Saturday, February 19, 2011

To be fair... Masters of the Universe was pretty awesome when I was seven.

I know I've been beating up on Thor for quite awhile, and one of the complaints is that it resembles a big-budget version of Masters of the Universe, which is of course the 1987 He-Man movie that starred Dolph Lundrgen, Frank Langella, Courtney Cox, and Billy Barty. But one thing I've been perhaps forgetting is that when I was seven years old, I kinda loved Masters of the Universe.

Sure, I had my fanboy nitpicks. "Why is most of the movie on Earth? Why are the costumes do different from the cartoon? Where are most of the supporting cast? Why do He-Man and Skelator spend the entire action-finale out of their conventional costumes?" That's actually a bit nit for me, as I've always DEMANDED that costumed heroes and villains actually be dressed in their traditional outfits for the finale. I don't want to see Flash in plain-clothes fighting Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash who's dressed in a winter parka. I want an epic battle where both are in their respective super-suits. But other than those minor points, it was great fun seeing He-Man and Skelator doing battle on the big screen. I loved the opening and closing action scenes, and I thought Blade was one of the coolest henchmen this side of Oddjob. There was just enough action, violence, and PG-rated gore to make it seem like a step-up from the harmless cartoon, and it was just plain silly fun.

I've seen that movie probably two dozen times over the last twenty-three-and-a-half years. I bought the DVD right when it came out back in October of 2001 and listened to the rather heartbreaking director's commentary, where Gary Goddard explained in detail how he ran out of money right at the finale while explaining how much bigger the action climax was supposed to be. When I bought an HDTV just over four years ago, it was the first film my wife and I sat and watched on the 56" DLP Samsung. And should the film come out on Blu Ray, I'll probably buy it then too. To this day, I cannot see Frank Langella in a movie without giggling on the inside ("So you're asking me do I regret going into Grayskull?... No, I don't." "I'm saying that when Skelator does it, it's not illegal."). Point being, I would love if Thor ends up bringing as much goofy joy to our nation's seven-year old boys (and girls?) as Masters of the Universe has brought to me. With that, I bid you, well, 'good journey'.

Scott Mendelson


Anonymous said...

Totally, 100% agree, Scott. I'm 32 and I still get a kick out of that film.

Although, I've never listened to the commentary but now that you say it's pretty solid, this will give me another reason to watch it again.

And Frank Langella rules in this film. Top ten all time cinema villains.

Anonymous said...

Oh I agree. Langella rules and makes the movie.

What's also so cool is that while he was riding the Oscar wave for "Frost/Nixon", this movie was brought up to him and he totally embraced it instead of acting like a snob about it. He said he had a lot of fun with the role.


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