My childhood interest in He-Man was peripheral, at best. The occasional figure would come my way through birthday parties or holiday gifts, and every now and then I’d happen to catch the cartoon, which seemed to focus a great deal on people hopping into frame, looking left then right, and hopping back out of frame.
The problem, as I saw it, was that He-Man couldn’t quite make up its mind. Did it want to be science fiction, with laser guns and flying ships? Or did it want to be fantasy, with dragons and creatures and greased up body-builders wearing furry fiapers and fighting with swords?
Star Wars and GI Joe knew what they were. Star Wars was science fiction, and when it dabbled in fantasy elements, it gave them a science fiction twist – lightsabers and all that. GI Joe was all about the Joes, which were all about … the military? Mercenaries? Insurgents? Christ, what were those guys up to? But I digress. All that aside, He-Man couldn’t shit or get off the pot.
But still, given that I was a blossoming movie nerd willing to drop $2.65 on renting anything with a sword, or maybe a guy with a skull for a face, it was inevitable that the film version of Masters of the Universe would cross my path at some point. I was, it also bears mentioning, maybe the youngest Golan Globus fan in the brief history of Golan Globus; Masters of the Universe was my destiny.
I wasn’t hard to impress. I’d already fallen in love with the American Ninja movies, not to mention Invasion USA and Delta Force. I would eventually go on to watch Troll 2 several times as well. Nevertheless, even at the tender young age of nine, or ten, or whenever I happened to see Masters of the Universe, it struck me as a confusing piece of shit.
Where were the characters? Where was Orko? Where was that weird green tiger? Where was the unfortunately-named Fisto?
Everyone was gone, replaced by a core group of four masters of the universe:
- Gwildor, the floppy-jowled nightmare creature that slathers himself in barbecue sauce and can’t remember how to work his own inventions.
- He-Man, who disappears for long swaths of the movie, doing God knows what.
- Man-At-Arms, who looks like he drinks a whole lot of Metamucil when he’s not mastering the universe and probably pronounces the word Tuesday like “toos-dee.”
- Teela, who doesn’t really have much to say, but is a vegetarian.
Even as a young lad and a mere dabbler in the He-Man mythos, I could grasp the fact that I was probably seeing the final result of a room full of people on fine 1980’s cocaine deciding that they could pass off their shitty barbarian-in-the-future script by slapping a popular cartoon name on it.
Whether I came to that revelation because I was a coal-hearted curmudgeon at an early age, or because the staggering shittiness of this movie thrust it upon me remains to be seen.
I guess you’ll just have to listen to our commentary while watching the movie. Masters of the Universe is on Netflix as of today (January 20th, 2016) and you can download the Videogres podcast here, or subscribe to us on itunes.
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