-Lyn is shown above holding the almighty Cosmic Key, which gives it's holder the power to travel through dimensions among other unspecified things. Kevin, the earth boy toy who was the pseudo-hero of the film, plays a song on his cheap 1980s Casio keyboard which somehow exactly matches the tune needed to utlize the Key. Now I understand the need to make Kevin have a needed special talent, but couldn't it have been something a little less derivative that a cliche hard-luck musician who finally finds a way to use his talents for inter-dimensional travel?

Homoeroticism: I'd have no problems with it if Skeletor would just come out of the closet. He seemed more obsessed with making He-Man his slave and chaining him to his throne in his underwear than conquering Eternia. Skeletor would sometimes fondle Evil-Lyn's face to cover up his true sexuality, but it was pretty obvious that his magnum opus was to have some sort of masochistic relationship with Dolph Lundren.

Stupid Powers: Skeletor gets the Cosmic Key and He-Man's sword. So, he's supposed to inherit these godlike powers. Apparently, getting godlike powers in Eternia simply meant that you got to dress like a waiter from the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. For someone who was supposed to have all this omnipotence and overwhelming might, a battered and bruised He-Man didn't seem to have too much trouble defeating him.

Gwildor: The stupidest and oddest thing in the movie was certainly Gwildor, friendly alien who just screams Yoda. Unfortunately, Gwildor was more of a threat to your intelligence than to Yoda's legacy as the cute alien wiseman. When Kevin was feeling down about his 'normalcy', Gwildor offered up this gem: 'No Kevin. Only one...of you. Only one...of anybody!' It's no surprise that us geeks chose to quote Yoda's words of wisdom over Gwildor's apathetic drivel.

It's things like this that stand out in your mind and cause even the most devoted He-Man to admit...'yeah...this movie sucks'. Yet somehow, I own it. At the movie's close, you see Skeletor in a pit of what I guess is water filled with Alka-Seltzer claiming that 'he'd be back'. The thought that you'd have to sit through a sequel of this was just about the scariest thing Skeletor did in the entire film.

Oddly enough, Dolph Lundren's role in Cyborg IS the He-Man sequel. Obviously, they took out all the references, but that was the general director the second movie was supposed to take, and the script is based on the He-Man II script draft. While Cyborg didn't endear many, at least it didn't have Gwildor, so I'd reccomend it to people who don't like He-Man already over this movie anyway. On a scale from 1-10, I'll give this one a 4. He-Man claims to 'have the power', but I'm fairly certain he's referring to the power to make you turn off the television quicker than anyone else.

- Matt