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"I HAVE THE POWER!"
Warner / 106 Minutes / 1987 / Rated PG / Street Date: October 2, 2012
Welcome, fellow nerds, to Eternia, a planet who has been taken hostage by the hideous (and hideously ugly) Skeletor (Frank Langella). I mean, this guy is a serious downer, a dude with a bony white mask and a long black cape who practices his particular brand of meanness whenever he can. If only there was some way to subvert Skeletor's power and return a light to Eternia...
80s-nostalgic titles like Masters of the Universe are fascinating relics of the pre-grunge age: so many of us careening past 30 towards 40 remember feeling true and earnest rapport with movies like Krull or Flight of the Navigator or any other flick that had flying saucers or character actors in ridiculous space-clothes, but we remember VHS versions of these pictures, not the movies themselves. So when we're faced with a high-definition edition that showcases a film like Masters of the Universe as it was originally created, the experience can be rattling.
In a court of law, I doubt I could make a case for Masters of the Universe being a good film. Dolph Lundgren as our greased-up He-Man hero and future Friends supporting mom Christina Pickles do their best with afternoon-cartoon-quality dialogue and story setups, but even with mystical keys and time travel scenarios - in addition to your more reliable fight scenes - Masters might have trouble appealing to anyone other than overgrown ten year olds who at one point had a pretty serious action figure collection.
But a preservation of innate cinematic quality is not a major intent for a Blu-ray edition of Masters of the Universe. No, we He-Man geeks accept the movie as it is - to put a point on it, it hasn't aged well at all - and this high-definition liberation of the movie from the Warner vaults allows for our adult eyes to realign with a film many of us saw between eight and a hundred times on cable back in the late 1980s. It's hard to defend, but there's no denying Masters of the Universe's singularly dumb-ass retro sparkle.