Sometimes Hollywood movies are just glorified toy commercials. Look at Transformers, Battleship, G.I. Joe… but it’s not a growing trend, it’s been like that for decades. One of the earlier toy commercial movies was Masters of the Universe, a cheesy 1987 sci-fi flick starring Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor.
The movie starts with Skeletor taking over the planet Eternia. He-Man and his pals manage to thwart his plans involving the Cosmic Key by sending it to Earth. Julie (a young Courtney Cox) and her boyfriend find the Cosmic Key and activate it without knowing what it is. Skeletor’s troops pick up on its location and it’s up to He-Man and his friends to keep it from falling in the wrong hands.
This is one of Dolph Lundgren’s best roles but he’s a little lost without Sylvester Stallone holding his hand. He looks like He-Man, he runs around being big and hitting things. He doesn’t speak much and when he does he sounds like Stallone. It’s kind of off-putting. Luckily Frank Langella handles most of the dialog. It’s always nice when a formidable villain is extremely articulate about exposition and repeatedly explains what is going on and what is at stake.
The movie doesn’t make much sense. There’s a half-assed plot and underdeveloped characters. Nobody learns anything. Julie (Courtney Cox’s character) actually regresses. In the beginning she’s grieving her recently deceased parents and getting ready to say good-bye to her boyfriend and leave her hometown to start a new life. That’s what you do when you’re a senior in high school: you leave home and you face the real world. But at the end of the movie Julie’s parents are magically brought back to life and she decides to stay. She didn’t grow as a person or learn from her experiences. She decided to retreat back into childhood instead. That’s not a happy ending.
The only reason to watch this movie is for nostalgia. Don’t watch it if you’ve never seen it before. You wouldn’t be able to appreciate its glory. And if you’re gonna watch it again, I recommend doing so with a lot of booze.
Critically Rated at 10/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young