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Rated PG
Copyright 1987 Cannon Films Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • He-Man - Dolph Lundgren! Steroid defender of all that is good.
  • Duncan - Man at Arms, a grizzled veteran who is constantly hungry.
  • Teela - Duncan's daughter who, um... ...she's in every scene darn it.
  • Gwildor - Dwarf (They have some other upbeat name for his race.) inventor who created the Cosmic Key and likes talking to cows.
  • Julie - Courteney Cox! Depressed girl who can't get over her parents death and is moving to New Jersey as treatment. I think I'd rather go with electric shocks to my brain housing group.
  • Kevin - Julie's boyfriend and 80s musician. (Which means he plays a synthesizer.)
  • The Sorceress - For some reason this woman has a chandelier on her head, maybe it focuses solar energy? I dunno...
  • Lubic - James Tolkan! (The bald CO from "Top Gun.") Short cop with an attitude.
  • Beastman, Blade, Saurod, and Karg - Mercenaries in Skeletor's army, Karg is one of those "take charge and yell a lot" guys. Skeletor zaps Saurod into special effects heaven.
  • Evil Lyn - Meg Foster! (Cagney from Cagney and Lacey.) Probably the only competent evil person in the whole movie.
  • Skeletor - Embodiment of all that is evil, a powerful warlock who wishes to control the universe and destroy He-Man. Falls into a power well, where have I seen the main bad guy fall down a shaft into a reactor or something before?

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Who said action figures couldn't make for a great movie? Well, this film actually, but it is pretty darn amusing. The acting is really something else, half the time I'm wondering why He-Man sounds so damn happy. Considering that Castle Greyskull has fallen to a surprise attack by Skeletor and the Sorceress is his prisoner, this guy should be a little worried.

Soon he discovers how the forces of evil penetrated their defenses, a slightly insane Dwarf who created the ultimate key. This key, which sounds like it was manufactured by Yamaha, can open anything - even doorways between dimensions. Which is how the group ends up on Earth, though the device which brought them there lands some distance away.

This gives a neat reason to include a budding Courteney (not a joke about her breasts, well maybe) and her A-Ha idolizing boyfriend, because they find the Cosmic Key and immediately begin playing with it.

Skeletor's forces lock in on the signals and battles rage through the suburbs. Surprise, surprise the good guys lose the first encounter and He-Man is taken in chains back to Greyskull, everyone else is left alive on Earth to rot.

Of course Gwildor MacGuyvers up a makeshift Cosmic key and Kevin remembers the song to open the gateway to Eternia. He-Man sees his friends, breaks free, and recovers his sword for a final battle with a Skeletor (who has just absorbed the power of the universe, as if that would matter. He's the BAD guy, Dolph is the GOOD guy - he's screwed).

Okay, the film is very predictable, but combine the premise with a "motivating" fantasy score and I start cracking up. They should play this music in mental wards, though having two hundred people in gowns acting like Conan would probably be bad...

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • One blonde weight lifter with a sword can take out two dozen guys with laser rifles.
  • Good guys use blue lasers, evil guys use red lasers.
  • Anybody randomly jumping dimensions will end up on Earth.
  • Courteney Cox doesn't look good in a red cowboy hat.
  • Never annoy an undead warlock.
  • Microwaves are excellent jamming devices.
  • People from other dimensions speak perfect English, but use different units of measure.
  • A bargain synthesizer can open dimensional gateways.
  • Sword fights tend to blow the fuses.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - VADER?! Sorry...false alarm.
  • 15 mins - If Quinn Mallory jumps out of that thing I'll die laughing.
  • 21 mins - Courteney Cox! Girl, where in the hell did you get that hat? (Snap, snap, snap.)
  • 38 mins - Why the heck does everyone think this thing is Japanese?
  • 65 mins - Now who didn't see this coming? Julie, you are dumb as a post.
  • 67 mins - No! Don't hide behind the 1968 Firebird!


  • Skeletor: "Your wondrous Sorceress will die!"
    Duncan: "You dare threaten her life?"
    Skeletor: "I dare anything! I am Skeletor!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note mastersu1.wav Narrator: "At the center of the Universe. At the border between the light and the dark stands Castle Greyskull."
Green Music Note mastersu2.wav Duncan: "He-Man! Thank the Sorceress you're alive!"
He-Man: "I've been looking for you."
Green Music Note mastersu3.wav Kevin: "Whoa-hoo! You know this is one of those new Japanese synthesizers."
Green Music Note mastersu4.wav He-Man and Skeletor square off on an intellectual level. (This really doesn't last long.)

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmastersu1.mpg - 1.8m
If the movie had not included this scene it would not have been complete. I wanted to hear Dolph say it, you wanted to hear Dolph say it, so all together now, one, two, three:

"I have the POWER!"

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 9
Masters of the Universe
Reply #25. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Kenner
Your not the only one who got a nasty E-mail from Gary Goddard. I gave the movie a *1/2 star rating out of 4, and said that it was a very bad movie, which it is. My quote exactly.

Masters Of The Universe (1987)

Cast:Dolph Lundgren,Frank Langella,Courtney Cox,Meg Foster,Billy Barty,James Tolkan

"Masters Of The Universe" was a movie based on a cartoon series and toys and for the most part it basicly stunk. Sure there are a few redeeming moments  but this movie is strictly sub-par and Dolph Lundgren's wooden acting makes the movie painful as he recites his lines straight from the cue card and Frank Langella well let's just say he takes the wise approach by not showing his face. To basicly describe the plot you only need to say Dolph Lundgren VS Frank Langella or the sake of the world....Dolph Lundgren fans may like this one but this not one of his best. D.Gary Goddard  

I feel it my duty to say when a movie is really bad and I didn't like it, Hey I like a few of Dolph Lundgren's movies but this is a real stinker.

Gary Goddard is a guy who seriously needs to get over the simple fact that his movie stinks BIG TIME.  

I mean come on, you wrote Bo Derek's "Tarzan The Ape Man" you should be USED to the criticism!
Masters of the Universe
Reply #26. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Andrew
I can't believe that "Masters of the Universe" is on this site!  It was a great movie-- actually, it's my second favorite movie of all time (the Star Wars movies are my #1).  I was so excited when I saw the DVD at my local Wal-Mart.  I've probably watched it 10+ times already.  The commentary with the director is interesting too.  My hope is that someday he can put in some of the things he was forced to leave out because of budget and time-constraints.  I would also love to see a sequel.  It's one of my Dad's favorite movies too, and he rarely likes any movies.  
Masters of the Universe
Reply #27. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Iressivor
Whoa, have any of you guys been watching the new He-Man series on Cartoon Network?  There's an episode in which He-Man and Skeletor do an almost exact ripoff of Goddard's live-action film.

In the episode called "Sky War", Skeletor gets his hands on the Ambrosia, which is harvested by Buzz-Off's people.  Once eaten, it morphs him into a kind of Super Skeletor, not unlike the one in the movie, making him more powerful than He-Man.

Anyway, when He-Man and Skeletor finally clash, Skeletor gets the upper hand.  As he works to overpower his nemesis, He-Man taunts Skeletor, which causes the effects of the Ambrosia to wear off quicker.  As expected, Skeletor's power begins to fade.

The next few seconds are the story.  As He-Man drives Skeletor down to his knees, the evil warlock lets out an anguished cry of "NOOOOOO!" as his power dissolves in a huge flash of golden light.  The scene is almost a dead ringer for the battle in Masters of the Universe, though whether the writers were poking fun at Goddard's work, or paying homage to it, I have no idea.

Just thought I'd pass that little tidbit along.  Later.
Masters of the Universe
Reply #28. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Iressivor
Oh, as far as the movie itself goes, I liked it.  Is it a good movie on the whole?  Not really.  Heck, The Sword and the Sorcerer is my all-time favorite film, and I doubt that very many people would consider it a good movie.

But like most B-rated movies, Masters of the Universe does have its moments.  Like when He-Man and Skeletor have their face-off in the finale, and Skeletor chides his rival for standing in the way of his destiny.  He-Man replies with a stellar line, "It's always been between us", which is the basic premise of the entire cartoon.  As long as Skeletor is hell bent on conquering Eternia, He-Man will always be there to stop him.

I loved it in the theaters when I was a kid, and it's still a mild favorite at my house.  Now, I wonder if they could get Triple H to do the sequel?  He's certainly roided up enough to pass for He-Man, but they might have to do something about that incredibly large nose of his.

LOL, just kidding.
Masters of the Universe
Reply #29. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Karl
I thought this Masters Of The Universe was better than the Cartoons!  I thought the cartoons were very boring!  i have been reading some reviews and some people wished She-Ra was in the movie!  Why?  she and He-man only played in 2 movies together He-Man and She-Ra Secret of the sword and He-Man And She-Ra Christmas Special!  their should be no reason of having her in here!  anyway!  This movie had great actors like Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Courteny Cox, and some more!  i thought the prodrcers did a very good job!  and the acting was great!  i have this movie and i watch this movie every-day!  The Movie is about He-Man that battles Skeltor for control of the universe in order to save the day, our hero, must, within 24 hours find the cosimic key and free the sworccess that is under a powerful spell that Skeltor has her!  So 2 teenage lovers Kevin and Julie have the key and they make and mistake it for a japensse Synthezier  untill they find themselves pursed by skelotrs henchmen!  it is up to He-man and his friends to find the key that Julie and Kevin have and Free the sworccess!   I would rent the movie before i buy the movie just in case you have a differnt opion!  than me!

Masters of the Universe
Reply #30. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Chadzilla
"WOW! THIS IS ALMOST JUST LIKE STAR WARS!  ATTACK OF THE CLONES!"  or so shouted my son while we were watching this.  We both had a blast, for different reasons.  He liked the people running around in goofy costumes, shooting zap guns, and fighting each other.  I liked that stuff too, but I also had a nostalgic rush for the old Cannon Films junk that stuffed theaters from 85 - 88 or so, man those were the b-movie days.  Watching MofU made the 80s seem pretty nifty.

Great fun, great bad movie - a must buy DVD!

Ironically, I guessed the shooting budget at about 6 or 7 million while watching it.  On the DVD commentary, director Gary Goddard mentions that production was 17 million ("At a time when movies cost 6 or 7 million to make" Goddard says).  I don't know where the money was spent (perhaps getting the cast), but it certainly wasn't on the screen for most of the running time - the other Cannon super hero movie of 1987, Superman IV-The Quest for Peace - had a similar cheap look problem.  Ten million is production values were lost somewhere.

Nonetheless, the movie is a blast to watch.

Masters of the Universe
Reply #31. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by RESET
I have not seen this movie movie in a very long time, The movie it's self in my mind was not that good. How ever there was one good part about this movie and it is one ever one overlook's.  Courteney Cox arquette  is in the movie.
Masters of the Universe
Reply #32. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Skeletor/RH
 This Movie is AWESOME. Love The Villian's Theme Song. Great Special effects. Skeletor was the best charactor in the movie. Loved tHe the scene with He-man v.S Skeletor battling each other. This movie is Worth Buying. "I HAVE THE POWER".
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