Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz!
I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Mullets” with a minor in “HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAEYAA!”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week the Supercult team reveal the secrets of Castle Greyskull with Masters of the Universe!
On the Planet Eternia, at the center of the Universe, the evil Skeletor has seized Castle Greyskull and plans to use the hidden powers of the castle to become the Master of the Universe. Eternia’s greatest warriors He-Man, Man-At-Arms, and Teela must use the Cosmic Key, an object that can open a portal to any point in time and space, is to stop him, but before they can put their plan into action, however, the team is ambushed and in desperation they flee through a portal to modern day Whittier, California where two teenagers, Julie and Kevin, find the key. Can He-Man find the key and stop Skeletor before it’s too late, or will Skeletor and his cronies conquer both Eternia and Earth?
In 1976 Mattel’s CEO Ray Wagner declined a request to produce a toyline of action figures based on the characters from Star Wars and since then Mattel struggled to find its way back into the action figure arena. It wasn’t until 1981 that designer Roger Sweet realized that simplicity was the key to creating the next hit action figure. Sweet says in his book, “Mastering the Universe: He-Man and the Rise and Fall of a Billion-Dollar Idea” that he “simply explained that this was a powerful figure that could be taken anywhere and dropped into any context because he had a generic name: He-Man!” The Masters of the Universe franchise which revolves around the heroic exploits of He-Man against the evil forces of Skeletor on the planet Eternia has since spawned six lines of action figures, four animated TV series, several comic series, and a live-action feature film.
Released in 1987, Master’s of the Universe stars fairly recognizable stars such as Frank Langella as Skeletor, Dolph Lundgren as He-Man, Meg Foster as henchwoman Evil-Lyn, and Courtney Cox as Julie. But no amount of star power could save Master’s of the Universe from being judged against the 1980’s cartoons rather than the toy line the movie was actually adapted from. In the cartoons He-Man’s origin was reworked as the alter ego of Prince Adam of Eternia who went on adventures with his magician sidekick Orko and his steed Battle Cat, but in the original mini-comics He-Man is simply a barbarian. Since the original concept for the film was drawn up prior to the release of the cartoon series, it makes since that it would be based on the original comics, but it sure didn’t hurt the production costs to omit costly additions to the sets and cast.
The actors apparently had different feelings about the production. While lead actor Dolph Lundgren refused to sign on to any sequels and said in an interview that playing He-Man was his “lowest point as an actor”, Frank Langella has gone on record stating that playing Skeletor was one of his favorite roles. Langella’s son was apparently a huge fan of the franchise so he took the role for him and even helped write some of the more profound lines of dialogue.
Many of the villain characters were wearing ridiculously impractical costumes weighing upwards of 45 pounds. The actor in the Blade suit reported that he would regularly pour out sweat from his boots at the end of each filming day. The Beastman costume’s prosthetic teeth were so large that the actor was unable to close his mouth when in costume and after a while the actor would start to drool, filling his chin-piece with saliva and weighing it down. Meg Foster’s breastplate gave her bruises and restricted her movements, which is why you never see Evil-Lyn sitting down in the movie. However, she did say that the uncomfortable weight and design helped her pull off the role since she would have to menacingly puff out her chest during every take.
Finally, Mattel mandated early in production that He-Man not be allowed to kill anyone on-screen, so though it is never outright stated, all of Skeletor’s henchmen are robots. BUT if they weren’t robots, Master’s of the Universe would have a film body count of 43.
Though Masters of the Universe opened at No. 3 at the box office, and an after credits scene that teases at the possibility of a sequel, costly sets and poor reviews doomed the film to make only $17 million from a $22 million budget. Masters of the Universe has an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.3 on IMDB. Chris from MovieBreadBin.com says, “Is it shit? It is a bit, yeah…It’s got flaws the size of Dolph Lundgren’s boobs, but there’s enough good in there to conclude that my 8-year old self might not have been a moron for liking it after all.”
If you like wildly impractical fantasy settings where laser whips, heavily armed robot armies, and space wizards can lose to a guy with a sword and some leather underpants, then you’ll love Master’s of the Universe. DO YOU HAVE THE POWER…to endure this film??
The Supercult Show proudly presents Masters of the Universe!
Here’s the link to Chris’s review on MovieBreadBin.com:
Can’t get enough He-Man? Check out the He-Man Fan site, He-Man.org, for more info about the movie!