A blog about my favourite movies, music, and TV.

09 February 2009

Masters of the Universe, 1987

During the 80’s most of the major movie studios put out some absolute trash, but no matter how hard they tried none could rival Cannon Films horrific output. However, in 1987 they surpassed even such dizzy heights as Supergirl and Death Wish 3, with their classic action-adventure opus Masters of the Universe.

Dolph Lungren is He Man! The oiled and buffed knicker clad superhero that over the following 88 mins demonstrates the acting ability of a soggy cardboard box. Anyone that watched the movies that Cannon put out at this time will know what kind of performance to expect from their leads. But will also be well aware of what kind of trashy fun their villains usually are. Even Faye Dunaway’s career devastating, scenery chewing turn in Supergirl, won’t prepare you for Frank Langella’s amazing turn as the evil Skeletor. While poor old Dolph couldn’t even live up to his animated counterpart, Langella blows the cartoon Skeletor out of the water with his sheer charisma and over the top gusto. He’s as camp as it gets, and his entrance is just cinematic gold! The staff banging, the cloak! Don’t get me started on the glistening gold makeover when he gets the power of the universe, or whatever it is. Absolute genius!

The stunning Meg Foster puts in fantastic performance as Evil Lyn too - Skeletor’s chief Hench-woman! It’s all in the eyes, and that outfit. Evil-Lyn really doesn’t do anything that evil, but she rocks nonetheless. She's a damn sight more imposing than Skeletor's other minions, anyway. Billy Barty’s Gwildor is a lot of fun too; he even had his own action figure.

The story involves the evil Skeletor taking over the planet of Eternia and imprisoning the beautiful Sorceress who holds all the power of the universe. He hopes to subsume all of her powers and take over the cosmos! Of course, He Man and his friends are going to stop him, but first they need to find the Key to Eternia, which has been sent to California in 1987 for budgetary reasons. There they meet Julie (Courtney Cox) and Kevin (Robert Duncan McNeill from Star Trek Voyager) - two annoying teens who happen to think the key is a cool synthesiser and insist on switching it on to see its pretty lights at every possible (time filling) opportunity, unknowingly alerting Skeletor to its location! Who will have the power?!...

This is just a classic, it’s so bad and essentially is just a bit cheap and shabby, but it’s oh so good – it’s one of my all time favourites. I admire the way the actors did their best with the terrible script, and the way the special effects budget was used, like when Skeletor floats down main street, not to mention his flying centurions! It actually looks quite good. Cannon missed the boat with this one as He Man was already a bit passé by 1987 and even their attempts to create cash-in merchandise, which had proved so lucrative for the cartoon series, failed miserably! I think they managed about 3 action figures and a book! They couldn’t even get a Skeletor figure out!

Masters of the Universe was savaged by critics and hardly anyone saw it when it came out. It was a success on video on TV though and if anything has improved with age, like a fine wine! Get it on DVD.

1 comment:

Mike said...

This is one of my favourite films!! So classy and Meg is AMAZING in it.