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Cheesy but Enjoyable Sci Fi Adventure!
Ben Burgraff (cariart)20 March 2004
I feel a bit guilty, reading some of the other reviews posted, but I liked MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE! Perhaps because I was never 'into' the cartoon series, I am more forgiving of characters or plot devices left out, and I certainly recognize that it is derivative of both STAR WARS and FLASH GORDON (particularly in Bill Conti's bombastic musical score), but there is so much energy in the film, such abundant confidence in the ultimate victory of Good versus Evil, and such a wonderfully campy performance by Frank Langella as rubber-masked Skeletor that I get a kick out of it, whenever it airs.

Physically, no actor could be more perfect as the hero, He-Man, than ROCKY 4's Dolph Lundgren. At 6'6" (that's two inches taller than JOHN WAYNE, trivia fans!), with flowing blond hair and blue eyes, the 30-year old Swedish actor combined a Herculean physique (if Marvel Comics' "The Mighty Thor" is ever filmed, he would be perfect as the Thunder God), with a knack for weapons that would earn him the future title of 'King' of 'B' action flicks. True, his English was so poor at the time of filming that his dialog was kept to a minimum, but who watches this kind of film for dialog, anyway?

Supporting Lundgren's He-Man is crusty veteran soldier, Duncan (Man-at-Arms), played by character actor Jon Cypher, who makes up for He-Man's taciturn nature by reminiscing constantly about a life in the military (with observations EVERY soldier has made, through history), and his daughter, Teela (pretty Chelsea Field, one of the busiest actresses of the decade), serving as a "Xena Lite" for the proceedings.

Opposing the Forces of Good with the irreplaceable Langella is one of my favorite actresses, Meg Foster, as the sublimely wicked Evil-Lyn, using her piercing green eyes and barely suppressed sexuality to great advantage. With an array of the cartoon's more colorful villains in support of Skeletor and Evil-Lyn, He-Man has his hands full!

The plot involves a tonal 'key', created by a dwarf, Gwildor (screen legend Billy Barty, in an initially irritating, but eventually endearing role), that can transport individuals wherever they desire. Stolen by Evil-Lyn, Skeletor uses it to capture He-Man's Castle Greyskull and it's resident Sorceress ("St. Elsewhere" alum Christina Pickles). With a hidden prototype 'key', Gwildor leads our heroes into the castle...where they are nearly captured by Skeletor, before the dwarf throws together some random numbers, and transports our heroes...to Earth.

The 'key' is lost, as the four arrive on our planet, to be found by aspiring musician Kevin Corrigan ("Star Trek: Voyager" star Robert Duncan McNeill) who thinks it's a Japanese musical instrument! With girlfriend Julie Winston (future "Friends" superstar Courteney Cox, looking young and gorgeous), the pair are astonished by the musical complexities of the device, unaware that each time it is 'played', Skeletor is getting a better 'fix' of it's location. Eventually, our planet is pinpointed, and Skeletor leads an army of villains to subdue us, and capture He-Man.

With great comic support by bald character actor James Tolkan (BACK TO THE FUTURE), as a bewildered police detective, some spectacular 'set' pieces (Skeletor's invasion force, backed by 'Darth Vader'ish music, is a highlight), and an ending that concludes that "ANYTHING is possible", MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE is great cheesy fun!

Certainly, the film is not a classic, but if you accept it on it's own terms, I think you might find it to be a lot of fun!
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5/10
Silly but Entertaining
Claudio Carvalho18 June 2017
On the planet Eternia, Skeletor (Frank Langella) and his dark army overthrow the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull (Christina Pickles) expecting to acquire her power. He-Man (Dolph Lundgren), his old friend Duncan "Man-at-Arms" (Jon Cypher) and his daughter Teela (Chelsea Field) are attacked by Skeletor's soldiers and they defeat them. They also rescue their prisoner, the inventor and locksmith Gwildor (Billy Barty). He explains that he was lured by Evil-Lyn (Meg Foster) that used his invention Cosmic Key to open the gates and seize the Castle Grayskull. He-Man and his friends retrieve the prototype of the Cosmic Key trying to release the Sorcereress but they are defeated by Skeletor and his army and Gwildor uses his key to open and portal for them to flee. They come to Earth but lose the key. Meanwhile Julie Winston (Courteney Cox), who grieves the loss of her parents in a plane crash, and her boyfriend Kevin Corrigan (Robert Duncan McNeill) find and activate the key, believing it is a foreign musical instrument. On Eternia, Evil-Lyn locates the Cosmic Key and Skeletor sends her with a group of mercenaries and soldiers to vanquish He-man and his friends and bring the key back. Will they succeed?

"Masters of the Universe" is a silly but entertaining fantasy adventure film. The movie is a ripoff Star Wars, with the introductory credits rolling on the screen, the score and Skeletor's army, and Conan, with the strong Dolph Lundgren. The plot has silly moments, like Julie delivering the Key to her deceased mother or the comic attitudes of Detective Lubic. But "Masters of the Universe" is cult and entertaining for the fans. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Mestres do Universo – O Filme" ("Masters of the Universe – The Movie")
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10/10
Awesome fantasy adventure
Just as some movies that should be great turn out to be awful, some movies that should be awful turn out to be great - Masters of the Universe. Unfortunately, for a film that's based on a cartoon that today's 20-somethings used to watch in the 1980's, none of the said 20-somethings are going to admit to liking it now. Few will give it a chance and realize the direction is good, the acting is good, the music is good, that it's exciting, funny, scary, suitably epic and absolutely action-packed and that it looks fantastic. But Superhero Cinema does. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was a hugely successful mid-80's cartoon based on a line of action figures. The success of each fed the other, as well as a popular comicbook and loads of other merchandise. Finally in 1987 came the big one: the motion picture.

What looks like suicide at first glance - converting a cartoon based on action figures into a full-length feature - gets more appealing when you look at thes ource material closer. The cartoon is a epic hybrid of fantasy and sci-fi, with ancient castles and sorcerers mixing with laser guns and cyborgs. It also has a very mythic feel, mixing Ancient Greece-era monsters and challenges with fairy tale locations.

There are also hordes of exotic characters - warriors, mutants, monsters, magicians of every description, so the film makers could pick the coolest ones to bring to the screen. The ones they've chosen are He-Man and his arch enemy Skeletor (obviously), amazon-type female warrior Teela and her dad Man-At -Arms, the Sorceress of Grayskull, Skeletor's second in command Evil Lyn (which is always pronounced 'Evil-In'), and Beastman. Added to these are four characters that were created for the film - Gwildor, a dwarf-like inventor, Karg, a cross between Captain Hook and a bat, snake-like Sauron, and Blade, a sword and knife-obsessed slaphead. So that's eleven fantasy characters running about, which is a pretty good total.

Masters of the Universe succeeds because it takes the cartoon and adapts not it's superficial qualities, but it's essence into a movie, turning it into a mature sci-fi/fantasy adventure. This is where so many comic and cartoon based movies fail. They don't adapt their source material properly to make a successful feature film. You need to make the movie a natural progression from what it's based on, altering the look enough so it looks acceptable in real action, altering the characters into real people, choosing actors who can give real performances. It's not simply dressing superstars up as characters from a comic or cartoon, it's re-imagining the ideas as a movie. MotU does this perfectly. You can fault it as a film itself, of course, but you can't fault it as an adaption.

The production design is superb, with some superbly realized sets and costumes. Everything has been adapted to look more realistic on the big screen. The cast give uniformly decent performances. Nobody lets the side down - these are all 3D characters, not cartoons. Dolph Lungren proves he's one of the European bodybuilder brigade who can act. Frank Langella gives an outstanding performance as Skeletor, his powerful presence almost bursting out of the TV and into your living room. Langella gives a shining example to all actors portraying comicbook and cartoon characters in live action. There is a pervading sense of dread whenever he appears, especially during Castle Grayskull sequences, and the script gives him some awesome lines which he delivers with pure evil dripping from his voice.

The monsters are pretty bloody scary, especially for a family film, especially the Beastman (who's had a 'the' added to his name). The sequence where they invade a school gym and chase Julie around it is excellent, far more exciting and scary than similar chases in many horror films (including some of those Courtney Cox has been in). It's also, like the rest of the film, surprisingly violent, as the bad guys attack Julie with swords, claws, laser guns and high velocity darts. That she manages to escape is not unbelievable at all, because of the way the chase is staged - it's just a relief she gets out of there, the goal of any such chase scene. The sheer ammount of bad guys that the small band of heroes has to face adds greatly to the drama.

Setting half of the movie on Earth has it's advantages and disadvantages. It does give the film a human component, and two ordinary teenagers to be pulled into the adventure with. It also makes the monsters scarier - rather than being in a distant galaxy, they are in the neighbourhood, viciously attacking people and destroying whatever they come across. On the other hand, it would have been cool to see some more of the war torn Eternia and the planet's weird inhabitants and locations, but MotU had a relatively small budget, so that sort of stuff was off limit anyway. A little too much time is spent on the almost soap-opera angle of Julie and Kevin, but it helps flesh out their characters to make them believable.

MotU is also packed with action, and we do mean packed. There is an outbreak of violence every 15 minutes or so, usually even less, and there is variety and imagination among the content, unlike many action films, which consist of repetetive shoot outs and nothing more. It could possibly be said that it's quantity over quality, as some of it, particularly the shoot-outs, are badly filmed, and none of the action ever reaches adrenalin pumping. However, it's good enough, in-yer-face and quite exciting to watch, with He-Man taking out hordes of bad guys with his sword, laser beams everywhere, mass destruction and some good old rough and tumble. And all the action grows organically from the story - none of it seems put in simply because the movie needed an action scene at a certain point.

One of MotU's greatet assets is it's atmosphere. The sense of an intergalactic civil war is tangible, as is the sheer menace of the villains, the desperation of the good guys, the growing sense of doom as Skeletor captures the Cosmic Key. There is a cower-behind-the-sofa scariness similar to that of TV's Doctor Who.

If Masters of the Universe was re-released at cinemas this summer, people would realize how good it is compared to the blockbuster summer fare we get these days. And all for $17m, which was hardly anything, even in 1987.
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10/10
Great fun!
Skeletors_Hood3 October 2001
"I Have the Power!"

For those of us who grew up in the 80's, that phrase is all too familiar. Especially for those who would rush home after school to watch our favorite strongman face off against the forces of evil that threaten the safety and security of his homeworld. For my money, it was never better than when He-Man faced off against Skeletor for the struggle for Eternia.

I also remember the fantasies that I and my friends would have of traveling away to that world of magic and fantasy, to fight alongside He-Man as he defends Grayskull. It truly was a series that was out of this world.

And now it's on Earth.

When I first heard about a live action movie, (mind you, I was twelve at the time), I was overly excited about it. But I didn't get to see it until my late teens. And I must say that it was very well done, especially in its presentation. In fact it brought back those far away childhood memories of those late afternoons in front of the tv, or outside with the toys a make-shift Eternia setting with my friends.

I'll grant a few things that were wrong with the movie though. There were times that I think the script was either badly edited, or just too rushed at certain points. I'm also not thrilled about them being on earth, but understanding budget constraints and the idea to make these characters more real than fantasy help feed into that decision, so I let that one go. I would have also liked to see more of the characters from the toys in the movie, but have no complaints that they made up a few cool characters, like Blade.

The casting choices, I felt, were really good. Dolph Lundgren worked as He-Man, even though he can't act. He looked the part, and even pulled off the role. I could tell that he wasn't walking through the part, as many actor will do with character roles (right Mr. Clooney?). And Frank Langella the PERFECT choice for Skeletor. Langella managed to bring that character to life in a way that gave me chills. Skeletor is perhaps one of the greatest villains ever imagined, but the cartoon made him a cackling villain, who was more a buffoon than anything, therefore he didn't seem threatening. But seeing Langella make Skeletor more dark and evil put my faith back into the conviction as a great villain.

You don't have to be a die hard fan of the series to enjoy the movie. It's great fun, imaginative, and it captures a moment in time. Don't scrutinize the movie because it's different from the cartoon. Look at it for what it is, and don't focus on its faults. It had the power to recapture my imagination, so its not all that bad.
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8/10
A lot of fun! Some great performances as well...
Sentinel-153 July 2005
I first saw this movie way back in the 80's, and recently got hold of the DVD. I'm pleased to say I still enjoyed it as much as I did back then! While the decision to place part of the story in 1980's suburban America, planet Earth, was no doubt a way to keep the budget low, the end result is still a lot of fun, and the main characters manage to stay pretty close to their original characters. Naturally, though, I'd loved to have seen some more of Eternia instead. Unfortunately, the promised sequel never came to be.

Frank Langella is simply brilliant; his bigger-then-life portrayal of Skeletor may be different from what they did in the TV series, but it works great. He commands every scene he is in, and his performance is powerful yet subtle at certain moments. Wonderful! By the way, be sure to watch until the end credits are over...

Dolph Lundgren, while perhaps not quite the eloquent thespian Langella is, does make a formidable old-fashioned hero.
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6/10
Overwhelming fantasy about heroic He-man battling Skeletor in Eternia and Earth
ma-cortes3 August 2010
A corpulent hero named He-man , a veteran warrior (John Cypher), his daughter (Chelsea Field), a likable midget (Billy Barty) fight in Eternia against a vile villain named Skeletor (Frank Langella as a Darth Vader clone) in a fantasy/Sci-Fi about rebel forces battling for the sake of freedom and engaged in a life or death war with the tyrant leader of a far planet . They transport themselves by means of a mechanism that creates a time hole to earth in which nothing less the future of the universe is at stake . There they meet an intimate and youthful couple ((Courney Cox , Richard Duncan). Meanwhile , Skeletor wants to get a chance by destiny to receive the powers of Grayskull.

This is a big-budgeted live-action rendition of the cartoon roles' feats in the ¨Star Wars¨ mold and characterized by He-man , Skeletor and many others . All of them blend together with wonderful and terrific special effects courtesy of Richard Edlund and special designs by Moebius .¨Masters of the Universe¨ is basically numerous spectacular fight-scenes with a tiny bit of plot movement, full of sympathetic dialog and flashy blasts of light and energy . It features stunted and disjointed action, as well as the hilarious but quite conventional characters fitting partially to animated series . The abundant breathtaking images , which labor mightily to reproduce the source materials in some impressive scenes and eye-popping look .

After his nasty roles in in ¨Rocky 4 (85)¨ and ¨A view to kill(85)¨ , the Swedish muscle mountain Dolph Lundgren starred this film and followed by ¨Red Scorpion(90)¨ and ¨Universal soldier(92)¨ in his successful period during the 80s and early 90s . Lundgren has enough acting ability and charisma to play this kind of heroes . Based on cartoon and famous toys by ¨Mattei Inc¨ that proved to be one of the biggest of all time . The characters and story may aim a little more at kids than teenagers and adults. For comic relief is in charge of Billy Barty with his antics and jokes . Other support actors making brief appearance are James Tolkan and Christina Pickles as the imprisoned sorceress . The special effects are all they're cracked up to be and set a new cinematic standard for realistic realization . Action scenes have the zip and excitement you'd expect . The motion picture is well directed by Gary Goddard in his only realization , subsequently he dedicated to production and 3D . This would-be epic about ¨ Sword and witchery¨ is an entertaining romp through space and time .
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10/10
WITHOUT QUESTION THE GREATEST SWORD AND SORCERY EPIC EVER!!!
drunk-231 August 1999
Not only does this film stand tall on it's own achievements but it is also clearly the inspiration for that well loved classic "Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time". It follows the mythos of the original He-Man mini comics (the ones that came with the toys) more than the plot of the animated series, as such He-Man is not secretly Prince Adam. (My fellow post teenage virgins as well as losers in general will probably understand what I'm talking about.) Anyway Langela proves the perfect Skeletor. Unlike the cartoon character he proves to be convincingly pure evil. I must say that he honestly did succeed in being one of the most terrifying villains in movie history. Hat's off to director Gary Goddard and the cast for taking the story entirely seriously and not just dismissing it as a campy hour and a half long toy add. It's that kind of conviction that distinguishes between art and commercial shlock. This movie also taught me some valuable life lessons. For instance, if a guy with a skull head gets massive god-like power the only real change he will make to his life is giving himself golden armour. (Both Skeletor and the Red Skull have done this.) I also learned that when some one gets god-like power, to defeat them all you need to do is push them into a muddy ditch. Having the characters travel to late 1980's earth made this movie all the better specially since they got to meet Courteney Cox (what a babe. Grrrowwlll). Why doesn't anybody ever ask her about this movie when she's on talk shows? Oh wait it's cause there's no reason they should care. Anyway if you don't have anything better to do give it a rent... and wait till the end of the credits for the secret surprise. You can probably find it at your local Blockbuster Video! Make it a Blockbuster Night!
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10/10
Great Fantasy.
wink1234528 January 2002
Some people say it was the Star Wars of the 80's and some people say it was completely horrible. I wouldn't quite agree with either statement. Though not as good as Star Wars, it really isn't that bad of a movie. Especially if you remember growing up watching He-man on TV and pretending that you could hold a magic sword above your head and become all powerful. Yes, some of the lines are cheap and the acting is stilted and questionable at times, but it is still a fun movie. If you forget what I've just mentioned and just sit back and enjoy the fantasy and the adventure, and you will enjoy the movie. Some memorable scenes are the battles in the junk yard, the flying hover craft fight and the final fight between He-man and Skelator. If you're a fan of He-man or any action movie made in the late 80's, I would recommend that you rent this movie.
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7/10
It is much better that regarded
rar227 July 2005
I have read a number of reviews on this movie and they are accurate and good for the most part. My credit is to Gary Goddard for all he endured and still getting a credible and succinct movie made.

The fight scenes are real and actual so they seem methodical but they're great. The hair, clothing, make-up, special effects, and down the list we go, is so caked in '80s gunk it would be hard to fight for this as a classic. It is the only He-Man movie out there, and although a sequel beckons, eighteen years have passed without a stir.

If a sequel were to made Langella would have to be Skeletor. I mean the best acting from both he and Lundgren comes when He-Man is being led by the Centaurian. Langella saying "I give you a choice: return to Eternia with me as my slave and save their despicable lives, or perish with them here on this tasteless, and primitive, planet." It's cold and dark and it's authentic. It's chilling and you get chills. Langella overacts sometimes but mostly is great. He took Skeletor from a whiny, irritating, and downright pathetic worm of a guy to a believable, earthy, credible, and despicable evil-doer. We get a taste of the importance of He-man and all that he does, here in this scene, too.

Goddard did something brilliant here, he made the movie personable. He puts these people on Earth, interacting with Earthlings, and putting a grasp on how out there these "aliens" are. But it is also probably why this movie is so widely disregarded, because it doesn't have great and illustrative fight scenes. Instead they are sensible and plotted. To see this movie remade could be a real treat.

Gwildar is, essentially, Orco. He was easy, sensible, irritating, but not nearly as annoying, and unfairly Billy Barty was nominated for a Razzie. The story interlocks with this missing "key" as created by Gwildar. This cosmos idea of God-like power through the manifestation of a fourth dimension is highly advanced. This is why the movie is good. Portals are doors and He-Man is definitely a science fiction adventurer. This puts an Earthy spin on an idea wiling out.

Teela works and Man-in-Arms (Duncan) is good as a faithful sidekick to He-Man. That's what he is. He can hold his own but mostly is fighting for duty of right, and he follows He-Man for he is the epitome of it. Teela's gritty and pitched voice, with her desperate actions, are very formidable. Duncan is best when inspiring Kevin. Kevin is a sensitive guy with a talent. What these Eternians do is showcase pessimism on Earth for their planet is dying at their own hands. They are their own good and evil and it is hard to differentiate, so why care? By the end of the movie Courtney Cox and Robert Duncan McNeill (Julie and Kevin) see that. So does Lubic. The Eternians have no planet and yet they continue to hold hope and forge ahead: He-Man.

Tolkan is not so much a distraction as he is pretentious. McNeill yelling to Tolkan "Lubic this is for real" as he dodges a Centaurian blast doesn't hold much weight, or reality. It is about unity, division, and strength. Both literal and figurative.

Meg Foster is great as Evil-Lyn because she improves the movie rather than take time from Skeletor. Goddard lets most of the acting chops fall to the incomparable Frank Langella. He-Man is the ambassador of good. He is to talk slow, be level-headed, and search for justice. Lundgren does all of these things. He mission isn't to be malicious and blood seeking. When he runs into Julie (and a great fight sequence ensues) it is Duncan and Teela doing some leg work. He-Man is a protector. He'll abate killing Skeletor to keep any and all safe. In all honesty how many lines can you give someone? Someone suggested Brad Pitt as He-Man for a remake. I don't mind Pitt, but he would ham up the screen like some feel Skeletor did. Skeletor's was good, He-Man's would not be. Lundgren, in all honesty, is great. He has a mullet but looks the part, and contrary to popular belief, acts it. He wields the Sword of Grayskull gracefully, yet with force and some clumsiness. It's heavy, but he's well-skilled and versed in the sword. These oppositions are found in the Soceress. She would normally seem bad to us; however, she is the greatest power of good. Christina Pickles gives great lines of philosophy allowing for good banter and humor with Skeletor. And her love for He-Man is very evident and clear with solid acting.

The cartoon is hardly to be found here, aside from the characters and Eternia. Battle cat, and all other characters good and bad, could cloud a remake. But it would be great to see history revealed for He-Man like the new Batman series has done. People forget we like to see depth in our characters. And the character Charlie is filler, not unimportant, but certainly not integral. He's written well. All in all watch this movie because it's really, quite engrossing.
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8/10
I have the power!!!!!
pax0329 June 2005
I love this movie, yes it has bad acting and cheesy effects but so did the original star wars movies, right?? the only thing star wars had was that intangible you cant describe when talking about movies. it had "it" Masters of the universe had "it" as well but i think it had a different kind of it. Frank Langella has probably the most underrated performances as the evil and sinister Skeletor, one of my votes as baddest bad guy in movie history if they had something like that... this is the Jack Nicholson performance of the Joker before Batman. I don't know why people are giving it such a low rating, there are a ton of movies that are a lot worse out there. You have to realize that this was made in 1987 and SFX weren't as good as they are today, but this had heart and it shows if you watch it. If you go into it watching for deeper meanings and all this other stuff that art fans go for, i can see why you'd bash it afterward. But if you go into it expecting a fantasy story and great sci fi action, you will not be disappointed... you might actually be surprised with it!
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7/10
Perfect example of low-budget sci-fi goofiness but holds a certain charm
ersinkdotcom8 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Despite being an epic failure in the eyes of Cannon Films, the live- action "Masters of the Universe" movie has built a cult following over the past 25 years. Although it's the perfect example of low-budget sci- fi goofiness, it does hold a certain level of charm for lovers of the Mattel toy line. You have to give director Gary Goddard credit for doing what he could with the money he was given to work with. What can you do when there's not enough cash to throw at fantastical otherworldly sets? You take the fantasy characters and put them on Earth in practical locales that don't cost as much money to build. That's what we get with "Masters of the Universe."

He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) and his band of warriors are accidentally transported to Earth by a powerful key which will give Skeletor (Frank Langella) the ultimate power to rule Eternia. Skeletor sends his evil henchmen and army to find the key before He-Man does. Things get more complicated when the key is found by two teenagers (Courteney Cox and Robert Duncan McNeill) who think it's a musical instrument. They soon find themselves in the middle of a universal battle between good and evil.

http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/849014/eric_shirey.html
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are you all nuts??
dcarrano2 July 2000
I can't believe how many positive comments there are for this movie!! This movie may have single-handedly ruined my childhood. Okay, exaggeration, but come on, the plot, script, and acting are nowhere near the level of a decent, "real" movie. It makes "Batman and Robin" look good!!

The comparison to "Beastmaster 2" in the sarcastic comment below is accurate. It's just as bad in terms of plot/acting/script, and it actually makes the same mistake: setting most of the action on Earth rather than in the fantasy atmosphere of the original. By this one action, they take everything that made the cartoon exciting to kids and flush it down the toilet.

A real stinker!!
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8/10
Nothing Great, unless you grew up with He-Man cartoon/toys.
LebowskiT10007 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not going to lie to you! This is not a very good movie, but I still loved it. I love this movie cause it reminds me of all the he-man figures that I used to play with when I was a child. The story of this film is loosely based on the story from the cartoon series. I say loosely, because other than the names of some of the people (He-Man, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Skeletor, Beast Man) and the names of some of the places (Castle Grayskull, Snake Mountain, Eternia), the two stories don't seem to have a whole lot in common. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, although, it was sad that some of the key/favorite characters from the cartoon series didn't make it into the film. It would have been cool to see Battle-Cat in the film, although very hard to execute. I think a lot of people would have liked to see Orco too...but I never liked him much anyway, so that was just fine with me to cut him out.

As for the cast, I thought they were actually pretty good. It seems most people disliked Dolph Lundgren playing He-Man, but I thought he was great! No, he's not the best actor in the world, but I thought he did a fine job. I really enjoyed seeing Courteney Cox in her early work, and at such a young age, she was quite the looker back then too. As for Frank Langella (Skeletor), I thought he did a great job with the role! And I thought his make-up was incredible! Very good job! I thought the rest of the cast did a great job too. People that deserve a special mention is Bill Barty (Gwildor), James Tolkan (Det. Lubic) and Chelsea Field (Teela).

The only major complaint about the movie that I have is why did they have to kill off Sarod and not Karg? Saurod was cool looking and Karg was just plain stupid. He talked stupid, he looked stupid, his clothes were stupid...all around stupid! Saurod was cool!

Anyway, in a strictly movie sense, this movie isn't really very good, and if you don't know anything about He-Man, then are almost sure to dislike it. But in a nostalgic sort of way, the movie is pretty cool. Also, you have to keep in mind that this IS a kid's movie, so it's not really intended to be anything really mind-blowing. Nonetheless, I loved the movie! I hope you like the film as much as I did. Thanks for reading.

-Chris
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I have the Power!! Oh wait. No i don't.
nickthegun26 November 2002
I was 9 when this first came out. I was amazed, excited and in awe. It was he-man! In real life! But then I started to think 'Wheres battle cat?' 'where are all skeletors henchmen?' 'why the hell isn't this set on eternia?' 'He-man can pick up mountains. Why is he getting his ass so beaten?'. And so it continued. The annoying midget took the place of Orko, was the icing on the cake! The problem with this film is, basically, that it was released 2 years too late. He-Man was hot in 1985. His popularity was on the wane. They also changed far too much. I know they probably relocated the story to Earth for budgetary reasons (a scrap yard is a cheaper place to have a battle than a 'mystical swamp'), but they could have at least kept skeletors old henchmen. Only Beastman survived and he was pretty lame. And don't get me started on the others. Aside from its cheapness and derivative nature, there are so many things wrong with this film. It is so unambitious. He-Man had the potential to weave a believable universe. It had established characters and conventions, it had mysticism and technology and a super hero lead. When you change that much you please no one. Fans of the original are disappointed and non fans have no interest. The only decent change they made was to include Mr Strickland from back to the future. That guy kicks ass! At least in the She-Ra movie they kept things the same. Now that was a tie in (note: Irony).
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One of my biggest childhood disappointments
sickink212 May 2002
If you were a kid in the '80s, you were all about He-Man, and I was no exception. I had the toys, the books, the lunch box, the underwear-pretty much everything I owned, in fact, bore the likeness of my all-time favorite cartoon character. So when I found out there was going to be a movie, I thought my life was complete.

I really couldn't have been more disappointed if they'd put He-Man in a tux and top hat. This movie sucked. First off, Battle-Cat, Orko, and pretty much all the villains from the original cartoon were replaced by new characters that everyone hated. Skeletor's mask didn't even come close to looking skeletal, and all his troops (since when did Skeletor have "troops"?) were direct rip-offs of a handful of costumes from Star Wars.

Then we have He-Man, who wears a cape (?) and never becomes Prince Adam. Plus, Lundgren has problems hiding his accent and can't really act anyway. The annoying dwarf Gwildor would've been forgivable if they'd only changed

his name to Orko! Come on, we all knew this was the movie's answer to Orko...just a few minor changes to the script, and one big gripe could've been avoided. And who could forget those two teenagers? Man, I wish I could...

But these complaints come mostly from a fan of the cartoon series. On its own, as well, the movie has a whole host of problems. For one, the script is awful. Even for a sci-fi/fantasy adventure, there's nothing about the story that's even minutely believable (why do Eternians speak English?). There's no reason for Skeletor to be so fixated on finding this "cosmic key," since he's already got one. They try to cover it up by adding the line, "I must possess all, or I possess nothing!" but it doesn't work.

Then, on Earth, when He-Man and company lose the key, they just so happen to run across the two kids who found it.

With the exception of Frank Langella, none of the actors did a halfway decent job, though it's hard to tell based on what they were given to work with. And the resolution at the end is so predictable and cheesy I even stood up in the theater as a six-year-old kid and yelled, "Bulls***!"

I could keep listing the its flaws, but my hands are cramping in protest to thinking about this movie. It gets 3 out of 10 from me.
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8/10
COME ON PEOPLE!!!!
Peter Elefant27 July 2001
Nononono!!! You can't just trash one of the most important childhood-memories since Star Wars!! It's HE-MAN for Christ's sake!! You know?! The Super-duper strongman, who battles Sceletor over the power of the universe and stuff!!! In this film, however, they move to earth in pursuit of a MAGIC KEY!! IT JUST DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER!!!!

I give this one an 8, as it's fun to watch, and nothing more. It's like THE MUMMY RETURNS: Great entertainment, with powerful heros and villians, but no fun for your average Woody Allen fanatic.

8 8 8 - so.. I'm a mental morron!
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I will be blunt. This film at the worst is a bad...
Frank-392 August 1998
I will be blunt. This film at the worst is a bad Star Wars ripoff. However at the best this film is a grand missed opportunity. The cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe had a plot and meaning. He-Man was not always a strong hero most of the time he was the weak Prince Adam and when he was in that form he was a dissapointment to his father King Randor. This film took out one of the best comic devices of all of the history of animation Orko the Trollan court jester. The worst mistake though was the casting of Dolph Lundgren. Nothing against Dolph but He-Man was very literate and sort of a cowboy-type superhero and Dolph has a pretty syrupy Russian accent that he tries to work through but to no avail. I ask you to not prejudge all things He-Man because of a negitive experience with this film. Just remember that this is not a bad idea, merely a poorly executed one.
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8/10
More than life
Case18 July 2005
Okay, let's face it. We all have our own opinions on films. Some say the Godfather is one of the best films made. Personally i could name 10 films that easily beat it (Masters of the Universe isn't one of them by the way) but there are much better films out there. But despite our professionalism when it comes to rating films, there's always a special place in our hearts for those really cheesy childhood movies that made on hell of a difference to our upbringing one way or another. Masters of the Universe is one of those films. Frank Langella, Skeletor, plays the part of He-Man's nemesis better than anyone else i could dream of. Dolph was perfect for the part of He-man. Sure there were some good old fashioned bad guys missing. And where was battlecat? I'll tell you where, at the bottom of the budget. At least we had Air Centurions and a damn sexy Evil Lynn. But above all, we had some bad ass lines in there. I think they done well with what they had. Even the tune is good (thanks for Rocky too Bill). If you don't like this movie it's cause you've got no soul. Masters of the Universe is a masterpiece in every way, shape and form. There hasn't been a bad guy like Skeletor (with the exclusion of Darth Vader) who was able to do the role justice. You probably grew up on a steady diet of westerns (that didn't include Clint Eastwood) and therefor have no imagination. If you don't like Masters of the universe then there's a good chance you don't like other classics like Big Trouble in Little China and other such masterpieces. In which case go back to watching so called classics and pick out another sweater from bland wardrobe and rot.

Look for more down to earth reviews coming soon (big Trouble in Little china, Rocky, Predator, etc)
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7/10
From the people who butchered Superman, comes . . . an oddly likable movie!
Mr-Fusion16 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It's a funny thing; when I watch "Masters of the Universe" I tend to view the movie as a straight sword-n-sorcery adventure, very much of its '80s time and place. And on those terms, I think it's a pretty cool flick. It's got its share of cheese, don't get me wrong (pretty much all of Courtney Cox's subplot), but that's not enough to kill it. Dolph Lundgren makes for a solid hero and he's great for the role's physicality. But it's clearly Frank Langella who steals this thing, buried under makeup but still owning his scenes.

It's interesting to see what came out of Cannon in 1987. "Superman IV" was a disaster, and yet "Masters of the Universe" somehow works. Chock full of swords, lasers, ships, otherworldly heroes and still grounded in a contemporary setting. Were I a more devoted He-Man fan, this might leave a sour taste in my mouth. But comparing it to others of its type ("Conan the Barbarian", "Krull", "Willow") it ain't bad at all.

7/10
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10/10
It's good to see the positive feedback ....
G-Man-915 January 1999
It was good to read the positive views on the film. It seems that an awful lot of people enjoyed the film, and I think, all things considered, it turned out pretty well. As to Frank Bailey's notes - everyone has a right to an opinion. No one will ever realize what goes into making any movie, but we had many masters to please on this one. The entire movie was done for $17,000,000 and it's a good looking film. I'm proud of the film, and pleased to say it was the feature film debut of Courtney Cox, Robert Duncan McNeil("Voyager") and Chelsea Field ("Last Boy Scout"). I recommend the film highly, but as the director, I am a bit prejudiced. I saw it again recently and enjoyed it. I hope any of you who view it enjoy it as well, but remember, it IS HE-MAN, so you shouldn't expect Lawrence of Arabia. It's definitely an enjoyable film if you view it with the spirit in which we made it - which was to be engaging family sci-fi.
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10/10
I have the power!!!!!!!
Melvin-822 July 1999
One of the best B-Movies ever made. Dolph Lundgren did a fair job of playing a very "realistic" He-Man.

Of course this movie shouldn´t be taken completely seriously otherwise you can´t enjoy it.

And compared to other movies about cartoons(Mario Bros. ; Mortal Kombat) this one truly is a great one!
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One of the best films of the 80's
rlough92724 December 1999
Masters Of The Universe is a brilliant movie. It may not be exactly the same as the animated TV series, but that does not matter. The storyline was quite good too. I think that right now would be the perfect time to make a sequel. If they did, they would obviously get people who saw The Phantom Menace earlier this year going to see it. They could even have a computer generated Orko and Battle Cat. I give this film a 10/10.
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8/10
my first movie
valjoemv-17 July 2005
This was my first movie to see on the big screen. I was nine and my brother seven. We live in Houston. There was a General Cinema not far from our house. I remember my Dad's beeper going off. Can you imagine what those looked like nearly twenty years ago? The movie is over and we're leaving I saw some lift his right arm in the air saying loudly "I have the Power!". So it was not a big box office hit. I don't care I and my brother loved it and always will. I can not imagine Rocky as He-Man. Uh-uh. Who could not like Gwildor? Does anyone remember Willow? He was in it. No matter what movie I see Frank Langella in I will always remember him as Skeletor. I would have like to have seen Masters of the Universe Part 2.
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7/10
It was not bad at all
I enjoyed "Masters of The Universe" especially the toys. When this movie came out, picking Dolph Lundgren was a great choice for He-Man, if he had worked out some more, it would have been more appealing. At least they didn't pick Lou Ferrigno, he would be terrible being blond. At least the movie itself wasn't too campy, otherwise it would be a big spoiler for movie goers. Having Orko and Prince Adam. This was a whole different story and it couldn't get any better. Meg Foster as Evil-Lyn was awesome. She didn't need any special types of contacts for that character. Her eyes made her evil enough. Frank Langella as Skeletor? NOT BAD. It was great who need to change a thing? 4 out of 5 stars.
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