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Rated PG
Copyright 1987 Cannon Films Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • He-Man - Dolph Lundgren! Steroid defender of all that is good.
  • Duncan - Man at Arms, a grizzled veteran who is constantly hungry.
  • Teela - Duncan's daughter who, um... ...she's in every scene darn it.
  • Gwildor - Dwarf (They have some other upbeat name for his race.) inventor who created the Cosmic Key and likes talking to cows.
  • Julie - Courteney Cox! Depressed girl who can't get over her parents death and is moving to New Jersey as treatment. I think I'd rather go with electric shocks to my brain housing group.
  • Kevin - Julie's boyfriend and 80s musician. (Which means he plays a synthesizer.)
  • The Sorceress - For some reason this woman has a chandelier on her head, maybe it focuses solar energy? I dunno...
  • Lubic - James Tolkan! (The bald CO from "Top Gun.") Short cop with an attitude.
  • Beastman, Blade, Saurod, and Karg - Mercenaries in Skeletor's army, Karg is one of those "take charge and yell a lot" guys. Skeletor zaps Saurod into special effects heaven.
  • Evil Lyn - Meg Foster! (Cagney from Cagney and Lacey.) Probably the only competent evil person in the whole movie.
  • Skeletor - Embodiment of all that is evil, a powerful warlock who wishes to control the universe and destroy He-Man. Falls into a power well, where have I seen the main bad guy fall down a shaft into a reactor or something before?

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Who said action figures couldn't make for a great movie? Well, this film actually, but it is pretty darn amusing. The acting is really something else, half the time I'm wondering why He-Man sounds so damn happy. Considering that Castle Greyskull has fallen to a surprise attack by Skeletor and the Sorceress is his prisoner, this guy should be a little worried.

Soon he discovers how the forces of evil penetrated their defenses, a slightly insane Dwarf who created the ultimate key. This key, which sounds like it was manufactured by Yamaha, can open anything - even doorways between dimensions. Which is how the group ends up on Earth, though the device which brought them there lands some distance away.

This gives a neat reason to include a budding Courteney (not a joke about her breasts, well maybe) and her A-Ha idolizing boyfriend, because they find the Cosmic Key and immediately begin playing with it.

Skeletor's forces lock in on the signals and battles rage through the suburbs. Surprise, surprise the good guys lose the first encounter and He-Man is taken in chains back to Greyskull, everyone else is left alive on Earth to rot.

Of course Gwildor MacGuyvers up a makeshift Cosmic key and Kevin remembers the song to open the gateway to Eternia. He-Man sees his friends, breaks free, and recovers his sword for a final battle with a Skeletor (who has just absorbed the power of the universe, as if that would matter. He's the BAD guy, Dolph is the GOOD guy - he's screwed).

Okay, the film is very predictable, but combine the premise with a "motivating" fantasy score and I start cracking up. They should play this music in mental wards, though having two hundred people in gowns acting like Conan would probably be bad...

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • One blonde weight lifter with a sword can take out two dozen guys with laser rifles.
  • Good guys use blue lasers, evil guys use red lasers.
  • Anybody randomly jumping dimensions will end up on Earth.
  • Courteney Cox doesn't look good in a red cowboy hat.
  • Never annoy an undead warlock.
  • Microwaves are excellent jamming devices.
  • People from other dimensions speak perfect English, but use different units of measure.
  • A bargain synthesizer can open dimensional gateways.
  • Sword fights tend to blow the fuses.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - VADER?! Sorry...false alarm.
  • 15 mins - If Quinn Mallory jumps out of that thing I'll die laughing.
  • 21 mins - Courteney Cox! Girl, where in the hell did you get that hat? (Snap, snap, snap.)
  • 38 mins - Why the heck does everyone think this thing is Japanese?
  • 65 mins - Now who didn't see this coming? Julie, you are dumb as a post.
  • 67 mins - No! Don't hide behind the 1968 Firebird!


  • Skeletor: "Your wondrous Sorceress will die!"
    Duncan: "You dare threaten her life?"
    Skeletor: "I dare anything! I am Skeletor!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note mastersu1.wav Narrator: "At the center of the Universe. At the border between the light and the dark stands Castle Greyskull."
Green Music Note mastersu2.wav Duncan: "He-Man! Thank the Sorceress you're alive!"
He-Man: "I've been looking for you."
Green Music Note mastersu3.wav Kevin: "Whoa-hoo! You know this is one of those new Japanese synthesizers."
Green Music Note mastersu4.wav He-Man and Skeletor square off on an intellectual level. (This really doesn't last long.)

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmastersu1.mpg - 1.8m
If the movie had not included this scene it would not have been complete. I wanted to hear Dolph say it, you wanted to hear Dolph say it, so all together now, one, two, three:

"I have the POWER!"

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9
Masters of the Universe
Reply #17. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by The Ferret
One small point. Meg Foster did play Christine Cagney in the pilot episode of "Cagney and Lacey" but was replaced that same year by Sharon Gless. Attributing her as the character here is misleading as most do not even recall her brief and unmemorable stint on the show.

I would say that she is better remembered from her roles in They Live and the Oblivion films.
Masters of the Universe
Reply #18. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Bryn Roberts
When i was young i loved he-man but was a bit too young to really understand it. However, Masters of the universe was the first video i ever got and i still watch it today.
For starters, the acting wasn't as terrible as people make out, and the special effects, there's absolutly nothing wrong with them. The music although a bit similair to Star Wars made a perfect accompaniment to the action scenes and i even found a lump in my throat at the very end when courtney cox wakes up to find her parents are alive.
A kiddies movie but when we think about it were all big kids anyway.
Masters of the Universe
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Paul Westbrook
Masters of the Universe is one of those was good, but could've been better movies. The only appeal of this junk, was the special effects. Certainly not the acting, which was in my opinion, crummy as hell.
Masters of the Universe
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by chris
Did anyone else notice that He-Man and all the other MOTU characters were barbarians with swords, not barbarians with swords and LASER GUNS!?!?! In the words of Adam Sandler: "Who were the ad wizards that came up with that one?"
Masters of the Universe
Reply #21. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Dan
I think it was physically impossible for any child of the 80's to have avoided this movie. The chip in your head would explode or something. I remember being the tallest person in the audience when this came out to the theatre and I still try to watch it when it comes to TBS or where ever on cable. Good attempts by the whole crew to brethe life into cartoon characters. Loved Seletor's outfit. Evil-lyn was way cooler than she ever was in the tv show. No Orco, darn it ! Ah, back in the day when Courtney cox was  cute and not the fragile wasp woman hollywierd has made her.
Masters of the Universe
Reply #22. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Master of the Universe
I was affraid of Skeletor (Frank Langella), when I was just 8 years old and saw the movie.
He did his job very well, he was an absolutely great performer of Skeletor.
He was very bad, his voice and look scared me at that age.

He-man (Dolph Lundgren) did not act very well, but enough.
It was strange for me to see that he-man has only 3 friends around him (Man at arms, Teela & Gwildor).
I missed Ram-man, and other figures in the movie.
Also on the side of Skeletor were 2 known figures: Beastman & Evelyn.
I thought: who the X are Blade, Karg & Saurod ??

The movie could be a lot better if it all take place on Eternia, the choice to visit earth was bad (my opinion) !!

But..........Skeletor makes the movie believable !

Thanks Frank Langella !!
Masters of the Universe
Reply #23. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Deej
I was 12 when this flick came out and I was like the only kid on my block who didn't play with these toys(or the go-bots...or Transformers). I digress, after being dragged to this dud by the kid across the hall(you guys remember Danny Clark right?)I like the whole Masters of The Universe thing less. I thought it was gonna be cool because it had the Drago in it...NO. Someone tell me why this crap got a feature and GI JOE got a crappy cartoon movie. I WAS ROBBED!! And hey, didn't Loretta Swit play Cagney(or Lacey whichever) in the Pilot??
Masters of the Universe
Reply #24. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Swamprat
The movie itself I don't really have a problem with. It was juvenile with an attempt to amuse Mom and Dad on the side. And it did...My daughter was maybe four or five at the time. She didn't fall asleep but wasn't impressed either. My hang up, just one of many I have, is the cash-in value of this sort of tripe. It's a toss up as to which is worse...Hollywood cashing in on a toy fad by making the movie, or toy makers cashing in on movie fads by making junk toys resembling characters or equipment. The result is the same...our kids get screwed, robbed of any original imagination, any semblance of original creativity, any flashes of original thought...and Mom and Dad reach deep into their pockets to fuel this bulls**t. The movie is silly...of course it's silly...It's a CARTOON. The characters were ridiculous...they were TOYS! The only thing in this film that impressed me was Frank Langellas James Earl Jones...his performances are up and down from film to film...In this one he's great, in that one he sucks...but the voice never wavers. With that voice Skeletor sounded like a serious bad ass. This was the only thing really interesting in the whole pitifully comercial piece of tripe. Wanna get a good Juvenile adventure movie to watch with the kids? Rent Jason and the Argonauts, or A Boy Ten Feet Tall...or even an old Ivan Tors movie like Clarence the Cross Eyed Lion or even Flipper. Tell Hollywood they can shove the cookie cutter brainwashing money machine movies up thier Kazoos. Do we want our kids to all grow up to be Consumer Lust suffering dullards, or reasonably intelligent individuals.  
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