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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 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 ... 9
Masters of the Universe
Reply #33. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by riff_raff
I thought this movie was dumb.  Maybe because I never was around MOTU. When it was in it's prime, I lived where the TV station that showed it wouldn't come in.  Anyhoo, I guess it was a good enough movie, although you wouldn't know it's Frank under that makeup.  I hear rumors of another MOTU movie being in devlopment.  Arrrggggggg
Masters of the Universe
Reply #34. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Austin
The only reason I enjoyed this one is because I was really young when I saw it.  Great stuff when I was six years old.  Frank Langella does the best acting job in the movie.  He-Man is corny as hell.  "I was looking for you!" he says with that accent that would make Arnold proud.  Down to the point.  Dumb, yeah.  Corny, yeah.  But the cop kicks ass and Gwildor rocks.  
Masters of the Universe
Reply #35. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Vince
I thought it wasnt half bad for an old movie. I do though want to find some of the movie props to it. Especially the full body suit of "Saurod" who didnt last too long in the movie. If anybody has information please email me.

Masters of the Universe
Reply #36. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Undead Ned
Quite possibly one of the worst films I have ever seen. Even 'Street Fighter' doesn't come close to how bad this movie is.
Given the exact same budget, I could have come up with something one hundred times better than this tripe. Gwildor is one of the worst 'comedy relief' characters in history and Dolph Lundren as He-Man was absolutely pathetic.
I remember someone on this list mentioning The Sword and The Sorcerer. That was a very good movie and I doubt it has the same budget as this one.
Sorry, but there was absolutely NO reason to have earth as the setting for the second half of the movie. There are plenty of other B-grade movies that have used different planets as the main focus to great effect (the first 'Star Wars' being a prime example).
There are no excuses. Masters of the Universe is just a bad movie. Full-stop.


Masters of the Universe
Reply #37. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by J.R. Harrod
Well, it was quite a Star Wars ripoff, wasn't it, as most of you will have noticed?  I mean, those black troopers of Skeletor's, well they were just resprayed Stormtroopers.
Even Skeletor himself looked very Vader-like.  But what I thought ruined the movie was the absence of Battle Cat and Panthor, you know, the two leading character's respective big cat war mounts.  If they do make a future Motu live-action movie, I think that they should have Skeletor like he is in the series, but with his bare flesh colored like muscle tissue.  That would definitely be more realistic than that hideous grey bodysuit the makeup artists plonked him in.
Masters of the Universe
Reply #38. Posted on March 20, 2004, 04:07:23 PM by hannah
Yes it was BAD BAD BAD....Nothing like the cartoon at all
Masters of the Universe
Reply #39. Posted on June 24, 2004, 01:53:47 PM by night heron
Damn they left out ORKO  the little funny wizars guy from the cartoon series what a bummer he at least added a comedy releif and none of the other comrades for HE_MAN
Masters of the Universe
Reply #40. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Zach
I was never a fan of the He-Man cartoons but like all 12 year olds back in 1987 it was a familiar name and wasn't very discriminating in my movie selections, Howard the Duck, Over the Top, No Holds Barred, et. al.  The movie was less than memorable as I have yet to lay eyes on it since I originally saw it.  I was always a fan of Chelsea Field though.  Something about her rubbed me the right way.  She was especially yummy as Bruce Willis' wife in The Last Boy Scout.  Gary Goddard's complaint that he didn't have a big enough budget as well as no screen talent sure doesn't sound like a DOER to me.  Here's a towel Gar, DO wipe the tables at Denny's.  One last thing.  Before this movie came out there was a contest sponsered by Mattel or Hasbro or the mafia, whatever, where you could win a chance to have a part in the flick.  A younger brother of a girl I went to grade school with won and got to be in the quickest shot in movie history.  It seriously was like a tenth of a second.  He was some little kid in a pig-like mask standing around in the evils lair.  Don't blink.  You'll miss it.
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