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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Masters of the Universe (1987)



Reviews and Comments

Masters of the Universe is a live-action film version of He-Man, a popular children's cartoon series with lots of fantasy action. Dolph Lundgren plays a bulky but wooden He-Man, and Frank Langella, unrecognizable behind his makeup, plays He-Man's arch nemesis Skeletor. A sincere attempt was made to make an exciting action film, and the filmmakers haven't wholly failed -- but there is a lot of cornball dialogue and unintentional laughs.

It would have been nice if more thought had been put into the story. This tale is so full of holes and silliness (and overachieving dialogue), it's hard to watch it with a straight face. Throwing modern day Earth in the picture was clearly a mistake. Usually fantasy attempts that involve fantasy characters being transported to Earth fail to establish the right mood, and Masters of the Universe is no exception. Not that I think the movie would have been much better otherwise. If all He-Man does is alternately run away from Skeletor and attack him, saving innocents along the way, and if all Skeletor does is send minions after He-Man and kill them when they fail, well, it's not much of a movie.