I was a MOTU fan back in the '80's; I enjoyed the cartoon & will admit to having some of the toys
I never saw the '87 film until the early '90's (on VHS tape), given that I didn't think I would like this due to the extreme differences between the film & the cartoon...and, I was right - when I first saw the film I hated it, and felt it was one of the worst movies I'd ever seen.
However, in recent years I guess I've mellowed re: movies and ended up re-watching it a couple of times - and, in recent viewings I feel the MOTU live-action film is actually an entertaining example of '80's kitsch.
Some elements I really liked in this film:
Castle Greyskull! Great depiction here. I liked how it looked similar to the toy/cartoon, but at the same time more "cinematic".
The scene with Skeletor in the throne room in the beginning (with all of his soldiers) reminded me quite a bit of the beginning of the 1980 Flash Gordon film with Ming the Merciless in his throne room. FB is one of my all-time favorite films, so I thought this was a great "homage", if that's what it was.
No Prince Adam persona/secret identity for He-man. I always thought this was ridiculous in the Filmation cartoon (though handled better in the 200x cartoon), so it was nice to see that the film didn't have this. This made me realize that if a new He-man live-action film is made, they shouldn't use the Prince Adam persona at all.
Solid casting for most of the roles. Dolph Lungren as He-man was great, as were Teela & Man-at-arms. And, Meg Foster as Evil Lyn was superb - both gorgeous & evil at the same time - she was possibly the best part of the film...from other posts, I guess you can tell I'm a big MF fan
Obviously, Frank Langella as Skeletor was amazing - a lot of this had to do with the great make-up job, obviously. When I first saw it back in '91, I felt the mask was cheap since you could see the eye-sockets. However, after watching it again I realized that was the whole point, and I did feel this looked good.
Great villains, for the most part. I.e., I liked Blade, the lizard creature Saurod, the film version of Beast Man, and Skeletor's black-armored soldiers. I would have preferred to have seen film versions of Skeletor's other henchmen like Trap-Jaw, Mer-man, Tri-klops, etc. - however, I'm guessing this may have been to expensive to do back in '87. Maybe Blade (with his eye-patch) was supposed to be a different "version" of Tri-klops?!
Going along with the above, I liked the new costumes for the characters. They were completely different from the cartoon/figures, but for some reason really worked for the film (kind of like how they changed the X-men's costumes from the comic for the films, and that worked well). I liked the tan/blue outfits for Teela & Man-at-arms, and Evil Lyn's elaborate costume was especially impressive.
It was cool to see He-man using a laser gun/rifle. I don't think he ever did in the original Vintage cartoon/comics.
It's interesting how you can really dislike something initially, and then when re-visiting this years later you have a completely different opinion - I feel the same way about some music.
I got the great book "The Art of He-man" (released Spring 2015), and there was a nice section in there on the '87 MOTU film. There were a lot of production sketches from the making of the film that were extremely interesting (including a production picture of Beast man attacking someone in a library). It's too bad that most of these ideas didn't make it into the final film...
[ 16. April 2017, 08:33: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
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Masters of the Universe is a movie I can enjoy a lot now just as I did at the time. The differences between the show and the movie never bothered me that much. What had the biggest impact was how clearly the movie struggled to do what it intended on a tight budget. Cannon were flatlining at the time and this was one of the films that suffered from cuts. Not saying it would have been perfect without the budget cuts, but it would be interesting to see what it would have been like.
Meg Foster was perfect casting, as was Langella. You can tell they loved their roles.
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