Friday, August 03, 2012
Bad Movie Month conquers Masters of the Universe
Greetings and welcome to Bad Movie Month 2012,where our theme this year is TV Remake Madness,those small screen gems that failed to shine when brought to the silver screen. First up is Masters of the Universe,based on the cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that launched a tie-in toy empire.
While I was much too old to fit into the demographic aimed at for that show,I was lucky enough to have a younger sibling around to justify watching it(plus,I totally dug She-Ra:Princess of Power,it's spin-off series).
However,by the time this movie was released into theaters in 1987,the popularity of He-Man had gone the way of most boy bands and it's diminished appeal was part of the reason that the film ultimately tanked at the box office even with an opening weekend spot in the Top Five:
Dolph Lungren played the lead role of He-Man(who is never referred to as Prince Adam,the character's true identity)and he certainly is convincing as an action figure come to life. The basic plot here is that He-Man and allies Teela,Man-at-Arms and new friend Gwildor(the great Billy Barty who wears a troll wig and Silly Putty cheeks throughout this thing)are trying to save the Sorceress from the clutches of Skeletor(Frank Langella).
They need to hide a "Cosmic Key" invented by Gwildor from Skeletor and his crew but they wind up opening up a dimensional portal that takes them to our world,where the key is found in a graveyard(the most natural spot for a magical device to end up in!)by Kevin and Julie(Courtney Cox,in her film debut).
Kevin thinks that the Key is some kind of new musical instrument and takes off to show one of his friends,leaving Julie in the lurch as Skeletor's minions have tracked down their master's missing item and are ready to rumble.
Speaking of minions,I must give credit where credit is due to Meg Foster as Evil-Lyn,the high ranking hench woman of Skeletor's band of warriors. She gave a certain Anna Wintour/Miranda Priestly flair to her performance and at times,I was expecting her to end her orders to her foot soldiers with "That's all!"
At times,Evil-Lyn seemed a lot savvier than Skeletor,particularly when she was patrolling the earth and assessing the civilians as conquerable prey. It would have cool if she had double crossed Skeletor at one point,but alas,that sub plot was not meant to be.
Her finest moment of villainy was tricking Julie into handing over the Key by pretending to be her dead mother. Sorry,Julie but you were being incredibly stupid here-yeah,because during a fire fight between beings from another world,it makes total sense for your died-in-a-plane-crash mom to suddenly show up in the alley behind the place you're holed up in and ask for the strange new object that everyone's fighting over! Even sandwich-eating Joey from Friends would've caught on sooner:
Props must also be given to Frank Langella,whose main purpose as Skeletor was to do the heavy lifting in the dialogue department. Granted,his make-up was pretty good despite those close-up shots that showed just how painted on his nostrils were and he carried off those clunky costumes just right but the real benefit to casting him in this pivotal role was his verbal talents.
Langella has said that this was a favorite part of his and he is clearly not doing a walk through here. It's nice to see an actor give that extra effort,especially in such an overblown mess of a movie and makes watching scenes like this elevation to godhood all the more entertaining to endure:
Sequels and remakes have been bandied about regarding MOTU:The Movie but so far,no one has gotten a solid greenlight. There is a 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray edition scheduled for release this October,but for those like me who haven't upgraded our home entertainment centers just yet,it's still available on regular DVD.
Just remember to wait for a final Skeletor shot during the end credits(which I sadly did not see during my initial viewing). Tune in next week for a double dose of BMM when I honor my sister's birthday with Miss March and get pulled over by Dragnet.Until then,good journey and praise be to Gwildor!:
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