Masters of the Universe (1987) – Gary Goddard


Sometimes you just want to disconnect your mind, and enjoy some fromage that just melts around your brain, and Masters of the Universe is 80s cheese that is just oh-so-bad, and not in the fun cult way that Flash Gordon is. In the long run, I think the only really good thing to come out of this movie is the amazing Drew Struzan poster (above).

Based on the Mattel toy line, the film at least started out with what fans probably wanted to see, Castle Grayskull, He-Man (Dolph Lundgren), Skeletor (Frank Langella – the best part of the entire film!), Man-At-Arms (Jon Cypher) are all present. I remember reading in a Starlog I think when the film was first in production that the idea was to make the movie as if the toys came after as opposed to the other way around. I will say this, I was very happy there was no Orko, however, Gwildor (the awesome Billy Barty), is almost as annoying…


The biggest mistake the film makes, is to bring He-Man, and his compatriots to Earth via a Cosmic Key created by Gwildor, to escape from Skeletor and his forces who have seized Grayskull. They arrive in Smalltown, Anytown America, and team up with Julie Winston (Courtney Cox), her boyfriend Kevin (Robert Duncan McNeill) and a tough detective, Lubic (James Tolkan). The last thing you want to do with a fantasy concept like He-Man is bring him to Earth, because then, things just start to look ridiculous, and they do.

Instead, they should have left everything on their planet of Eternia, and had the battle for Castle Grayskull take center stage, set up the world and its history through exposition and visuals, but I guess some suit thought it would make it ‘cooler’ to have the streets of America as the battleground for fantastical creatures… I’m sure it didn’t save very much on the budget, but oh well. Bad story choices.


Lundgren with his blonde mullet actually seems fairly well cast as He-Man, especially for what the film is, and I’m so glad we didn’t have to see him dudded up as Prince Adam, that would have made this movie even more laughable… of course, Battle-Cat is sorely missed.

Now, apparently, the film is based on the toys, and not the cartoon that sprang from it, but for a kid of the 80s, it tends to be all one and the same for me, and honestly, if they had been a little more in tune with the animated series and kept everything on Eternia, it may have done better.

For some this is a guilty pleasure, for me, I simply wanted to revisit it to see if it was still as bad as I remembered… it was. Even when it came out, I could tell this was horrible.

It’s too bad. Still if done right, and done now, I think it could be a huge thing, although, it’s rather difficult to take anyone named He-Man seriously…

What is your favorite guilty pleasure movie? I think I have talked about mine a few times, I simply love The Black Hole!!!


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