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The 1987 MOTU film gets better with each re-watch - very underrated movie!

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  • The 1987 MOTU film gets better with each re-watch - very underrated movie!

    Recently re-watched the '87 Masters of the Universe film for roughly the 4th/5th film. Excellent film. The first time I saw this back in '91 (on VHS tape), I hated the movie. I gave it another chance around 2014 & thought it was a mildly entertaining but also extremely flawed example of '80's kitsch. However, with each subsequent re-watch my appreciation for the film grows. I try to re-watch this every several years. Now that MOTU is experiencing a resurgence of popularity, I thought this would be the perfect time to watch it again. My comments:

    Castle Greyskull! Great depiction here. I liked how it looked similar to the toy/cartoon, but at the same time more "cinematic".

    The scene with Skeletor in the throne room in the beginning (with all of his minions) reminded me quite a bit of the beginning of the 1980 Flash Gordon film with Ming the Merciless in his throne room. Very nice "homage" (if that's what it was).

    No Prince Adam persona/secret identity for He-man. I always thought this was ridiculous in the Filmation cartoon (though handled better in the 200x cartoon), so it was nice to see that the film didn't have this. This made me realize that if a new He-man live-action film is made, they shouldn't use the Prince Adam persona at all.

    Solid casting for most of the roles. Dolph Lungren as He-man was great, as were Teela & Man-at-arms. And, Meg Foster as Evil Lyn was superb - both gorgeous & evil at the same time. Foster's "cat eyes" were perfect for the Evil-Lyn character. She was possibly the best part of the film

    Frank Langella as Skeletor was amazing - a lot of this had to do with the great make-up job, obviously. When I first saw it back in '91, I felt the mask was cheap since you could see the eye-sockets. However, after watching it again I realized that was the whole point, and I did feel this looked good.

    Great villains. I.e., I liked Blade, the lizard creature Saurod, the film version of Beast Man, and Skeletor's black-armored soldiers. I would have preferred to have seen film versions of Skeletor's other henchmen like Trap-Jaw, Mer-man, Tri-klops, etc. - however, I'm guessing this may have been to expensive to do back in '87. Maybe Blade (with his eye-patch) was supposed to be a different "version" of Tri-klops?!

    Going along with the above, I liked the new costumes for the characters. They were completely different from the cartoon/figures, but for some reason really worked for the film (kind of like how they changed the X-men's costumes from the comic for the films, and that worked well). I liked the tan/blue outfits for Teela & Man-at-arms, and Evil Lyn's elaborate costume was especially impressive.

    When I first saw the film, I felt that setting this on Earth (for most of the movie) was cheap & uninteresting, and was just a way for the producers of the film to save money. However, on subsequent re-watches - I really like the Earth setting. The battle scenes (between Skeletor's forces & He-man's forces) in the downtown area were well-done. In general, I liked how the Eternian battle between good & evil spilled over into "small-town Americana" circa Earth in the late '80's.

    It was cool to see He-man using a laser gun/rifle. I don't think he ever did in the original Vintage cartoon/comics.

    The "super Skeletor" with the gold armor (at the very end) was great. I liked how this element of the film had an obvious "homage" in the recent Revelations cartoon - with the "Skelegod" at the end.

  • #2
    I agree with you 100%. The original 1987 movie is a fun film, with fantastic costume designs. Dolph and Frank (and Meg!) where perfect casting choices. I just wish they had made more toys for the film back in the 80s.
    “We change people through conversation, not through censorship." ― Jay Z


    • #3
      Last month I also reviewed, and despite the limitations, I thought the production worked very well and knew how to take advantage of the story passed on earth, and the film has a good pace and good script, and builds the narrative very well, even if it throws us in the middle of a story that is already happening, although we don't know exactly how Skeletor conquer Grayskull, it manages to trap us in the tale. The problem is that the ending arrives a little too rushed and destroys a better climax. A really good thing is that there are actually battles, He-man crossing swords and destroying enemies, emotion that was rarely seen in the cartoon, and a very memorable Skeletor performance. The only thing I can't forgive is these hairstyles.
      Too bad we couldn't have the sequel whose script turned out to be a Van Damme movie.


      • Andy
        Andy commented
        Editing a comment
        I agree with everything you said except on top of not liking the hair styles is Beastman. Call me weird or whatever but I'll never like movie Beastman.

    • #4
      "The 1987 MOTU film gets better with each re-watch" -- I believe that's called Stockholm Syndrome.


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