Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blu-Ray Review: Masters of The Universe (1987) Cinema Cult Edition (Blu-Ray)

"Masters of the Universe" is not only a sci-fi fantasy action film but it is also a live action adaptation of the "He-Man" series. The film starts off with an epic opening with Evil-Lyn (played by "Meg Foster") looking out of Skeletor's home base to where Skeletor (played by "Frank Langella") is planning an all-out attack to take over Eternia and he has also kidnapped a Sorceress to help give him the upper-hand. While Skeletor is making his epic speech while projected all across the land we are introduced to the heroes of this film: He-Man (played by Dolph Lundren of "Rocky IV (1985)" fame), Teela (played by "Chelsea Field"), and Man-At-Arms (played by "Jon Cypher"). While on their way to battle Skeletor they rescue a little goblin-esk creature named Gwildor (played by "Billy Barty"). Turns out the reason why Skeletor is after Gwildor is because of one of Gwildor's inventions that can create a portal that can travel to any planet in any galaxy but Skeletor took one of the two models that he had made. Shortly after we have our heroes travel to battle Skeletor in an epic fight only to find themselves in trouble and the way they get out of it is that they used Gwildor's device to get out of there. The planet our heroes end up on is one that is one that we are all very familiar with and that planet is Earth. We then cut to a burger joint to where we are introduced to yet another hero named Julia Winston (played by "Courteney Cox" (of "Friends (1994 - 2004) fame). Julia is fed up with her life in the town that she lives in and wants to move away and right before she moves she goes to visit a graveyard to mourn the death of her parents. While at the graveyard her ex-boyfriend finds something near her parents grave and it is none other than Gwildor's device and then all hell breaks loose. (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

The story in this film is very simple yet very effective as it gets right to the point by introducing you to the characters and plot as soon as the opening credits end. It was very cool having a He-Man movie set on Earth as it leaves the story open to quite a bit of things and it didn't disappoint. I did like how they handled having all the He-Man characters on Earth as it was done very appropriately. There was one problem as there were some scenes that had the characters stay in one location for a bit too long and those scenes did drag on for a little bit. This film also has a bit of cheeky humor in it that pops up randomly and it was actually pretty funny and came off as very charming.

All the He-Man heroes and villains were portrayed on film quite impressively with costumes and actors that worked perfectly with the characters and they do not come off as cheesy looking at all which is a very hard thing to do when turning an animated series into a live action film. They did change the look for Skeletor a little bit to where he has more of a melted looking face with skull showing as opposed to just having a yellow skull and I loved it and it has personally became my favorite designed character out of the entire He-man franchise. Skeletor aside you will find that all the other characters look just like that of the characters found in the animated series. The characters also oddly had a very sexy vibe to them and I know that might sound silly but with He-Man and his muscles, Teela with her tight spandex and armor, Evil-Lyn with her evil yet beautiful look, you will find yourself having a crush on them.

They did omit some characters that were from the animated series and replaced them with new characters (like Gwildor) but I ended up liking them rather than hating them as the characters they omitted would've looked like crap in this film. The new characters were very charming and fit in well with the He-Man universe. The human characters (AKA The Earthlings) in this film were decent and worked well in this case as they didn't felt forced in at all although if this were an animated film then the human characters wouldn't work as well.

While all the characters look awesome you will find that some of them do not have the acting skills. Characters like He-Man and some of the Earthlings have a very wooden style of acting and while it won't turn you off of the film it will make you laugh. All the other characters aren't bad when it comes to acting as they pull of their lines quite well to where you'll take them seriously despite their out of this world look. The actor that steals the show though is Frank Langella playing Skeletor as he pulls it off all too well (and that's understating it) as he comes off as quite menacing and also comes off as arrogant which is perfect for the Skeletor character.  Gwildor was another great character that stole the show as well and he could've easily been easy to make him a very annoying original character that can be found in various He-Man He-Fan Fiction but that was far from being the case.

The action in this film is more on the science fiction side rather than the fantasy side as they use ray-guns and hovercrafts as opposed to magic and swordplay. The action was quite fun and quite brutal for a PG rated film to where you will see a sports coach beaten up to the point where he was covered in blood and Skeletor brutally killing one of his own men to prove his other minions a point. The action scenes take a more traditional He-Man route towards the end of the film where it is more fantasy based action and it was pure awesome filled with exciting swordplay and a showdown between He-Man and Skeletor that you have to see. Other than that scene I do wish that this film had more fantasy themed action films instead of having it all at the end.

The special effects in this film were brilliantly done most of the time with special effects that still look good to this day and especially during the scenes with Skeletor projecting himself across the land (as you can tell Skeletor steals this film). Not all of the effects have aged well with effects like having He-Man ride a hovercraft looking very awkward and stiff to the point where it is laughable. Some other effects that hasn't aged well are the scenes where Gwildor's device projecting lights as it looked out of place. The sets and props in this film were amazing full of awesome detailing that will make you say "wow".

There is a small selection of special features that are to be found on this release but alas they are good special features. You get the movie trailer that is pure epic and was very nice to see as it gets you very excited to watch or re-watch the film. The other special feature is an audio commentary from director Gary Goddard and it was fairly interesting as it is full of neat little tid-bits and trivia on what it was like to work on this film that is sure to satisfy you and it also gives you another reason to watch the film.

Overall while I personally loved this film you will find it to be a bit aged for some of the younger viewers. I am going to recommend this film anyway and the best way to enjoy this film is to grab all of your friends or family, grab a few snacks, sit back, and relax as you are in for a fun time. Cult classic.

Title: Masters of the Universe
Director: Gary Goddard
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Courteney Cox
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Running Time: 106 minutes
Distributor: Shock Records
Rating: PG (Parental guidance recommended)
Price: $19.99
Recommended: Yes

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