Masters Of the Universe (1987)

He-Man (Dolph Lundgren), Teela (Chelsea Field) and Man-At-Arms (Jon Cypher) all ready to battle the evil Skeletor (Frank Langella).

You can play a really difficult game during this film : Find The Standout Actor. There’s so much hammy and wooden acting, just to find someone half-decent is almost a Herculean task. One thing is certain : Dolph Lundgren (He-Man) is the funniest. Almost every time he opens his mouth it’s funny. He never seems bothered by what’s going on around him and sounds incredibly laid back almost as if he doesn’t really know where he is – like a mental patient on a day out.

Watching this it’s easy to detect a heavy Star Wars influence : Skeletor and his minions (essentially black Stormtroopers) are introduced using similar imagery and music to that used to introduceĀ  Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers. The film also initially has a similar epic feel, as if some great story is waiting to unfold. (Don’t get too excited – it doesn’t) For anyone who used to watch the He-Man cartoons you will be pleased to recognise many of the characters – albeit slightly altered ones, Teela now preferring to actually wear clothes for example. In another departure from the cartoons, a large proportion of the film is actually set in our world (home to a young Courtney Cox and her boyfriend) not that of Eternia (home to the famous Castle Grayskull).

It’s not really possible to compare this to other films since it’s one of those that almost falls into the ‘So Bad It’s Good’ category. Going against this is it’s length (it’s overlong). You’re be better off watching half of it and having some fun and then give up and watch something else. Subjecting yourself to the whole film would be masochism. Some of the laser gun fights are frustrating. He-Man and his friends (Teela and Man-At-Arms) will normally be crack-shots but If some drama is required they will suddenly lose the ability to hit enemies, even ones standing right in front of them.

Yes it’s crap but there is some fun to be had just from how bad it is, and it also has the classic 80’s film qualities of warmth and innocence, now all but lost in these harsher more realistic times. 3/10


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